Beth Barrett, Melbourne, Australia

Beth Barrett

Since we’re going around the world, what better place to start than Australia, where the world’s day begins? I asked Beth Barrett, marketing and communications manager at Small World Social, about herself.

What made you want to work in marketing?

I never set out to work in marketing; it’s been a happy accident.

Following my studies I worked for a series of e-commerce and retail companies and got exposure to the different marketing functions of those businesses. Through those roles I began to develop my craft as a copywriter. Eventually my side hustle — LinkedIn profile writing and optimization — and my day job converged, and I went out on my own as a freelance copywriter. I had to market myself! This was a big leap for me at the time, and it paid off.

Tell me about your job. What are your main responsibilities?

We have a couple of major projects right now, one being the HelpMe Feed Foundation and its breastfeeding support app. My main focus right now is on HelpMe Feed, overseeing our go-to-market strategy, our communications, content and partnerships. It’s a dynamic, highly rewarding role in which every day is different to the one before.

What does your workday look like?

I like to keep a fairly consistent schedule. I walk to and from work most days, which is an hour round trip. It really sets me up well for the day, with a hit of fresh air and a bit of movement. I’m usually at my desk around 8:30 with a cup of tea. I try to have my priorities listed a day ahead so that I can focus on a high-priority task first thing in the morning. There are often a few Slack conversations to check in on from the night before, particularly as a global team across different time zones. Our team does a daily stand-up meeting, and we plan and manage our tasks on a system called PAVE. This is a new system based on the theory of constraints.

I will review campaign results and coordinate pressing media correspondence later in the morning. That’s usually the time I get caught up on emails, and things like InVision comments and Slack. The afternoon is when I might work on a solo task, developing new campaigns, writing email copy, reviewing content or otherwise moving ahead with the projects I’m working on.

I help manage a team of volunteers as well as a number of creatives within my own team, so there are typically a couple of meetings scheduled through my day and a fair bit of correspondence to keep things ticking along. My day generally wraps up at a reasonable time, around 5:30. I’m a big proponent of work-life balance and I think it’s important to walk the talk on that. So no late nights where we can avoid it!

What’s your favorite part of your job?

Undoubtedly the stories and the people. I’m constantly meeting people whose lives are helped by our technology: the mothers, the breastfeeding support experts, the nurses. It’s a huge privilege to hear their stories. The people I get to work with are an amazing bunch, all from different paths. I work with some truly exceptional professionals who are passionate about creating technology for social good.

Ravo Portal, Poitiers, France

Ravo Portal is based in Poitiers, France. She is the content and community manager at the energy company Alterna.

What made you want to work in marketing?

For me it was either working in marketing or working in a pure IT field. I have always been attracted to the marketing side of this job. I like telling stories, to be able to touch people’s lives in some way with my words. And most of all I prefer the creative side to the coding side.

Tell me about your job. What are your main responsibilities?

My field of responsibilities covers everything that’s on the web between our brand and our customers. It involves our website, social media and net-linking online and offline with our partners. I am also the main contact for our external consultants for specific domains such as traffic management.

What does your workday look like?

My workday starts at 9 a.m. and (usually) ends at 5 p.m. There is never a typical day; it depends on the projects we are working on. Once a week, all the members of our team sit together to go through all of our ongoing projects. It helps to let your teammates know about your work in progress, the struggles you may go through, if you need help and vice versa.

Since you’re from France I have to ask: What do you eat for lunch?

Interesting question! Lunchtime is still very dear to French people’s heart. It’s a tradition you will never take away from us.

If there is no big rush, my teammates and I like to gather at the restaurant to have a good meal and take a real break. As far as what’s on the menu, if it’s a French restaurant serving French food, French fries will always have their place in the side dishes list. They are tempting until you start gaining a few pounds so I try to balance with other healthier foods. Also, I was born and raised in Madagascar so you can never take rice away from me for too long.

Then we go back at work, take our coffee break and we’re all back at our tasks. If I’m on a rush I’ll take a quick meal — usually leftovers, rarely a sandwich — from home and eat at my desk.

What’s your advice for someone else who wants to work in marketing?

Be persistent. There’s a saying in French that sums up pretty much all the domains in this field: “Les gouts et les couleurs ne se discutent pas.” Everyone will have their say about your work because they have their own preferences and their own background. Feel free to be wise though — take the good criticism in consideration to improve yourself but let time tell for the rest.

Maresch Bär, Berlin

Maresch Bär is a content strategist at the tech company Small Improvements.

What did you study in school?

I studied public relations, so I started as a specialist and became more of a generalist over time.

What made you want to work in marketing?

It wasn’t really a conscious decision to work in marketing. I care more about what I market than the practice of marketing itself. But I want to get to use my strengths every day, so a field that requires empathy, creativity and analytical skills feels like a great fit.

What does your workday look like?

I usually start my workday at 9 a.m. with an HR or marketing podcast while commuting to my office in Berlin. Some of my current favorites are 21st Century HR, HBR IdeaCastthe Animalz podcast and of course Margins. Once there I grab a cup of coffee and catch up on unread messages. We have customers and employees across multiple time zones, so a lot is going on while I’m sleeping.

In the morning I tend to focus on technical, analytical tasks. This way I can cross off some items on my to-do list to feed my motivation for the rest of the day. We have a strong lunch culture, so I often take a full hour break to eat out with some colleagues. I love Korean and Vietnamese food.

When working on tricky content pieces, I like to have enough time for conversations that spark my creativity and allow me to test some ideas. So I usually save creative tasks for the afternoon. I finish work around 6 p.m. since my company doesn’t promote long hours. If I haven’t finished the podcast I started listening to on my way to work, now is the time to wrap it up.

What’s your favorite part of your job?

I love it when diligence and patience are rewarded. It can take weeks or even months of waiting and tweaking until a new article eventually picks up organic traffic. Just recently, my first article made it into Google Discover, resulting in hundreds of page views from people who didn’t even search for it.

What’s your advice for someone else who wants to work in marketing?

Find a topic you genuinely care about and become an expert in it. If your audience is made up of experts, they won’t take you seriously unless you understand their needs, speak their language and tell them something new. So instead of wasting time at marketing meetups listening to things you already know, why not attend more events in your vertical?

Megan Zink, Chicago

Megan Zink is the digital and content marketing manager at Fitness Formula Clubs.

What did you study in school?

I majored in journalism. I also minored in business marketing and fine arts, concentrating in photography. I guess my trend of wearing many hats started early!

What made you want to work in marketing?

I had always been fascinated by human psychology and loved creative pursuits like writing, design, photography, etc. More recently I think I realized I’d always loved storytelling and problem solving. In school, taking all the classes, I thought advertising would be a little too cutthroat, and PR seemed like it mainly consisted of cleaning up messes. Marketing seemed like a happy medium.

What does your workday look like?

In the morning I usually get in between 8:30-8:45 a.m. and check my email and look at a few of my favorite industry platforms (Orbit Media’s blog, Managing Editor and AdWeek are a few) while I’m having my coffee. Then I usually touch base with our director of marketing about the priorities for the day/week. If there aren’t any sales emails that are urgent, I’ll work on new pieces of content for our blog, make sure social is scheduled out, etc.

I’ve found that I typically am the most focused during the morning hours and a little more creative during the afternoon, so I’ll try to tackle the thing I least want to do right off the bat. Midday I’ll probably be working on the next project.

I like to get out of the office during lunch (later, around 1) and nearly always take a break outside, usually running errands or going for a walk to the Chicago Riverwalk and listening to a podcast. I mostly always eat a salad with some kind of protein in it. I like to keep it on the healthier, lighter side. I also eat, like, 6 times a day and bring breakfast, a mid-morning snack, lunch and an afternoon snack with me from home. I will mostly save the creative brainstorming or strategy projects for the late afternoon. I usually stop working between 5-5:30, depending on the status of deadlines and projects.

What has been surprising to you about working in marketing?

The workarounds out there. It makes me a little bit sad to see that there are so many hacks and formulas for things. I’m starting to really lean into Team Content Marketing — I don’t love sales-y pitches, gimmicky marketing or clickbait. I try to make sure our content is authentic and transparent.

What’s your advice for someone else who wants to work in marketing?

Study storytelling. Understand the “why” — that can be a hugely successful motivator to your marketing and really makes a difference in the effectiveness. if you are marketing a product or service, it really helps if you are personally passionate about it.

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