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Marketing coordinator finds rewarding career at local business

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Barbara Ball, marketing coordinator at Threads-Footloose & Fancy (Photo courtesy of Barbara Ball)

By McCartney Martin
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Barbara Ball wasn’t sure what kind of career she would find after graduating with a master’s degree in English in 2009.

Ending up in marketing, she said, was “a total fluke to be honest.”

Ball, a Lincoln native, majored in English, and double minored in art history and French at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. After graduating with her bachelor’s degree in 2006, Ball earned her master’s at Creighton University in Omaha.

Once she graduated, Ball connected with Hawkins Construction Co. in Omaha and began working as a marketing coordinator. By 2011, Ball was tired of commuting from Lincoln to Omaha every day and wanted to find a job in Lincoln.

She began working for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Admissions Office as a senior assistant director of marketing in 2011 and stayed there until the summer of 2014.

Just a few blocks down the street, Ball enjoyed shopping at locally owned shoe and clothing store, Theads-Footloose & Fancy, located at 12th and P streets. After having a bad day, Ball decided to take a chance on a new job and walked to the store to turn in her resume. Ball also sent an email to the store owner expressing interest in a marketing job.

“I was just like, ‘Hey, I don’t know if you need anybody, but this is my resume. This is what I have been doing,’ not really thinking it would turn into anything,” Ball said in an interview.

Ball got the job as a marketing coordinator and began working for Threads-Footloose & Fancy in July 2014.

As a marketing coordinator, one of Ball’s major responsibilities is to create advertisements, postcards and coupons that bring new and loyal customers into the store.

Ball also organizes a weekly social media schedule for employees to follow. The schedule helps store employees stay on track by routinely posting to the store’s Instagram, Facebook and Twitter sites. Most social media posts consist of outfit ideas, upcoming store events and new merchandise, which help draw customers into the store.

Ball also often works with the Downtown Lincoln Association. It hosts events on a monthly basis that incorporate downtown boutiques. The most recent event was a charity fashion show on April 9 where all proceeds were donated to Hearts United for Animals, a charity Ball feels strongly about. She volunteers at the Capital Humane Society in her spare time.

When Ball isn’t working in her office or with the community, she’s on the sales floor helping customers, which she said is rewarding and challenging at the same time. Ball, who had no previous retail experience, said working in retail can be difficult. However, hearing from pleased customers makes the experience enjoyable.

Another aspect and responsibility of Ball’s job is self-editing all of her work. She uses her editing skills constantly but especially when creating advertisements, posting on the store’s social media platforms or emailing other professionals.

“You always want to make sure that you’re viewed as really professional by your customer base,” Ball said. “You don’t want to have any errors or mistakes.”

Besides good editing skills, Ball said a sense of creative willingness and good communication skills are crucial to be successful in marketing.

“Communication skills are really important because you have to talk to a lot of different types of people and vendors,” Ball said. “You have to be able to speak your mind, have an opinion and not be emotional about it.”

While Ball has found success in her career, she says working in marketing is a learning process.

“It’s a lot of trial and error,” Ball said. “If you’re not willing to try or at least take a chance then you’re not ever going to succeed.”

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