Ariel Orodenker wasn’t sure what to major in at Shidler College of Business at the University of Hawai’i. She knew that she wanted to start her own business one day, but wasn’t sure what that meant in terms of focusing her studies. Combining her entrepreneurial dreams with her love of psychology, she started thinking about business marketing (the psychology of the business world).
This decision became solidified after she met two amazing women who came into the restaurant she was waitressing at in Waikiki. They both worked in the marketing department of a company, and as part of their job, they got to travel to all sorts of beautiful locations in order to market the product.
Three things these women said really hit home with Ariel. First, they got to travel. Second, their company seemed to care about them and support their efforts. Finally, both were outgoing and truly living their lives (not just working 9am–5pm in a cubicle somewhere).
Right then and there Ariel was sold on going into business marketing.
But how did that choice lead her to leave home in Hawai’i and become the marketing coordinator for Bon Affair in southern California?
Read on to learn more about how Ariel found her way to the marketing team at a start-up that is paving the way for alcoholic beverages for the health-conscious.
What are the typical duties of a marketing coordinator?
A lot of Ariel’s job has to do with planning and being prepared. The first thing she does during the day is check the calendar to see what’s on the agenda so that she can make sure to have everything ready in advance. Then she submits orders to the fulfillment center to make sure they process that day.
Other than that, her duties change day to day.
Some of the typical tasks that are related to her job as marketing coordinator are:
- Coordinating events: Not only does she set up demos, but Ariel also works on coordinating other events. She checks and samples the budget to negotiate terms, confirms event details, fills out paperwork and contracts, returns and files that paperwork, communicates to brand ambassadors the event details and product needs, requests social media posts and pictures from the event, and follows up with leads and contacts after the event.
- Submitting her product for wine competitions: Because the product that Ariel is marketing is a wine spritzer, she finds competitions to enter it in. This requires her to fill out entry forms, read competition rules and regulations, mail in the product, check back in to see if Bon Affair won, share the results with the Bon Affair team, and then figure out how to incorporate those awards in future marketing materials.
- Ordering marketing material: The design team will create a postcard, banner, sales sheet, etc. and Ariel will order prints of those marketing materials from cost effective companies. She also assists the design team with the creation of marketing material by sharing what product characteristics tend to resonate more with specific demographics.
- Reaching out to bloggers/social media influencers: After finding bloggers and social media influencers, Ariel will check their validity. Once she determines they are the right fit for Bon Affair, she’ll reach out and build a relationship with these influencers and see if they’re interested in trying her product and writing about it.
- Researching competitors: Ariel observes competitors (both direct and indirect) to see what choices they’re making to grow their own businesses.
- Assisting in photoshoot planning: To help with photoshoots, Ariel will build an inspiration board and then pull ideas from this board. With the budget in mind, she collaborates with her colleagues to determine who/what can (and should) be included in the shoots. Then she’ll assist with the setup, process, and breakdown of the shoots.
- Assisting in planning Bon Affair sponsored parties: One of the ways that Bon Affair gets in front of new clients is by sponsoring parties. For these parties, her company offers packages that include potential themes, promo swag, waitstaff uniforms and accessories, etc.
- Managing the wine club: In order to keep up a successful wine club, Ariel must build relationships and brand loyalty with members. She sends free promo items, collects feedback so that Bon Affair can improve and meet customers’ needs, and schedules wine club shipments and coordinates with the fulfillment center to make sure that all the necessities are included in each package.
How does working with alcohol affect the job of a marketing coordinator?
To build brand awareness, you want to do samplings, demos, and events that introduce your product to a larger audience. Working in the alcohol industry puts some restrictions on all of this. It can also require some additional paperwork at times.
As a marketing coordinator in this industry, you have to be able to find your niche and work within that. Ariel is in a unique situation where her product is both an alcoholic beverage as well as a drink that helps to support active and health-conscious lifestyles. Because of this, Ariel gets the opportunity to work with health and fitness clubs as well as spas and salons.
“I work for a rad company that was built on working hard while balancing health and fitness with socialization. Also, everyone tends to be happy to get complimentary alcohol samples. :)”
What are Ariel’s favorite parts about being a marketing coordinator?
She loves that every day is different and that there is always something new to challenge her. It also helps that she’s working for a company and with a product that she truly believes in. The founder is someone she really looks up to. Already, Ariel has learned so much more, both personally and professionally, than she ever thought she could. Working for someone who is an exceptional businesswoman while also being thoughtful and genuinely good-hearted makes it easy to enjoy the job.
“I’ve witnessed how people want to work with her, help her, and support Bon Affair because they meet her and see what a great person she is. It’s infectious. She’s not just a boss but a mentor and I feel grateful to have the opportunity to learn from her.”
Not to mention the fact that Bon Affair was on ABC’s Shark Tank and Ariel gets to witness firsthand all of the great things that come from that exposure and the deal with Mark Cuban.
What are the challenges of being the marketing coordinator for Bon Affair?
Definitely working with liquor rules and regulations. Ariel has learned that there are a lot of tricky laws that surround this type of product. It can also be difficult to match the branding quality she cares about to a certain budget.
Then there’s the fact that Bon Affair is a wine spritzer with zero sugar, added electrolytes, and half the calories of the average wine. It’s not a standard wine or a sugary bottled mixed drink. Basically, Bon Affair is its own beverage category. This means that they are paving the way! Though this is exciting, it also requires a lot of product education to sell it.
What are some things students studying in this field may not know about working as a marketing coordinator?
You will learn to love organization, details, and effective communication when dealing with outside organizations, events, as well as within the company itself.
What are some essential skills for marketing coordinators?
- Attention to detail
- Effective communication
- Interpersonal skills
- Ability to multi-task
- Strong problem-solving skills
- Adaptability and eagerness to embrace new challenges
What advice does Ariel have for students and recent graduates interested in this field?
Do internships! Ariel knows how hard it is to get a job straight out of college and truly believes that internships are the way to get a foot in the door.
Also, she advises that you don’t get too discouraged if you apply to a million places and no one responds. Instead, try to spice things up with your application and cover letter. Entertain the person that’s reading it. Don’t be afraid to talk about who you are outside of work. That way they can get a feel for your personality.
“I only started getting interviews and replies to applications after I made the decision to change my cover letter to include a section about deciding to leave my ‘mermaid ways’ of Hawai’i to join the land of California and pursue a fulfilling career in marketing. This [the fact that this helped her get interviews] blew my mind and just goes to show that boring will get overlooked.”
Homework time! Does Ariel’s career as a marketing coordinator sound like something you’d be interested in? Start exploring your options. Also, be sure to ask yourself about what appeals to you in her description. Because Bon Affair is a start-up, Ariel has a lot of responsibility and has some duties that don’t directly apply to marketing. Think about the type of company culture you’re interested in and search for companies that match that.