Andrew Perez (Content Creator) and Blake McGee (Project Manager) sat down for a one-on-one chat on Blake’s last day at Tribu, LLC. In this interview, Blake shares his experiences working at the agency, how he stays inspired as a marketer, and his hopes for the industry moving forward. All of us at Tribu will miss him deeply and wish him continued success in his endeavors. From every member of the tribe, Blake, thank you.
So what’s your story, Blake? What paths brought you here?
Blake: I grew up in Boerne, TX. I’m 25 years old. I decided to go to UTSA to study anthropology. After one of my professors invited a USAA marketer to give a lecture, it was then that I decided to move into applied anthropology focusing on marketing. I heard about the internship here at Tribu through a friend, applied and got it. I worked as an intern for about 6 months then was hired on full time as project manager. I’ve been here ever since!
How has your role changed or evolved since you started?
Blake: I’ve been just over a year and a half. When I first started I guess Tribu was more of a traditional advertising agency. I didn’t really know a whole lot about the field. Like I said I came over from anthropology. I knew a lot about writing and studying people and culture and things like that, but the whole industry was kind of new to me so I didn’t really know what to expect. Coming into Tribu, it was so small. There were two people in a tiny office. I kind of liked that intimacy I guess, and that’s kind of why I was drawn to it; it was definitely a unique opportunity.
Looking back on that and where we are today after just a year and a half, I feel like a lot has changed. The industry has changed a lot, at least our focus in the industry has changed. We’ve turned it around, we’re not that traditional advertising agency. We’re not trying to do print or outbound marketing so much. We’ve embraced inbound marketing and as a result Tribu has grown rapidly into a digital agency that strives do things not just different – but right.
So what would say is the most satisfying aspect of your job?
Blake: The most satisfying part of my job is being creative – being able to do the things I love to do in collaboration with other people. I feel like making design – even if it is marketing messages – I feel like making something come to life creatively on the web – I’m really passionate about that. Working on a project our team here at Tribu and seeing it come to life, while driving home results for people – that’s something I really look forward to.
Do you feel like that’s a passion that’s been discovered here at Tribu?
Blake: Ya definitely. I didn’t know any of it existed, that my passion existed before I stepped into that tiny office nearly two years ago.
The least satisfying part of being a marketer in an agency environment?
Blake: For any creative, I guess the bane of their existence is being limited in what they can do. It can be frustrating when you see a lot of potential in projects and you have to slog through approval process after approval process. The most unsatisfying thing is not being able to take ideas from ideation to completion or that they get dramatically changed from their original concept.
How would you describe the culture at Tribu?
Blake: Super laid-back. It’s a fun environment because we invite fun people into our company culture. It’s very entrepreneurial. Everyone is self-motivated. Everybody is here because the want to be here. We’re not forcing anyone to do the 9-5 daily grind. Tribu is very much a place where people want to be.
How do you feel you’ve contributed to our culture?
Blake: I’d like to say I’ve always tried to, when it comes to the designers – when it comes to their projects, I’ve always wanted them to be able to express themselves in the work we produce. The work comes out better when they’re excited about it. So, I feel like I’ve kind of contributed by keeping that attitude and idea in mind. I’ve tried to help others discover their potential, and as a result – discovered mine.
How do you stay motivated on a day-today basis?
Blake: I think it comes down to being loyal to the industry and the profession – not specifically Tribu. That’s how I stay motivated because it drives me to search for my potential. I’m always reading articles and changing the way I do things so I can be the best inbound marketer I can be. I think that’s how anyone can stay motivated. Be loyal to your profession.
What was one of your favorite projects or campaigns?
Blake: One of my favorite projects was Pawderosa Ranch. That was my first inbound account and my first website I completely designed from start to finish. I think that was my favorite because of the results we were able to bring in. Pawderosa Ranch was the first project where I saw that inbound marketing strategy really works. I think that’s my favorite because of that.
What was the most valuable resource made available to you?
Blake: I guess Sara (CEO, Tribu) really. She taught me a lot. I don’t know if I believe in natural-born leaders (laughs), but she definitely helped me reach my potential and find my passion.
What is most valuable about Tribu?
Blake: There’s a lot of things I value. I’m trying to take myself out of the picture and think in terms of what Tribu can offer the world. The value that exists is partially made up of the people here, their collaborative effort, and passion for the work they do. There’s an attitude of always wanting projects to succeed, to be the best they can be and to never give up. Tribu has set itself apart from a lot of the advertising agencies in San Antonio. Beyond the passion and creativity we bring to each project, most of all, the work we do has something deeper to it. This is how we help businesses succeed and what’s more valuable than that?
Based on your experience, what do you think it takes to succeed at Tribu?
Blake: You have to be self-motivated. You have to come in with an open mind wanting to learn as much as you can every day. This attitude is important not just here but anywhere.
Give us your vision of marketing in the future.
Blake: I think marketing is becoming more honest. It has to be. Companies are going to become increasingly more transparent. Agencies like Tribu are in a constant battle against spam, noise, and just shitty outbound marketing tactics. In the future, marketing will become much more responsible. Instead of just trying to push sales, messages will change to blend in better and more naturally with people’s everyday lives.