Voyager Phishing Scam - Learn More
Megan

Episode Overview

This week we speak with the talented Megan Harrison. We discuss her own journey in Marketing, one that has taken her from New York to New Zealand. Megan shares her insights into the industry, what makes for engaging content, the future of social media and Gen Z, plus an incredible breakdown of the best French Fries on earth.

Transcript

Christian Espinoza:

At the heart of every person is a story. Maybe it was the feeling you had when you held your child in your arms for the first time or the excitement of running your first marathon. For some, it may be the loss of someone you cared for, or the longing for something that's no longer there. It is these shared experiences that shape us, but they do more than that. They also connect us to one another. Today My guest is Megan Harrison. She is a marketing executive at Voyager. She believes in the power of genuine storytelling and tapping into the heart and soul of the people we serve. She does this with great skill and thoughtful precision, And today she shares her insights into the world of marketing, as well as sharing some of her tips on how and where you can get the best French fries in the world.

Christian Espinoza:

Megan, how did you get a start in marketing?

Megan Harrison:

My start in marketing was actually kind of unconventional. I, I went to uni back in the US, not thinking about marketing at all. I actually thought that I wanted to be a journalist. So I focused my studies on a journalism degree. So I went to a four year school and that's actually what I came away with was, was the journalism degree. From there, I, sort of left knowing that I really loved writing and essentially creating content but not actually wanting to be a journalist anymore. I sort of wanted to be a bit more behind the scenes, but, but knowing that I loved creating this content, it's started going naturally into marketing because so much of marketing is content. Whether it's written video, audio, just tons of opportunity for a variety of content. So my first job outside of uni after graduating was an internship in marketing back in the US and yeah, from there, I moved to New Zealand and, and got into it and really started to make it a career.

Christian Espinoza:

So I just want to take you back a little, you, so you're from New York. Could you describe what it was like moving from New York to rural Canterbury and how did that even, how did that happen? Just tell us a little bit about that story.

Megan Harrison:

I get asked that a lot. And my answer is always straight away: It was hard! My, I met my husband. He's actually a Kiwi and I met him in New York. And from there we, we started dating and it was a long distance relationship for a few years.

Christian Espinoza:

What was a Kiwi doing in New York? And a Kiwi from Canterbury I take it?

Megan Harrison:

Yes. He was doing Camp America, which is a program that places foreign counselors in summer camps across the U S and he got placed. It's a stroke of luck. He got placed in the one near my hometown in New York. And we bumped into each other at a bar one night of all things.

Christian Espinoza:

Ok, What was the, what was the theme of the bar? Can you remember?

Megan Harrison:

A dive Bar?

Christian Espinoza:

Oh a Dive bar! Okay. So there's young Kiwi man is that a dive bar one night and you, and you just happened to be there?

Megan Harrison:

Yeah, it was a bar I actually never go to. And my friends just dragged me there that that night, and saw him, met him, talked to him and the rest is history. So I'm certainly glad they, they dragged me over here.

Christian Espinoza:

So from the dive bar in New York to Canterbury, where did you end up in when you first came to New Zealand?

Megan Harrison:

I ended up in my husband's hometown, which is Staveley. It's a really tiny blip on the map out by Mount Hutt which is the big ski field. So I normally will tell people, oh, near Mount Hutt. Cause that's the point of reference. They sort of get it's about an hour and a half drive from Christchurch.

Christian Espinoza:

Okay. Is it kind of like Methven I've been to Methven and I can reference that.

Megan Harrison:

Yeah. It's, it's about a 20 minute drive from Methven. So, but whereas Methven, you would call that a small town. You would call Staveley, you wouldn't call Staveley, leave anything near a town. It's literally got a cafe and a town hall and then just houses and farms.

Christian Espinoza:

And were you used to a small town yourself? I mean, you're, you're from upstate, you're not from New York city?

Megan Harrison:

Yeah, correct. I'm my hometown is actually a small town. I would call myself a small town girl, but it's only an hour from New York City. So it's not quite the same small town that you would, you know, use to reference a New Zealand, small town. But definitely it was, it was a quieter, far more quiet than New York City.

Christian Espinoza:

Describe your hometown for us? Just paint a picture.

Megan Harrison:

I actually growing up in a small town like that, you know, typical teenager, hated it! Wanted nothing, but to get out and go anywhere, but there but I now having been elsewhere in the world, I, I love my hometown. It's a small village on the Hudson river, in the Hudson valley, which has just got these beautiful mountains and lots of hiking trails, lots of nature growing up on the river was great because you had this beautiful view. You could always go swimming or boating for the lucky people, with friends that had boats. But yeah, it was very, almost quintessential small town America.

Christian Espinoza:

Would you compare it to 'Dawson's Creek'?

Megan Harrison:

Yeah. Actually in a way sort of you know, I think if someone were to make a movie or TV show around my small town, you could very easily make it quaint and yeah, very small town America.

Christian Espinoza:

Okay. Just taking you back to when you attended a uni, you went to a four year school, you wanted to get into journalism. What drew you to journalism?

Megan Harrison:

I love writing. I love literature, reading and you know, I, I'd never kidded myself by thinking I could be an author of a novel, but I knew that I wanted to incorporate writing some way into my career for the rest of my life. So I thought journalism was a natural way to really make the main focus of my job be writing. And so I actually, I did. And I did write for the school newspaper at uni, so, so I, you know, got a taste of it.

Christian Espinoza:

Did you get a sense of the roles That people have when writing a paper and creating the news content?

Megan Harrison:

Yeah. Yeah, it did. And I also, we, we took classes around lots of different journalism as well, so it wasn't just written I took a broadcast journalism class as well and got to go to a new station, a local news station to have a look around and talk to some of the journalists there and see the other roles that were involved behind the scenes too. Not just the, you know, the journalists themselves,

Christian Espinoza:

But somewhere along the lines, in your journey here, you were, you were more drawn as you said to the marketing side and creating content and then suddenly you stumbled into marketing.

Megan Harrison:

Yeah, absolutely. So content marketing was actually the role, the first role marketing role I got here in New Zealand. It was for another technology company based here in Christchurch. And I, I started as a content marketing assistant there where I got to, it was a very varied role, but mostly centered around content, which I really enjoyed. So it was things like writing, blog posts writing scripts for videos. We produced a company magazine, so it, again, got to bring in a bit of my journalism skills there.

Christian Espinoza:

And it was a technology company?

Megan Harrison:

Yeah. So it was Tate Communications here in Christchurch. They're actually a global company. So they've got offices all around the world, but Christchurch's that's their headquarters and they do critical communications mainly focused around radio. So land mobile radio, which are the standard, you know, when you think of a walkie talkie, like a policeman uses,

Christian Espinoza:

My, my Aunt actually worked for Tate probably, oh, I don't know, 20 or so years back. And I remember her talking about the radio devices used in cabs and taxis and she was, she was, yeah, she was involved in that.

Megan Harrison:

Yeah. It's so funny because Tate has been around, it's been such a staple in Christchurch for so long since it was founded. And I come across people all the time. Everyone's got a link. They've either worked at Tate or they have a family member or a friend that's worked there at some point.

Christian Espinoza:

It's an institution huh?

Megan Harrison:

Yeah. It truly is. It's fun.

Christian Espinoza:

So I see your role in marketing, kind of this part of this power trio of sales product and marketing, but we're a technology company as well. So we, you have to understand the lingo, the acronyms, and had you had much exposure in the telco kind of internet and voice and all that sort of side of things before?

Megan Harrison:

Not before coming to Voyager. I knew in the tech industry, there are always a lot of acronyms, as you know, at Tate there were, and I was still learning them by the time I left there and almost two years into Voyager, I'm still learning them as well. But it's, it's very well-known to everybody that telco talk

Christian Espinoza:

Yeah, too many, far, too many acronyms

Megan Harrison:

But that's part of my job is to break that down for customers and make it easier to understand. So I do have to work closely with all of those stakeholders to make sure that I'm representing our products, not only correctly, but in ways that, you know, it's easy for us internally to understand what we're talking about because we work in the industry, but people who are actually using the products and services, don't always know, they don't necessarily understand the acronyms, or even when you break down the acronym, those, the words individually, they don't necessarily know what that means. So

Christian Espinoza:

Describe a little bit your process. How do you do that? How do you deconstruct something that is inherently quite technical maybe, and translated into normal, speak for us laymen and humans out there?

Megan Harrison:

Yeah. It's not always easy and it definitely takes a lot of time. I, I do a lot of research on my own, so I first go and make sure that I fully understand it by reading articles and searching online and also just seeing the way competitors will talk about it as well. It's just important for me, first of all, to understand myself. And then if I have questions, I'll go to product or sales and, and clarify that I am understanding it correctly. And I think what's mostly important for, for our customers is to understand what they get out of it. So they don't always necessarily care how it works or what it does. They want to know what it means for them. So I have to, after I understand it myself, I then have to flip that into what it means for them.

Christian Espinoza:

I think you're right. It's, it's almost similar in the product space where you look at something and I mean, a customer never says, "you know, I think I need a sip trunk". They never say that, "I need to make calls in and out". That's it. That's what, so tell me a little bit, you mentioned social media earlier and we're surrounded by social media and I, to be honest, I, I'm always at arm’s length with social media personally, and I don't have any of myself, but I'm curious to know about your relationship with it. And, and how do you, you know, how do you navigate through the nuances of social media for work and, and life and everything?

Megan Harrison:

Yeah, it's funny because people expect marketers to love social media and, you know, we so much of our job involves it in one way or another. And personally on the, on my private life front, I don't like it. I, all of my accounts are private. They're very restricted to family, just people I know my friends. I'm definitely not the influencer type.

Christian Espinoza:

You're not going to go viral Anytime soon, is that what you're saying?

Megan Harrison:

No, you won't see me on YouTube in a, you know, an avatar song or something. No, that won't be me. But so much of my job is having to be on it and be the opposite of what I am in my personal life. So it is funny and I think a lot of marketers almost have a love-hate relationship with social media sometimes more on the hate side.

Christian Espinoza:

I'm Sure. How do you find when people are messaging you or interacting via the Facebook or whatever social platforms that Voyager is on, do you find that first of all, is it, is it common that people will communicate with us that way and how do you find that type of communication?

Megan Harrison:

Yeah, it actually, it's an interesting one at Voyager because a lot of the private messages and direct messages that we get on social media are tech support questions because people want to know my broadband seems slow or my, my phone isn't working properly and that's, that's a query for our help desk and our support team, the people who actually know that technical information rather than me. So, so we, I actually work in tandem with them a lot on that. But then we do get the standard, you know, type of, of interaction from customers saying what's, what's happened her? I'm, I'm upset about this and that's sort of, you know, stuff I can handle myself as well.

Christian Espinoza:

I think it also says something about the ubiquity of social media and just how prevalent it is that people will use it as a first point of call to reach out for issues that, I mean, personally, I would pick up the phone and say, Hey, my broadband slow. I wouldn't pick up if my, if my phone is not working, but, you know, it's like yeah, it just, it just seems w what to some people, and maybe myself included is more of a casual method of communication is really being used as a means of help, you know, signal.

Megan Harrison:

Yeah, it absolutely is. And when they use those channels, they expect it to be almost instant replies. They expect it to be fast when, when they go through social media, because I think that's just what people have gotten used to on those kinds of platforms, instant engagement, instant replies. So cause it just within the community, there's so much going on and, and especially as a company, you, you definitely have to be responsive and you do have to be quick as well on it because people, you know, people pay attention to that kind of stuff, especially if they're needing support and help.

Christian Espinoza:

So do you think that companies and us included should meet those customers there?

Megan Harrison:

People who are reaching out on social media, that's their preferred method of communication and that's how they feel more comfortable communicating and at least beginning to reach out. So, you know, it, especially these days, marketing is about the customer, the consumer and, and helping them there with their needs and in the way that they ask to be helped. So we might not necessarily be able to solve their problem fully via social channels, but we can at least start there communicating with them, get an understanding. And then if one of the team has to give them a call and help them troubleshoot, walk them through, then, then that's where we go. But I think it's definitely important for us to engage in the way that they first choose to.

Christian Espinoza:

It sounds like there's a lot of a lot of traffic and a lot of work that you do on social media potentially just on a day to day. I'm wondering how do you unwind from that at the end of the day?

Megan Harrison:

Yeah, I try to actually just close my computer, put my phone away when I'm done at the five o'clock that's my 'me time'. I really try to disconnect from devices and that's hard to do. It's really hard to do. Especially if, you know, you're wanting to chat, catch up with some friends. Maybe they've been texting you through the day and they want to talk after work, but it's really important to, to walk away from that and clear your head because it can be exhausting being on that type of platform And with that type of always on engagement all day long. So I, I like to walk away for a good amount of time, whether that's go outside for a walk, listen to a podcast, clean my house, even anything kind of more mindless just to flush out the exhaustion of the day, because it can be mentally draining and it is an always on kind of thing. So

Christian Espinoza:

And you also run, right? You also run which is to me, exhausting. Tell me there's a clearly, there's a separation. I mean, I mean, yes, you get bogged down and it's almost a physical drain you know, being on, you know, social media platforms and just being connected in itself. But then you go out, you completely turn off and you go for a long run. Tell me about the difference and or what differences there are there?

Megan Harrison:

Yeah, I, I love running because it, it does the head clearing for me. And I know my body is moving, which is tiring and itself, but for me, the mental drain is always greater and running, energizes me in that way because I've, I've gone out, I'm getting fresh air, I'm moving my body. I sit at my desk all day. Obviously I don't get a lot of chance to move around and I I've got some good music on and I'm just there with, I don't have to think I'm jamming, running. It's great. I love running.

Christian Espinoza:

We'll be back in a minute. If you like this interview and want to hear others, just subscribe to us on your podcast app. You'll get new episodes in your feed Every time we release, or you can catch up on previous episodes as well Like my talk with Fred Wadia on the world of number porting, we talked to the people behind the technology, the ones who work under the radar to create, problem solve, and deliver our products and services. We uncover their stories and find out what drives them to do what they do because as technology grows, So do we. More with Megan after the break.

Christian Espinoza:

Tell me about cats on the internet. What is it? It's a phenomenon I don't understand. I love cats. I love the internet. I don't get cats on the internet.

Megan Harrison:

Oh, I don't know how you cannot love cats on the internet. I mean, it's

Christian Espinoza:

Oh, I love it. I just don't get it. What is it? That's it?

Megan Harrison:

I think so for me, I think cats are relatable, their moods, you know, the way they react to things they, and they're funny. And I think all of that together just makes it ripe for memes. Meme Culture is huge and you see so many memes with cats and people love cute things. Cats are cute. And when they're funny and cute, you're going to watch them all day long.

Christian Espinoza:

I think anytime that I mentioned classic movies or classic songs or anything to my 15 year old son, he will only know of it if he's seen it in a meme. So I, I get you there. Meme culture is strong.

Megan Harrison:

It is. Yeah. Actually fun fact for you, Christian. I strongly feel that the meme culture started with cats.

Christian Espinoza:

Oh, really?

Megan Harrison:

Because I don't know if you recall, and this might be showing my age. The 'I can has Cheezburger' cat.

Christian Espinoza:

Of course, of course 'I can has Cheezburger', everyone knows that one. They should.

Megan Harrison:

Exactly. One of the original memes, the OG meme.

Christian Espinoza:

That's true. That's true. And it all started with cats. Okay. All right. You've explained that for me. Well, I appreciate it. I want you to go and tap into your crystal ball. Describe if you can what the future of marketing is. And is it more content? Is it is it more of anything? Is it less of something maybe a more stronger engagement? Give me some insights what you, what you might think?

Megan Harrison:

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, content is always going to be a huge part of marketing. Not only because it's so wide ranging, but because, you know, that's, that's just how you get your personality, your brand, your values, your products across through, through content. But I think what's important in the future and it's been happening already is genuine content. Customers These days can see through the BS. They, they know, especially on social media, they just want something genuine, authentic. They don't want the spiel all the time anymore.

Christian Espinoza:

You mentioned that, you know, people have a high BS meter and yeah. A lot of the content really has to be truly engaging. So I'm wondering for, for teenagers that are going to be stepping into the workforce in the future how is that type of how is that landscape now going to potentially shape how their marketing careers look, I mean in how they interact with people, whether it's social, whether it's, you know in, through it, any other marketing means?

Megan Harrison:

Mmm yeah, I think that actually teenagers growing up now are better in general at being themselves online. You know, I think they are, their more genuine, authentic selves already just in their life. And I think as they start coming into the workforce, they're going to bring that passion with them. And they're going to say to people, no, that's, we can't keep doing it this way because you know, people see through it and this is not the way things really get through to people anymore. So I think, I think they'll bring it from their personal lives in, and, and you can already see that changing with the way brands are interacting. They they're not so buttoned up anymore is, is a good way to describe it. Even big corporates, They've got to kind of let their hair down and, and show a bit of personality. Personality is, is key. And I, I really feel like the people entering, the next generation entering the workforce will bring huge personality.

Christian Espinoza:

Would that be your advice or what advice would you have for them?

Megan Harrison:

Yeah, they, they need to tap into the personality of the brand and be able to interact as, as interacting as the brand or the company that they're working for. They need to be genuine, but also keep within the right tone and everything. They've really just got to understand the company that they work for the, the product or services that they're selling, but be able to reflect that to consumers in genuine ways that do show personalities. It's not even the so-called boring products. These days aren't marketed in boring ways. There there's tons of ingenious, new inventive, creative ways that people are marketing things. And, and that's awesome to see, and they're going to continue coming out with new ones. So by the time we finish this podcast, there'll probably be a new social media platform come out anyway.

Christian Espinoza:

So where do you draw your inspiration or your motivation?

Megan Harrison:

I like to really focus in everything I do in marketing, in telling a story. I think storytelling is so important and you can apply that across almost anything you're doing as a marketer marketing these days is about tapping into emotion and telling a story is, is how you get through to people. You put them into your story. So brands that do that really well are always successful. They're groundbreaking in the way that they market. I mean, think apple think Nike, they have such emotion in there, their advertising that it makes you want to go out and run a marathon. I know you said you hate running, but watch a Nike commercial, just do it.

Christian Espinoza:

I just bought some Nike trailblazers sneakers, and I really don't want to run, but I love the idea that I could run.

Megan Harrison:

Exactly. They make you, they make you believe you can. So it's, it's about tapping into that emotional thing. And, you know, even at Voyager, it's, it's not like we're going to be helping people run a marathon, but for instance, our small business customers, there's a lot of emotion that goes into a small business because they put their heart and soul into it and it's about us helping them achieve their dreams and continue succeeding with that. So, yeah, that's, I look to things that are always about the story, the full story behind it.

Christian Espinoza:

That's the journalism in you huh?

Megan Harrison:

I guess so

Christian Espinoza:

Megan I want to wrap but I have a couple of questions for you. So I know you're a big country music fan, and I want to know who's your favorite artist and what's your favorite song of theirs?

Megan Harrison:

Yes, I do love country. So, my, my favorite artist is actually, and I bet a lot of people in New Zealand won't know him. But it's Luke Bryan and he is known for wearing tight jeans. But that's not why I like him.

Christian Espinoza:

We'll see if we can get a picture. And what's your favorite song of Luke Bryan's?

Megan Harrison:

I love a lot of his music. It's hard to pick just one. But the one that always makes me get up and dance is called "country girl, shake it for me".

Christian Espinoza:

I love that. I love that title.

Megan Harrison:

Exactly. It tells you all. You need to know.

Christian Espinoza:

I think I'm going to like this guy. Okay. I also know that you love fries. Just like I do. I want to know where's the best ever place you've eaten fries.

Megan Harrison:

Oh, this is an easy one. And I am so passionate about this, but there is a tiny little hole in the wall, Belgian style, French fry place in New York city called Pomme Frites, And they serve big, beautiful fries in a paper cone, which is traditional in, in Belgium. And they have such a range of dipping sauces. I think of them as the Baskin Robbins of dipping sauces. So Baskin-Robbins 31 flavors of ice cream. These are dipping sauces. They're delicious.

Christian Espinoza:

So what makes a good fry? Is it the accompanying sauces or is it a texture or everything? The experience of the fries?

Megan Harrison:

It's definitely in this case, it's everything but a good fry. I sound more passionate about fries than I do about marketing, but a good fry is hot and beer crispy on the outside, but soft inside as well. So that when you bite into that, you just get that crunch and crisp.

Christian Espinoza:

I love it. Megan, last question for you. And then we can wrap up what does a successful day look like for you at Voyager?

Megan Harrison:

So a successful day for me again, and this goes back to my love for creating content is when I can walk away from the day having created a piece of content or even drafted something. And that is so wide reaching, it can be anything, it could be scheduling 15 future social media posts with original content, or it could be drafting up a new one pager for the sales team or writing copy for a new product page that we're launching. But it's, to me that's sort of a tangible measure of success for me. And, and I do a lot of things that don't necessarily have, have that tangible success. So we do a lot of automation as well, but yeah, for me, I just love being able to walk away with a piece that I can put my name to.

Christian Espinoza:

That's awesome. Megan, I want to thank you so much. It's been an absolute pleasure speaking with you today on the pod and yeah, I hope we can talk again.

Megan Harrison:

Yeah. Thanks Christian. That was great. I appreciate you having me on and yeah. If anyone wants French by recommendations, I’m Your girl

Christian Espinoza:

Just go see Megan

Christian Espinoza:

That's it for this week's episode. My name is Christian Espinoza and you've been listening to the Growth podcast, a production from Voyager internet. The show was produced, edited and mixed by me. Special. Thanks to my guest, Megan Harrison, if you liked this episode and would like to hear more simply subscribe to us on your podcast app, we value your feedback. So if you'd like to get in touch, please email us at [email protected] If we get enough requests, we may even release a follow-up interview with Megan dedicated to cats, country music, And of course, French fries Until next time, peace.