Opinion

Eight ways to get off to a flying start in your marketing career

In the latest of our Lessons from the Next Generation Power 100, Charlotte Oates, former marketing lead for mobile at Moneysupermarket.com, now at a start-up, and a member of the NxtGen Class of 2013, shares her tips.

Charlotte Oates, former marketing lead for mobile at Moneysupermarket.com
Charlotte Oates, former marketing lead for mobile at Moneysupermarket.com

Since featuring in Marketing’s Next Generation, when I worked as marketing and communications manager at DMG Media, a lot has changed. The personal-finance app we were building (OnTrees) was acquired by Moneysupermar­ket.com in early 2014 and I have spent the past year or so working with the group to drive growth and development across its mobile-app portfolio.

I recently left my role as marketing lead for mobile to work on a fintech venture called Moneybox. Our aim is to make it easier to set money aside and start making simple investments. We plan to launch early next year, so watch this space. Being involved at an early stage in a start-up has made me realise how much there is still to learn, but here are a few tips I’ve picked up so far.

  1. Don’t worry too much about the future. It’s important to have ambitions, but it doesn’t matter if you don’t have a strict five-year plan. Five years ago I was starting an MA in Shakespeare Studies (which, as it happens, I didn’t complete…)
  2. Have an opinion. Even if you’re the newest and most junior person in the team, you’ll be able to bring a different perspective.
  3. Don’t get pigeonholed. It’s easy to specialise too early, particularly in marketing, so try to keep your options open. Any successful CMO needs an understanding of all disciplines and how they work together.
  4. Training can come in many forms. You don’t have to be listening to a PowerPoint presentation to expand your skills. Volunteer for things. Sign up for events. Get out and meet people.
  5. Spend time finding out what inspires and motivates you. That’s the most valuable thing to achieve in your early career. And do your best work. Try not to send people work that isn’t finished to the best of your ability. You can’t expect someone else to pick up your typos.
  6. Try to do your manager’s job for them. Think about what they’re working on and be proactive. Don’t wait for someone to give you things to do.
  7. Be open to taking risks. If an opportunity feels exciting and you think you can learn something, go for it. The average person starting their career now will have 10 to 15 different jobs in their lifetime. We don’t need to prioritise stability in the way our parents and grandparents did.
  8. Set your own work-life boundaries. Whether it’s rugby games or violin recitals, make sure there are things you aren’t willing to sacrifice.