Six reasons why I chose to become a marketer
A view from Laura Ward

Six reasons why I chose to become a marketer

In the first of a new series of Lessons from the Next Generation Power 100, Laura Ward, group marketing manager at Channel 4, and a member of the NxtGen Class of 2014, shares what she's learned.

Since featuring in Marketing’s Next Generation last year, it’s been a busy year for my team. We broke viewing-figure records with two major drama launches for Channel 4, from a large outdoor-led campaign for period drama Indian Summers to our new sci-fi series Humans, which kicked off with a stunt campaign for the show’s robotics retailer Persona Synthetics.

The latter invited our audience to buy their own synthetic human from our pop-up store on London’s Regent Street. We also refreshed the on-screen brand identity of our Film4 channel, for which the creative team won a prestigious D&AD Black Pencil.

Why I chose to become a marketer

Marketing always appealed to me as I liked the challenge of speaking to people in the most engaging way. If there’s one thing that unites all marketers, it's an obsession with understanding people.

Everyone forges their own career path, but here are some things I’ve learned along the way.

  1. Networking is key. It’s an obvious one, but can’t be overstated. By having a good network of contacts, you are more likely to hear about great roles first. When I’m hiring for a role myself, it’s the people who have been in touch and shown a consistent interest that first come to mind.
  2. Build smart teams. It’s important to have a clear understanding not only of your strengths, but also your weaknesses. Surround yourself with great people with a range of skills that complement each other. Each of my team members is brilliant in their own way, and any successes I’ve had are due in no small part to them.
  3. Keep learning. In a fast-changing media landscape, keeping abreast of the current trends and technologies is so important, whether it’s via formal training courses or simply reading industry articles. Learn how to code, how to work with data, and so on – while you might not have to know how to do everything yourself in your role, you should be able to speak the language of the experts with whom you work closely.
  4. You can’t do everything perfectly, and that’s fine. Identify the projects that are most important and visible, and make sure you throw your energies into those.
  5. Don’t dwell on mistakes, but make sure you learn from them. Everyone gets it wrong sometimes. Most things I’ve learned were by doing it wrong the first time – that’s why it’s called experience.
  6. If at all possible, work somewhere you love. I’m very lucky to work for a brand I feel passionate about, so it’s not hard to get out of bed on a Monday morning ready to tell everyone what we do.