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Being a marketing project manager

An experienced marketing contractor talks about her career and offers some great career advice for budding marketers.

What are your key responsibilities?

It’s difficult to pigeon hole but it involves managing various projects associated with the end-to-end customer experience. This means working with business owners and technology experts to understand business requirements. My job involves managing projects ranging from specific marketing campaigns to ensuring a customer service function or system within the company is up to the required standard.

Most people think project managing is very different to outright marketing, but many of the skills are similar - I still have to plan, find appropriate agencies to work with and work towards a deadline.

What are the benefits of contracting?

I have been in contract jobs since 2002 and this has obviously defined my career path. This has allowed me to learn how different organisations approach marketing and my experience means I can get up to speed very quickly when going into a new role.

Most people think project managing is very different to outright marketing, but many of the skills are similar.

What advice would you give to someone starting out in marketing?

I started marketing before I even knew I was doing it. For example, when I was at school I produced and directed plays. This involved thinking up an idea, developing and ‘making’ it, and then getting money for it. These types of skills are very transferable to marketing and it’s these sorts of extra-curricular interests I’d look for if I was recruiting a marketer.

Once you get your first job and start to get a bit of experience, make a conscious decision about a specific aspect of marketing you are interested in (e.g. branding or product focus) and pursue that career path. It’s crucial you go into something you are passionate about.

How long should marketers stay in each job?

I would advise people to always look for their next opportunity. Be honest with yourself and don’t be afraid to take the next step. Sometimes, people just expect to progress within a company and then become set in their ways that when progression doesn’t come, they are too scared to make the move.

The importance of marketing titles

Marketers should not get too hung up on titles. Most want to become a senior marketing executive and then a marketing manager but different titles mean different things at different organisations. The key consideration should be whether the role will help you develop and involves doing things you are interested in.

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