The Marketing Beginning
I started at interfacewerk as a Team Assistant after quitting a marketing position at a medium-sized machine manufacturer. After being frustrated because of long decision paths and old-fashioned processes (what is lean?!) I decided to try out something else in a more dynamic and visionary team. At this point, I had a strong feeling that marketing is not the thing I want to do anymore (primarily). But, after a couple of months at interfacewerk, I found myself creating content for the interfacewerk website and social media channels regularly.
After 1 year at interfacewerk I got the chance to become Customer Relations Manager which meant being responsible for marketing, content, and social media topics. And, yes, some learnings changed my perception of marketing! And this is my learning number 1!
Learning number 1: You need to find the right environment to grow (or create it yourself).
Just because you don’t fit the concept of „marketing“ at one company, it does not mean that you can’t do it at another company. The best for me is when I get the opportunity to shape this concept. And at interfacewerk I got this opportunity. Well, of course, this is a general advantage when working in a lean and agile environment. Nothing is defined for good, anything can be questioned and, eventually, optimized. So you need to find an environment that suits you and that ultimately will help you grow. So there I was: with a new position and confidence but not that much experience in marketing, working for a young and dynamic brand where anything seems to be possible. If you have a lot of freedom, it can get overwhelming sometimes. This brings me to learning number 2.
Learning number 2: Lean experiments help you gathering knowledge fast.
So to overcome being overwhelmed with the number of opportunities, I highly recommend brainstorm marketing experiments you want to try out. Any idea you have: create a board (e.g. Trello) and put it there.
Make a voting session with colleagues where you assess the most promising ones. Pick at least the 5 most promising. And then do one each week. Yes, one per week! For example, you want to check out how a certain offer performs. Setup a LinkedIn Campaign, create the offer and then check out the engagement. Well yes, you will need some budget for that.
But! And here is the thing: you can gather knowledge with a very limited budget here. And ultimately, you will spend less time and money when doing small experiments rather than committing to one marketing strategy right away. By setting up KPIs and comparing them throughout the experiments, I got a feeling for what might be promising and what is just a waste of time. And here comes the next learning.
Learning number 3: Give topics a second try, but iterate!
Some experiments and activities won’t lead you to results right away. For example, we did a free in-house workshop once. After that, nothing happened for 1,5 years. Until one day a guy reached out and asked us for UX support. He remembered our UX expertise from that one workshop!
Don’t give up too quickly and remain confident. Sometimes experiments are worth another try. But not because you want to try out the same thing once again, hoping that this time everything will be different. No. Over time, you get more knowledge, more experienced, and you get why things did not work out the first time. Also, spreading seeds like free knowledge gives you an unexpected ROI. Or maybe you targeted the wrong people with your LinkedIn campaign. So, here comes learning number 4.
Learning number 4: Make sure you know who you are talking to.
Admittedly, at the beginning of my marketing activities at interfacewerk, I had no clue who our target audience was (be it for a blog post, a video, or website content). Luckily, I got the opportunity to speak to some of our great customers(many thanks!) in usability tests, and also I learned about them through questionnaires.
In the end, we are a UX company, and we create products that help users and create a benefit. Of course one of my goals is to create a customer journey and customer experience with our brand that also creates this benefit! Working for a UX company led to this mind-shift. I learned so much from our UX designers, including project management, agile mindset, design, usability, and user research. Finally, here we come to the last big learning.
Learning number 5: Marketing is a team discipline!
I know, as a marketer you are told to mention the most important thing in the very beginning. But: you are also told to create stories with happy endings. So here is my happy ending to this ongoing story. Marketing is a team discipline. First of all: you can never bring up a variety of ideas on your own (at least I can’t). The mass of ideas I saw in this past year was impressive, and I never would have made it so far on my own. Each idea, each piece of feedback, each discussion was crucial to get our vision straight, to show who we really are, and to make people want to work with us(customers, but also new colleagues).
I reckon this was my biggest misconception: thinking that I need to get everything done on my own and that the recognition for my efforts comes from being able to manage everything by myself. Like at my former firm: you would only get credit as an individual and not as a team. Needless to say, nobody was keen on supporting someone else. Luckily, interfacewerk totally proved me wrong. In the end, it is about the result and not whether you did it alone. It is ok to seek support, have different opinions and views. This is what makes good marketing!
So thanks to the whole interfacewerk team for supporting and shaping the marketing of interfacewerk together!