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10 Ways To Grow Your Career in Marketing Faster
1. Own a number that ties directly back to revenue.
This is important for many reasons. Clear impact and job security for one.
In some ways, owning a revenue number makes strategy and tactics easier to set. Everything you do is working toward a very clear, simple, outcome.
Owning a revenue number is the highest level of accountability a marketer can have. Accountability creates a pressure cooker, in a good way.
Impacting outcomes rather than inputs makes it impossible to fake your success - it can be really scary the first time you try it - but ultimately it will make you grow.
There’s no gray area in terms of whether or not a goal was hit. No uncertainty on your performance. No arguing about how good the eBook was or justifying your role.
2. Talk to customers, listen to Gong calls, become an expert on your buyer
Having data is essential as a marketer, but knowing the customer as well as sales and success will accelerate your success.
You’ll know the communities they hang out in, the events they attend, the problem your tool solves for them, what their goals are, etc. If you know what they actually care about, in their words, your messaging will land every time.
You'll be a more successful marketer. You'll have a competitive edge on the marketers who are shooting from the hip, and it won't go unnoticed.
3. Manage up. The more of your boss’s job you can do the better.
As a manager - the people that you want to invest time in… i.e. fight to give them raises, and work with again and again…are the ones who manage up and make your life easier.
The bar for what good looks like here as an employee is incredibly straightforward:
As a rule - if you feel like you’re being “micro-managed,” it means you’re not managing up well enough.
The Motive by Patrick Lencioni is primarily about being a great CEO, but it taught me a lot about what a great employee-manager relationship should be like. It’s a healthy contact sport - an ongoing dialogue about what’s important, your progress toward your goals, and the ever-changing nature of these things.
4. Get good at internal marketing. If you can’t get the attention and respect of the people inside your company, you won’t be able to get it from customers.
What I absolutely love about marketing is that it can be the hype center of the business, that gets everyone rallied around the company mission, goals, and success.
New feature launch? Marketing can be the team that explains to the whole company why this feature is so sick and what it does for the end user. Same goes for customer case studies. Initiate celebrating those customer wins as a business.
If your message falls flat internally, that’s a good sign it might need to be reworked.
If you succeed here, the impact is immeasurable. Better employee evangelism on social, more buy-in to the mission, and pride in the results. LFG.
5. Figure out how to get things done. Doesn’t matter if it’s not your team, not your job, or there’s no budget.
Excuses are like that eight letter word that rhymes with classhole. Everyone has one, and they’re never pretty.
It’s easier to object than it is to get creative. Action and success in the face of imperfect circumstances is especially important today.
But this doesn’t mean that perfection is required under all circumstances - managing expectations is part of this.
No budget? All good. Here’s what we can do, and the outcomes we predict. Might not be as good as with the budget, but we can get 75% of the way there.
Improving NRR as a marketer? Obviously I can’t own the end-to-end Customer Success function, but I can build X program or campaign which will increase engagement across the user base, or improve onboarding, or surprise and delight.
Don’t quit before you’ve tried. And don’t let the details get in the way of being creative, jumping in, and achieving something.
6. See problems before they are problems and present a plan for how the team can get ahead of it.
Good employees are always solving problems. Great ones work to ensure problems don’t get created in the first place.
Problems arise either out of bad luck, or bad decision making.
The best eliminate the risk of bad decision making. They ask themselves what’s wrong with every strategy, channel, tactic before they start. They run pre-mortems as part of their briefing process, and they build a path to avoiding the issues they identify.
The catch? In the short term - the employee who solves the problems might get more kudos. They seem busy. They’re running around "getting shit done."
In the long term, however, it pays to deliver without issue time and again, and the problem solver (vs the problem avoider) exudes chaos vs zen.
7. Don’t complain or gossip down and around. Need to vent? Have something to get off your chest? Do it privately with your boss and come up with a plan to share broadly if needed.
Anyone can send a slack to their work wife about how annoying X colleague is. It’s much harder to confront interpersonal issues in a way that result in change.
Having unresolved beef will only hurt you. It doesn’t matter if X is being annoying and you’re absolutely perfect 💁 Complaining/gossiping is a straight shot to looking unprofessional and junior.
If you find yourself on the verge of this, ask yourself if you could say the thing to the person directly. If yes, be productive. Bring your boss in if you can’t figure out a path forward, or there’s a sensitive issue that could impact the team. Make a plan together.
8. Become a magnet. For people that want to come work with you (external) and for people internally. Be the person every team wants to work with when stuff gets challenging.
There are multiple ways to be this person - but in my opinion it comes down to the sweet spot where attitude and effectiveness converge.
A person with a great attitude - maybe even great ideas and great communication skills - will quickly be found a fraud if they can’t make shit happen. And people above and below will not want to work with you.
If you make shit happen but you’re cranky about it, that’s not very magnetic.
But the combination is infectious.
The real personal brand is being known for doing a great job, having an impact and bringing in people to help who enjoy the camaraderie.
9. Find peers. Don’t live in your company bubble. Find peers and seek benchmarks from others that can help give an outside perspective to your work.
To quote Annie Duke (decision making master), “We all naturally see the world through the lens of our own specific circumstances - from inside our own beliefs and experiences.”
When you keep your head in your own company rabbit hole, you only have exposure to internal information and ideas. You have a sample size of one.
Getting the outside view removes your blindspots and gives you a better understanding of things as they actually are - not just as you perceive them - which means you can make more informed decisions.
If you set a goal to increase the conversion rate from 0.5% to 1%, that might sound good...but if the industry norm is 10%, then it won't look that great in future interviews, or to your board.
Additionally, the more exposure you have to other marketers, the more you’ll understand how different functions within marketing fit together, what the classic goals are that different marketers have, and the common tactics that fill out effective strategies.
You don’t need to waste time reinventing the wheel as much when you know how other people have thought through the problems you’re facing.
Another bonus, it’s nice to have friends who understand what you’re going through.
Surround yourself with people who are eager to learn, help, and uplevel their careers - just like you.
Have a great week,
🎧 #90: Career Growth, Riding The Wave at a High-Growth Startup, Marketing Experiments and more with Danny Schreiber (Sr. Biz Ops Manager at Zapier)
Danny Schreiber is Sr. Manager of Biz Ops at Zapier and has spent close to a decade at the company. In a world where it's easy to jump from company to company, Danny was an early employee at Zapier and has stuck around for an incredible ride. He's had ~5 different roles across the company and shares his wisdom to help you navigate your career path on this episode of the Exit Five podcast
We talk about:
🎬 LAST CHANCE TO REGISTER: How To Win Over The CFO 🎬
WE HAVE 997 PEOPLE REGISTERED FOR THIS! JOIN US! AND GET THE RECORDING TOO :) Proven Strategies for Building Your Marketing Plan, Demonstrating Value, and Getting It Approved
In today's challenging business landscape, marketers face the daunting task of not only crafting an efficient marketing plan, but implementing it quickly, proving its value, and continuously adapting the plan on the fly.
Join our live webinar TOMORROW with Rowan Tonkin, CMO at Planful, and me Dave Gerhardt, Founder of Exit Five (on August 17, 12:00 PM — 1:00 PM EDT) where they’ll lead you through the essential steps to building your plan, getting it approved, and unlocking the full potential of your marketing efforts.