Laura Brown reflects on her career journey and the value of marketing
We recently spoke to Laura Brown, global marketing manager at Samuel Knight International. Laura reflects back on her career journey and explores the value of marketing and its importance to an organisation.
Starting in marketing
As a child, I would sit for hours designing my very own Argos style catalogues and fashion magazines, perhaps an early sign that I would one day work in marketing and advertising!
I’ve always been very much a people person, with a flair for creativity so, initially, I’d wanted to work in fashion design but my path for A-Levels ended up being centred around business, which I felt would give me the time to decide on the career route I wanted to take.
I gained a degree in business and marketing at university and realised that I would need to get as much work experience in the field to secure an entry-level role. Marketing is a competitive environment and I knew to progress, I would need to spend as much time as possible fully immersing myself in the world of marketing.
Following graduation, I spent a year travelling Australia – but I didn’t want to waste any time and worked in sales and marketing orientated jobs – commission based! Hard, tough work, but I gained experience in the fundamentals of applying marketing techniques such as advertising and promotion.
I loved the industry. I wanted to work in a creative, visual role filled with variety and excitement.
My first ‘marketing’ role was as an account executive for a website design agency in 2009 – website design was still pretty much in its infancy and sites were expensive, big and very technical and even in my first year I witnessed the rapid growth of SEO, search marketing and digital services creeping into the client offering. It was my first taste of agency life, working with huge household names such as Audi, Aston Martin, and Northumbria Police.
Following this role, I moved into an internal marketing position in a logistics firm – I adored the fast-paced nature, it was a fun working culture and the projects included working in the Belgium market, developing and launching a new website and running multi-lingual email marketing campaigns. I have spent the majority of my career working in internal roles, including law, education and the recruitment sector.
Every position has offered something different, the variety of projects and people I have worked with in a marketing capacity has extended my knowledge, skills, and know-how. I love the thrill of fast-paced environments, adding value through strategic marketing and I enjoy the feeling a successful campaign can bring to a business.
In my current role as global marketing manager for Samuel Knight International, I head up group marketing activity and as we expand into the USA, the opportunities to grow as a marketing professional is extremely exciting.
The value of marketing
Marketing is perhaps a victim of its own success – people see the glossy, glamourous, shiny side and not the hours of market research behind the content, hours of copywriting that went into that last-minute brochure request design, proofing and multiple rounds of approval a marketing document went through before being produced.
Marketing is the ‘yes’ function – we will fit it in, shift round projects, re-prioritise and add to our workload all to make sure our clients (internal and external) are provided with their requirements.
However, perhaps it is the over-servicing of accounts that make marketing deemed too available which can lessen the perceived value of the marketing function.
CIM’s recent Impact of Marketing report revealed (59%) of marketing professionals in the North East believe they are vital to their organisation’s success, while almost three quarters (73%) of marketers in the North East feel the sector benefits communities as well as companies and organisations.
The study of more than 1,200 in-house and agency professionals also found that while the North East’s marketers are confident they add value to business, almost half of marketers in the region (46%) believe businesses struggle to understand the positive impact of marketing, with confusion over the definition and responsibilities of the profession undermining the role it can play in helping businesses survive the Covid-19 crisis.
Marketing also has to contend with constantly reassuring value, ROI, and impact. It can be difficult to measure certain elements of marketing activity, yet a business with an understanding of the value of marketing can flourish, tapping into the power of brand, audience engagement, marketing fundamentals, and synched sales and marketing functions.