Angela Rodenburgh is only 37, but she has witnessed the sea change in marketing communications.
In 2003, Rodenburgh got her first job in plastics, at Redwood Plastics Corp., a distributor of stock plastic shapes based in Vancouver, British Columbia.
“The marketing department back then was, could you update our Yellow Pages ad and photocopy our brochures?” she recalled.
She improved Redwood's marketing efforts and started doing work for the firm's sister companies. That led to jobs for other businesses. Rodenburgh was working weekends.
As the side-jobs became more plentiful, she started her own company on the side about a dozen years ago, while still working at Redwood. Later, she went on her own.
Now Redwood remains one of the biggest clients of Rodenburgh's agency, Ladder Up Marketing Inc. About 70 percent of Ladder Up's clients are in the plastics industry.
“It's exciting to be a part of an industry with truly endless possibilities,” she said.
Rodenburgh said it's been a challenge to keep up with current communication technology. New software and hardware comes out all the time. In recent years, she has hired three full-time employees. Ladder Up also uses contract experts that have specific skills, such as a software programmer, a photographer or a videographer.
Today, no one marketing person can know everything, she said. But each company has unique needs and should build a customized strategy.
“You really have to identify what every single market is and make sure that the message that you create is connecting with those audiences,” Rodenburgh said.
But it's a fun challenge, she said: “There's all different ways you can put out that message. You have all these different opportunities to engage customers.”
And online media allow you to track the results of a marketing campaign. “You know at the end of the day what's working and what's not working. You're not just guessing,” she said.
Rodenburgh has this advice for young people considering a career in plastics: Do some research on where they could be most interested in working in the supply chain. Internships are a good idea.
The plastics industry has a role to play as well, she said: Show young people that plastics is a desirable place to work.