Where are you based?
Leeds, Yorkshire, UK
Where do you work and what job do you do?
I am a Chartered Marketer and owner of The Marketing Pilot
How did you get into marketing/communications?
I studied business at college and always had an interest in marketing and the comms world. When I left college at the age of 19 in London, I somehow managed to land a job at a top advertising agency BMP DDB (now DDB London) doing administrative work in the TV production department. I absolutely loved it, as a first job it was an absolute gem! It was quite an eye-opener for a Yorkshire lass who’d grown up in a small town in North Yorkshire, but I loved the people I worked with and I think I bowled them over with my Yorkshire charm….and strong work ethic, obviously!
Sadly though, I didn’t love London and was rather homesick. I made the difficult decision of resigning, so I could relocate back up North. I still remember being in tears when I told my boss Ron I was leaving, I really was an amazing job, just in the wrong place for me. So, that’s how it all started.
What are you most proud of in your career as a marketing/communications professional?
Taking the plunge to go it alone and set up my own business is right up there, but as an early-stage business, there’s still more I want to achieve. Other than that I would have to say that I am most proud of what I achieved during my corporate career. When I started with the company I was in a standalone marketing analytics role, it was a brand new role and there wasn’t really anyone to learn from, it really was a case of ‘make it your own’. I love opportunities as that and I grabbed it with both hands.
In the 10+ years I was there I worked my way up from junior level to be on the management team with a small team working for me. I am very proud of all the processes, systems and best practices I helped to develop and the positive impact that those had on such a large, international company.
How has marketing/communications helped the organisations you’ve worked for?
My back to basics approach is all about people and processes because, despite the advancement in digital marketing tools and tech, successful marketing starts with the basics. Without the people and processes, marketing is just a lot of hot air!
In terms of organisations I have worked for, I would say the biggest impacts have been…
Market research and analytics have helped companies to improve sales forecasting, identify new opportunities and assisted them to make informed decisions around their business strategy and growth plans.
Marketing messaging has helped sales teams to produce sales pitches that resonate with clients and winning proposals.
Customer Relationship Management has helped businesses to improve customer experience, improve efficiencies and create uniform working practices across their teams allowing for greater insight at senior management level.
A strategic marketing approach has helped businesses to define their ‘WHO’ (their ideal client) and their ‘WHY’ (USP, why they should buy from them) which has led to effective targeting and positioning.
Marketing is so much more than lead generation, and that’s what I’m trying to get across in my new business. It’s an amazing function that I think is very underestimated.
What challenges have you overcome on your professional journey to where you are today?
When I embarked on my Chartered Institute of Marketing studies I was young, free, and career-driven, so taking on the commitment of studying around a full-time job wasn’t a daunting prospect for me. As the years progressed, so did my career; heightened responsibilities, more pressure, more travel…more working late. Completing assignments around work commitments became increasingly challenging.
In the midst of studying for my final diploma (Postgraduate), 2012 saw me take on another big commitment…being a parent, a single parent at that. Work, study, and a baby made me question whether I should quit the study. Without any financial support, I needed to go back to work when my son was 5 months old, so life was pretty hectic.
I took a short break from the study but decided not to give up, I’d come too far. Completing the last two modules of that diploma was hard. Progress was slow, but I still progressed, I was still moving in the right direction.
It was all worth it when I passed, and then after a couple of years of further CPD, I gained Chartered Marketer status.
Do you have any words of wisdom for someone starting out in the marketing/communications industry?
Never forget the basics. I read an article in Marketing Week, where a survey uncovered that 75% of marketers agreed that short-term tactical needs often took priority over long-term objectives. The same article stated that this impacts marketing effectiveness, and not in a good way.
Always start with defining the ‘WHO’ and the ‘WHY’ before investing heavily in marketing, whether that be in time, money or both.
First and foremost, know WHO you’re talking to, because if you don’t know who you’re talking to, how do you know how to talk to them and where to find them? Get specific about who it is you want to work with, who it is you want to help, who will benefit the most from what you have to offer. It seems obvious, but it’s something that is often bypassed.
The next vital step is making it clear WHY you’re talking to them. What’s the problem that you solve for them? Why should they pick you over your competitors? What is it that you are offering them? Basically, why should they listen to you?
Developing your WHO and your WHY makes for a strong foundation for your marketing strategy because it’s strategic marketing, not short-term tactics that will result in greater marketing effectiveness.
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