August 4, 2023

My year centre stage: what it’s like to be a marketing manager

If you’ve ever been to the theatre to see a play, ballet or concert, you’ll notice it seems effortless, with seamless transitions and a squeaky clean performance. These artists are professionals and know their part down to a tee. Everything is perfectly timed and runs smoothly. But, as audience members, we don’t often think about all the months of intense preparation it has taken to get to this point, nor the constant activity going on behind the scenes to ensure the show goes off without a hitch. That’s exactly how it’s supposed to be.

As bizarre as it sounds, my time at kdm communications has taught me that the world of marketing is not so different from the performing arts. We are a specialist B2B marketing agency providing a comprehensive portfolio of services to a diverse range of scientific, technical and medical companies from all over the world. One of these prestigious clients is BIOHIT HealthCare Ltd, which manufacturers and supplies diagnostic tests, equipment and services that support the diagnosis and treatment of a wide spectrum of digestive diseases the world over. Its products are used routinely in clinical laboratories, endoscopy units and general practice clinics, as well as in academic and clinical research settings. We have been working alongside BIOHIT’s UK team for several years now, providing a variety of content creation and PR services to support the company’s own in-house marketing personnel. In August 2022, BIOHIT’s marketing manager went on maternity leave for a year, leaving a huge gap that needed filling very quickly. The BIOHIT team proposed that we at kdm would take over the entirety of the company’s marketing activities during this time, since we had clearly proven ourselves as more than capable. It was an easy decision to make; WE SAID YES!

 

Dealing with opening night nerves

I had the honour of being cast in the lead role, and stepped into the marketing manager’s shoes for the next 12 months. I have to admit that it seemed like a mammoth task at first, and I certainly felt overwhelmed to begin with, but I quickly climbed the learning curve and found my feet (without breaking a leg). I had loads of handover calls with the marketing manager before she left so she could pass on some of her knowledge and expertise, and train me how to use certain crucial platforms. She also left me a huge and incredibly detailed document and promptly answered all of my questions, which definitely gave me a head start and meant I could hit the ground running in my exciting new position. The whole situation was also a really close reflection of the way that kdm focuses on proactive professional development, individual growth and on-the-job training. Once I got started as marketing manager, I realised that this attitude had very much prepared me for my added responsibilities, and that maybe I was worthy of the task after all. Support from my more experienced colleagues was invaluable during this intensive but fun transition time, and we worked together to make sure the whole handover process was as smooth as possible.

 

Putting the spotlight on lessons learned

So, what have I learned from my packed year as a (temporary) marketing manager for a large, international scientific company? Well, first off, I soon realised that what we had previously been doing for BIOHIT was really just the tip of the iceberg as far as the company’s entire marketing effort was concerned. Specialist marketing agencies like kdm typically work alongside businesses to carry out activities their marketing team doesn’t have the capacity for, usually due to a lack of time, personnel, and linguistic or design capabilities. We also of course serve companies on an ad hoc project basis. This means that we often only get a glimpse of one small component of any particular campaign without necessarily having a hand in all that is going on.

From a practical skills perspective, over the past year I’ve learned a substantial amount about digital marketing through Salesforce and Pardot, which we use to produce, distribute and track emailers, newsletters, landing pages and engagement studios. Plus, I can now easily navigate Google Analytics and all the different statistics it produces. This information helps us to improve our marketing efforts and predict what will work best in the future. Something else that also immediately stood out to me was the clear link between marketing and psychology. I soon saw that as a marketing manager, you are always thinking about what makes people tick and how you can use this to gain traction and promote your business.

On top of this, a large part of a marketing manager’s responsibilities is comprehensive exhibition management, from booking stand space to organising booth build and artwork. I was in close contact with BIOHIT’s graphic designer for all of this, and learned a lot about the lengthy artistic process behind designing exhibition booths, banners and ads. kdm has covered these kinds of activities and events for many years and has tons of expertise as a whole, but this was an exciting and completely new area for me personally, and I really enjoyed trying my hand at something so fast paced and creative. In recent months, I’ve also organised webinars, coordinated email campaigns and liaised with experts working in different aspects of marketing, events and the diagnostics industry. I have always got a buzz from meeting new people, so all the networking was a particularly fun aspect of my role.

 

The show must go on!

I’m sure you can gather that this last year working so closely with BIOHIT has been very busy! This experience has certainly increased my skill set and has given me more confidence in my own abilities. I was also pleasantly surprised to discover how well being an Account Executive, and now Account Manager, at kdm had primed me for the task. I can safely say that I now have far more understanding of how the marketing world works backstage, and have learned many important lessons that I’ll apply to the rest of my work at kdm. It will soon be the curtain call for my time as the maternity cover marketing manager for BIOHIT, and I’ll take on more of a ‘supporting actress’ role once again. However, I’m really grateful for this valuable opportunity and I’m looking forward to what our continued collaboration will bring next.

 

Emily Armiger-Welch

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