Let’s pretend for a second that you’re the marketing coordinator at your company, and you have been for a year and 11 months. You feel like you’ve been doing a great job. You’ve been getting great reviews, your supervisors are pleased, people like you and you received the standard 3-4% salary increase at your one year review. Your second review is coming up, and you’re hoping this will be the one where things go to the next level—you get a promotion, title change and a significant raise.
You head into the review meeting, and it ends up not happening. It was a good review but just the standard “great job, keep it up” and the slight pay increase. You’re happy to hear you’ve been doing well, but you’re also wondering what it’s going to take.
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In the workforce, moving up is the goal. However, if you’re not doing above-average work, not trying to improve your skills and not achieving certain things, you will likely remain stalled in the same role for a while.
If you’re looking for ways to move up more quickly in your marketing job, there are several ways to do so that are unique to the field and will help stand out to your colleagues and supervisors.
Here are a few things that can help you move up in your marketing career.
1. Uncover significant insights
If you’re able to find out something from a marketing perspective that nobody has ever uncovered before, that will set you apart from others who might continue with the same day-to-day thinking about the business. Discover a new profitable audience segment, find a landing page that isn’t converting well and figure out what would work well, or find something to increase social media engagement by 3x.
Sometimes, people can be too lazy to get into the nitty gritty data and analyze deeply enough to find something interesting. If you can find these things and bring them to light, supervisors will take note of the initiative and critical thinking required to get you to the next level.
2. Think like the executive team
When you can go into meetings with company/department leaders and speak knowledgeably about the business, you will earn their trust—especially if you are consistent. Often, people at a lower level freeze up because they’re nervous, or they simply show up unprepared.
First of all, treat them as regular people. Don’t freeze up just because they’re higher than you on the company totem pole. Everybody is just a person at the end of the day, and they will take you more seriously if you speak directly and confidently about your subject. Also, make sure to over-prepare (a little extra than you would for a different meeting) when you go into meetings with executive leadership who have decision-making power. That way, when they’re having conversations amongst themselves about who to promote, you will have been previously exposed in a positive light. Another key here is to think big picture about the business, not just your area.
3. Make things more efficient
Save the company time, and the leaders will look out for you. If you implement a new report, process, or anything that will save people time, you are immediately a strong asset. When a business runs inefficiently, or some sort of data takes forever to pull together, they are wasting time in the weeds when they could be making decisions that are game changing.
As a marketing professional, go that extra mile and create something new even if it’s outside of your job description. Do something that you can pull up at a meeting with your boss and be like “look what I created and here’s how it will save everybody time and effort.” Write it down when you do these things to help support a case for a promotion/raise.
4. Get comfortable presenting
The ability to sell yourself is crucial in most jobs, not just marketing. However, every marketer knows that presenting is a huge part of daily life in the field —whether it’s to a client, vendor or internal leadership. The types of people who can comfortably communicate information in a meeting are the ones who appear to be the most knowledgeable and prepared, and often are the ones who get promoted. Leaders look for people who have the potential to be future leaders, with traits such as confidence, charisma, the ability to inspire others and overall preparedness.
5. Document your big wins
I hinted at this at the end of #3. It’s nice to be able to walk into a review with specific things you did and how they directly affected the business. Did you make a big optimization in a digital campaign that gained the company $200,000 incremental dollars in sales? Well, maybe if you have proof written down, that’s more leverage you’ll have when asking for a promotion or raise.
It’s hard to believe, but most people are not doing this, so that in itself is a good reason to start. Marketing is often intangible and vague because you can’t directly correlate every decision with success. But from a digital standpoint, make sure your tracking is on point, and you’re able to see any user activity that leads to a conversion. Then, when you make big decisions on campaigns, see how your changes improved results compared to how the campaign was trending.
Also, make note of big projects you completed or any other large impact initiatives that took place leading up to your review.
6. Get close with the sales team
The best marketers are the ones who have a good relationship with the sales team. Keep an open line of communication with sales representatives who have a direct connection with the marketing that you’re putting out. You can look at the numbers all day long, but you also need some of that qualitative information that will help you better understand the key issues.
Let’s take a high-end furniture store as an example. If the marketing team is targeting people in their late teens and early twenties, the store sales reps will likely have to deal with a lot of people walking into the store and leaving quickly once they realize the cheapest sofa is $3,000. As a marketer, take the initiative to speak with some sales reps and try to identify some of the key issues. That open line of communication will create trust and true collaboration. That will boost your career and reputation to the next level because you’re thinking like a leader.
7. Be fast with replies
Nothing is worse than sending out emails or making phone calls and feeling like you’re typing/talking to a brick wall. Leaders in companies are trusted to be reliable and quick with follow-ups, because in key times of crisis or need they’re the ones who people come to.
If you want to take your career in marketing to the next level, you have to learn fast communication. You can’t just keep marking your emails as unread and forgetting about them by accident.
Find ways to organize your inbox and always be available. Even if you can’t complete a task right away, at least give them a simple reply saying “Confirming receipt. Focusing on a few urgent tasks right now but I’m on it and will follow up with you shortly.” Just getting a quick reply lets people know you’re paying attention and reliable. If you take forever to respond, or you forget things often, you will likely be stuck in your position for longer than you’d like.
A few things I always do is put my mobile number in my email signature as an alternative method, organize my inbox into subfolders to avoid missing things and put my work email on my phone so that I’m always available.
8. Be the hardest worker
The person with the reputation as the slacker won’t be the one getting promoted. I’ve said this a few times already, but current leaders look for future leaders with certain qualities. The fact of the matter is, marketing is not an easy field. There are tons of nuances, and things are always changing, so to keep up and stay ahead of everybody else, you have to simply outwork everyone. There is no simple formula or way to cheat the system. Stick to it, and you will get to the next level.
Summing it all up…
We all know how frustrating it can be to feel like you’re not moving up and have no opportunity to make more money. However, the above ways will at least get you closer to where you want to be.
The key takeaway from this entire article is that leaders in any company are looking for the marketing people who communicate the most effectively, are efficient and make an actual impact through hard work.
Start your journey to moving up in the marketing world and check out these great available opportunities on our job board.