A Day in the Life of Social Media Director Mark Cork
At Intouch, we work with a lot of great people. They’re smart, funny, knowledgeable, talented, resourceful and hard-working. We recently pointed our spotlight on senior account manager, Maggie Meloy, who works in our Chicago office. This month, we’re shining it on Mark Cork, one of our social media directors.
What field did you work in before you joined Intouch, and how long have you been in marketing?
I was vice president at another agency in Kansas City and ran their day-to-day operations. Our work was primarily digital and served a variety of clients who were local, national and some even global. Prior to my agency work, I had my own communications and production company for eight years. I also spent several years in the nonprofit world, much of that as a pastor.
How would you describe your job to a stranger who isn’t in the marketing/advertising field?
I typically say something like, “We use social media to develop communities that connect people who share similar life/health journeys.” That usually piques their curiosity and we keep talking.
What are your typical responsibilities and challenges — what’s your average day like?
We have a big social media team, 31 in all. I lead 11 people, and together we currently service more than 15 different brands. The bulk of my time is spent leading the people on my team, the account teams we work alongside, and the clients we serve. I have frequent check-ins with my managers, who keep me informed of the work we do and provide me with collaborative opportunities. Like most people, one of my biggest challenges is maximizing time and efficiency — the great people on my team add to my effectiveness.
How often do you interact with clients, and in what capacity?
I interact with clients more periodically than regularly. There are five managers on my team who are really in the trenches with clients on a near daily basis. When I’m with clients, it’s usually to plate up or reinforce what the managers are doing for them. I do my best to help clients understand where to focus their appreciation and gratitude; it’s about the team.
What type of a personality or disposition do you think is best suited for your job?
I think it’s more about operating in your strengths than about having specific strengths. That being said, I think it helps when you’re someone who embraces change and who understands when to pour gas on the fire and when to pour water.
What do you find most rewarding about your position?
Most of my reward comes from seeing people on my team grow and develop their strengths. There’s great satisfaction in serving them in this way. And at the risk of sounding cheesy, I find it very rewarding to read great stories in the social media channels we manage and to know we’re making a difference in people’s lives. I’m sort of sappy that way.
How is working in pharma marketing different than you expected when you started here?
It’s really not much different than what I expected. People are people, and I love leading them. Problems are problems, regardless of the industry you’re solving them for, and it’s very gratifying to develop solutions.
How is social for pharma different than social in other industries?
One of the words we’re using more and more is “pharmatize.” How do we “pharmatize” social? It’s not about what we can’t do within pharma, but more about how we can be creative in defining how we do social in pharma. I think pharma social is more passionate than in other sectors. While people can be passionate about their burgers or their politics, they’re much more passionate about their health and the health of those they love and care for.
Where do you think social media is heading in the future, and how does that affect your projects?
I think social is being seen more and more as a component of the total marketing mix rather than in a vacuum or silo. Social doesn’t just amplify a message; it readily helps brands see the difference between how they hope they’re being perceived and how the public truly perceives them. In other words, social helps unearth the true brand.
How do you respond when people ask if your job is “playing on Facebook all day?”
I usually say, “If that were the case, I’d have to find a new job. I mean, have you ever been on Facebook?”
How do you determine which social platforms are most appropriate for different clients/projects?
At the risk of sounding overly simplistic, it all starts with “why.”