A Michigan native, Tyndie DuBose graduated from Penn State University with a degree in Marketing in 2004. She is currently the Vice President of New Business Partner Marketing at Nickelodeon where she spearheads the team’s dedication to developing innovative marketing partnerships for new business ad sales partners. DuBose’s team is responsible for pitching and executing new business promotional programs to ensure the Nickelodeon brand is properly represented in custom campaigns.
1. Tell us a bit about the path you took to get where you are today professionally.
I learned early on that the key to my success was going to be diversifying my skill set and client portfolio. Post graduation with my Marketing Degree in hand, I moved to Chicago like 99% of Detroit natives at the time. I had dreams of landing a job at a big advertising agency downtown on Michigan Avenue, and narrowly only considered those interviews. After months of job hunting with no luck and even less money to my name, I needed a job and quickly. I accepted a Client Services Coordinator role at a small marketing start-up in Schaumburg, IL. The company developed mass retail marketing promotions for Consumer Packaged Goods companies, at the risk of oversimplifying, we developed experiential programs that sampled products at retail. It wasn't what I thought I wanted at the time, however I quickly realized that I was surrounded by brilliant entrepreneurs who taught me so much and gave me an immense amount of responsibility at such a young age. I was getting priceless experience with over twenty Fortune 500 clients. Because of the small start-up environment, I wore many hats and grew quickly. After four years I finally made the transition to the advertising world I always dreamed of. I parlayed my experiential background into a specialized events and sponsorship activation position at Saatchi and Saatchi working on Toyota in Chicago. I then transferred to NYC with Saatchi's sister agency Team One to work on Lexus. Feeling anxious that I was focusing too much on events, I made a move into a traditional account role at Ogilvy and Mather working on Hellmann's and Time Warner Cable. After honing in my account skills and concentration in more traditional advertising channels, I made my last switch to Media and landed a role at Nickelodeon the New Business Partner Marketing Team. I currently run a team of six dedicated to creating innovative marketing partnerships to bring new advertisers to the network. By trying my hand at different roles within the marketing world throughout the years, I have pushed myself to continue to learn new things and be inspired by different people and coworkers in the industry.
2. What classes or extracurricular activities did you find particularly helpful in your job field?
The most beneficial extracurricular activity for me was joining an American Advertising Federation (AAF) chapter as a sophomore. AAF has over 200 chapters across the country with over 5,000 students. Not only was I able to meet fellow students on campus who were studying Marketing at varying levels, we had a professor who served as a mentor to each of us helping with our classwork, networking, and navigating the advertising world. Each year, AAF conducted a national contest where they sent all schools the same faux new business pitch and each chapter operated as an independent agency vying to win the account. My first year the project was to create a campaign that would grow Bank of America's personal banking business by a certain percentage. At the time, research was beginning to show women growing as the breadwinners in the household, however very few banks were aggressively going after females as the primary target. Our team collectively took a risk and pitched an entirely female targeted campaign with research to support our approach. Our presentation won regionals and placed 8th in the country. It was an incredible experience that gave me a real taste of the work I would be doing if I pursued Advertising, and I made contacts and friendships that will last a lifetime.
3. When did you know what field you wanted to go into? What experiences led you there?
I, like most teenagers applying for college, had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do when I grew up. I liked math and science but also loved my creative writing and arts classes. I have a brother that is four years older than me who went to school for Marketing, and by the time I was applying for college, he was gearing up to graduate. He really enjoyed his years in school and spoke enthusiastically about the creative process behind marketing and advertising so I figured I'd give it a try. Two years later he was working for a really well known advertising agency on a huge account, and I was watching his campaigns come to life before my eyes on TV and other outlets. I remember thinking it was so amazing that I could come up with an idea or be a part of a team that created a piece of advertising that was seen by millions of people. That was the moment I decided advertising was the area I wanted focus on to start my career.
4. Describe a day-in-the-life at work.
Start work around 9:30am with a large coffee > I block at least 30 minutes on my calendar to get through emails and make a to-do list > Meet with sales on a new request for proposal (RFP), discuss the prospective client's products, points of differentiation, culture, financials, previous and current campaign creative - all info to strategically inform our pitch ideas > Review a different client pitch deck developed by my team prior to it being presented > Lunch at my desk > Review and provide feedback on a rough-cut of an on-air commercial we shot for one of our programs in execution > Coffee with someone from another company department to learn what they do and add them to my network of media execs > Attend a research presentation on Generation Z > More blocked time to get through emails and get some work done > Hour weekly status with our broader Nickelodeon Partner Marketing team > Wrap up anything that can't wait until tomorrow > Day ends between 6 and 7pm.
5. What is your favorite aspect of your current job?
The level of creativity involved in my day-to-day and that no two projects are alike. My team partners with our Ad Sales division to create proactive innovative marketing campaigns that entice New Business advertisers to spend on Nickelodeon. Often times we find ourselves challenged to put together proactive pitches for Insurance, Financial, Tech and Automotive companies who only see Nickelodeon as a kid's network at first. Every new project has unique challenges that requires educating advertisers on our co-viewing story showcasing the millions of adults watching our network with their kids. I get most excited when we develop a creative campaign idea that highlights ways for these companies to partner with us by using our shows and characters to elevate their brand among our family audience. My favorite part is when we're able to change a potential client's perspective about Nickelodeon with the power of our creative ideas.
6. How has your major benefited your career?
As I began my career, a degree in Marketing and Communications certainly helped teach me the foundations I needed to understand the basics and opened doors for me based on alumni connections and relevancy in the field I was pursuing. In my experience the largest benefit to my degree was the emphasis the school had on group work to learn how to complete project based assignments together. Throughout the last two years of school there was a tremendous growth in group projects, and a lot of us dreaded it. You had to work to align busy schedules, there were varying personalities, differing opinions, and always that one person who didn't do their portion of the work. Just as much as my AAF experience was instrumental in learning the field I was pursuing, my degree prepared me for the real world where 99% of the work must be done in concert with different teams. It was extremely helpful for me to learn early on how to work in an environment to get a group of people to achieve one goal, while building my own individual brand as a team player.
7. What is one piece of advice you would give to students looking to pursue a career in your field?
Network. Network. Network. The advertising/media industry is extremely close and everyone knows someone, who knows someone who could introduce you to a key contact. People often equate Networking to active job searching and there is an important difference—networking is a crucial ongoing exercise that sets you up for success when you find yourself looking for a new job. The wider your net is when you're actively job hunting, the better your chances of finding something you're interested in and that you'll find it sooner. In my personal experience, every job except for my first was brought to me by people who had been in my network for years and often times when I wasn't even looking. The more people you get to know and the more you nurture those relationships, the easier it will be to connect with decision makers in the companies and/or fields you're interested in working in. Networking is a skill that never loses it's importance or relevance even in times of technological or cultural shifts.