Where are you based?
Saint Petersburg, Russia
What job do you do?
I am the Chief Marketing Officer at Just AI, a сonversational AI technologies developer and solutions provider.
How did you get into marketing/communications?
It’s kind of a funny story. The high school I went to was a specialized one with a focus on math and physics: I was one of the top students there and even considered pursuing a career in software development. However, I had been always good at humanities as well. I had the highest possible result for the United State Exam (somewhat like SAT) in the Russian language, which guaranteed admission to a PR and communications faculty. Still, I also applied for a major in software development and found myself being admitted to both. I ended up choosing PR and have no regrets.
What are you most proud of in your career as a marketing/communications professional?
When I was in my 2nd year of studies, I started working in marketing and advertising. I think I’d tried nearly everything: I used to be a commercial promoter, promotion supervisor, even advertising director at a magazine. In my 4th year at the university, I got my first job as a Marketing and Advertising manager. At the beginning of my journey, I wasn’t afraid to leave a job that didn’t offer any challenges or where I felt stuck. I was eager to learn new things like print advertising, POS materials, web design, packaging, branding, SEO, paid search and other tools. But before most companies began to see the importance of digital marketing, I realized that was what I wanted to do and my focus gradually shifted there. Very soon I was offered the position of a marketing department head. Ever since I’ve been managing stellar teams of extremely talented people – and this is one of the most exciting things ever.
How has marketing/communications helped the organisations you’ve worked for?
For the past four years I’ve been working at IT companies, and all marketing activities there are inseparable form their products. It’s all about how useful they are and what’s in them for a client. Without proper marketing, the company (especially a startup) cannot get proper recognition. When done right, marketing and communications can help millions of people learn about brands. The key to success here is that these millions are ready to buy the company’s products, making a profit. The most important thing is to help the company find its customers and do everything to keep them.
What challenges have you overcome on your professional journey to where you are today?
At first, it was difficult to accept how much the reality differs from what we had been taught at the university. You go in the wild, completely unprepared for “adult” life, despite all these practical courses, term papers, etc. You have to learn a lot from scratch.The tough place for me was to move from the role of a performer to the role of leader. It is especially complicated when you love what you do as a team member, and are happy with the process and the result. It was very difficult to accept a new role, this is a new responsibility not only for yourself but also for others, for your team and the overall result. Accepting yourself as a leader becomes possible when you understand that your tasks are completely different: now you need to develop a strategy and build tactics, motivate and inspire a team, remove obstacles that impede the achievement goals and recruit and hire people.
Do you have any words of wisdom for someone starting out in the marketing/communications industry?
Practice makes perfect! The more first-hand experience you get, the better. Not a single theoretical course or book gives what you understand by showing up to work every day. Therefore, do not be afraid to actually try yourself in marketing and apply for an internship immediately after graduation or finishing crash courses.
Where can we find you online?
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