Lead(H)er: Amy Littlefield, VP and GM, Platform Services at ThriveHive
When Amy Littlefield began working as The Cape Cod Times in sales, advertising was primarily done through the paper’s daily printed edition, and this was not that long ago, in 2004. Over the past 15 years, both newspapers and advertising have changed in drastic ways, and Littlefield has seen it all happen throughout her career.
“Around 2006, when digital started to explode, newspapers had websites but didn’t really understand how to monetize all the eyeballs turning to digital,” Littlefield explained. “It was a huge growth period not only for digital readership but also revenue and monetization.”
The same year, Littlefield began working in the digital department at The Standard-Times in New Bedford, MA, where she became involved in new advertising techniques like reselling Google AdWords. The role helped establish her firmly in the digital advertising space, and she ultimately switched roles to help Local Media Group and later GateHouse Media -- one of the largest newspaper companies in the country -- leverage small newspapers’ strong community ties to develop partnerships similar to daily deals programs like Groupon and LivingSocial.
Throughout this part of her career, Littlefield focused on sales enablement, training, and digital marketing program development, all of which have perfectly prepared her for her role as Vice President and General Manager of Platform Services at ThriveHive.
The digital marketing company works to meet companies of all sizes where they are when it comes to advertising, no matter their size or current marketing efforts.
“Whether you’re a 10-person business or a 500 person business, it’s still just as confusing to figure out how to do online advertising,” Littlefield said. “We take people, data, and technology to create solutions that will help businesses connect with their ideal customer, even if they don’t understand who their ideal customer is yet. We have businesses that we’re building them a website because theirs just doesn’t even work anymore in our mobile-first world, but we also have businesses that have already been running their own digital advertising campaigns of thousands of dollars a month, and we can service them just as well.”
In her own role, Littlefield focuses primarily on enablement. She oversees strategic channel management, with GateHouse Media as the company’s largest channel so far. She also works on finding ways to bring ThriveHive’s products to market, whether within the direct sales channel or the GateHouse channel. Finally, Littlefield manages ThriveHive’s training team to ensure that all employees, no matter their role in the company, have the same understanding of ThriveHive’s goals and how to achieve them.
“From a really broad sense, it’s about taking all of the different sales channels that we have and people who are customer-facing within our own company and improving their understanding of our solutions. How can we better educate and enable people that are working within our marketing services division to drive revenue and improve customer service?”
ThriveHive has set big goals for 2019, and breaking down barriers between various teams is Littlefield’s main priority when it comes to reaching them. As with many companies, employees can get trained differently depending on their role and team. Littlefield is now working to implement a standardized training program that gives all employees the ability to communicate more clearly with each other across different departments and teams.
Littlefield believes that ThriveHive is ready for some exciting growth, and she’s looking forward to improving her own ability to leverage data and technology to help it reach new heights.
“The evolution of advertising has been so dramatic from 20 years ago to where it is today, and I think it’s going to continue to grow,” she said. “It’s hard for somebody that’s not an expert in doing it every single day to keep up, so having the opportunity to foster local relationships with local businesses within the newspaper industry and in my job today has been so rewarding.”
Rapid Fire Questions
What do you like to do in your free time?
I love to travel and have a trip to Colombia coming up next month, so I'm super excited about that. I’m also a big yoga person and teach yoga one night a week. I love doing yoga personally, but teaching brings this amazing balance. You go to work every day, and it can be pretty stressful, but then to go take a yoga class or teach one -- everything kind of slips away. That's my most present and focused when I teach my mind isn’t going 100 miles an hour.
How do you manage stress?
Working out helps so much for like my own personal mental health. One of the reasons I love working here is because of the people, and there are definitely people that I have close relationships with here. Being able to have that sounding board to talk to at work and sometimes enjoy a glass of wine after work with them that definitely helps. So I would say trying to keep healthy but having friends and relationships at work where you can vent if you need to do definitely helps.
How many cups of coffee do you drink in a day?
I try to limit myself to one but there are some days, and I think today is going to be one of them, where I’ll probably drink two. I try to stick to one instead of two, but it happens.
What is one of your favorite places in the Boston area?
Cape Cod is a really special place for me. That’s another thing that helps me unwind -- going to the beach, whether it’s in summer or winter. Being able to walk on the beach is a huge kind of relief.
What would you consider one of your greatest accomplishments so far?
I think I would have to say anything that I've done that's been a little extra and more for personal growth. I went back and did my Master's degree four years after I had graduated with my undergrad. I think it's always so hard to be able to say that I don't need to do this, but I'd like to do it. It was great career-wise, but I also just did it for myself. A couple of years after that, I did my yoga teacher training, which again, I didn’t need to. It wasn’t anything required, but it was something that brought personal satisfaction for my own life. I feel like anything where you can learn about something, like committing to a program and building a community around it, while sticking to the requirements and graduating -- those opportunities have been really rewarding for me.
How does this compare to where you saw yourself 10 years ago?
I definitely would say the growth that I've had over the past 10 years career-wise has improved some personal traits. I've definitely learned a lot of skills that you could put on paper, but I would say I’ve learned more in soft skills, like confidence in being able to present. There are people that can do that right out of college and be in front of a room of 30 people and feel comfortable, and it’s amazing that they can do that. I definitely feel like for me, that’s a learned skill. I’ve also learned to just have a little bit more patience rather than being so reactive when a difficult situation comes up. Being able to have a level of patience and listen can be really valuable. I think when I first started growing in management and managing people and taking on larger projects, which was about maybe 10 or 12 years ago, it was hard to go home and turn everything off. I felt like it elevates your stress levels so much, so being able to set work off from home and say that now it’s time for me or family or friends is huge. It’s not to say that I've mastered that completely, but I definitely feel like those soft skills, whether they're within the office or just within being able to turn the office off, have matured over time.
What’s your advice for recent college graduates?
Be patient, but put in the work. I know that a lot of times, it may seem like you have to land either a perfect job right away, or that the perfect job will have a really strong career path that beautifully outlines everything for you. I think that in reality, you’re going to change dramatically as you learn within the workplace. Something you went to college for might not actually be something you like, and that’s okay. Being flexible but being patient is really key. People are going to notice someone that works hard and has a positive attitude. Doors will naturally open for you, and I really believe that it does pay off. Don’t get stressed out if your plan isn't working within two years. Everything is going to work out, even though it’s hard to see that sometimes.
Images courtesy of Amy Littlefield and ThriveHive