Trepidation. And maybe a touch of excitement. This is how many of us feel when we do something new for the first time and we think people are watching. Sometimes those feelings are triggered from something as simple as going to a party where you do not know many people. Whatever the situation, you likely feel that same twinge when something is unfamiliar.
Doing something entirely new takes courage. But the experience can be a thrill if we are open to what may be.
Trepidation and excitement are top of mind because last week our team launched the company’s second product — Aha! for Marketing. The launch brought back memories. Not just because it got me thinking about when we first launched Aha! for Product, but because it reminded me of a time early in my career — when I was a marketer myself.
It was my first technology job after graduate school and before the dot-com bubble burst. I was working as a product marketing manager at one of the fastest-growing internet service providers in the world. Yes, it was an exciting time to be in my first meaningful job — but there were unknowns too. I wondered what would be expected of me and how I would be able to best help the team.
I know that when we start a new job, we all want to start contributing right away — just as I did.
Back when I started that first product marketing job, I did not really have anyone to turn to for advice. So I thought I could help others who are now in the same position. I decided to ask a trusted group of experts for their thoughts — our own Aha! marketing team.
Here is their advice on what every new marketing manager should do in the first 30 days:
Absorb the strategy
“If you want to help move the company forward, you need to understand where it wants to go. So early on, you should get clear on strategy — the big goals and any programs or campaigns currently defined against those goals. Then, ask your manager how your role fits into the plan. Discuss what you can do in the short- and long-term to help bring the strategy to life.” — Lisa Crowell
“What does success look like for the rest of the team? Try asking your new teammates what they consider to be the three most valuable metrics for success — whether it is for a specific campaign or the overall marketing work. These metrics can serve as a guide as you learn the work and how you can best contribute.” — Joon Shin
“Embark on as much of the customer journey as you can. In the past, I have tried to start at the beginning by doing internet searches within my product category to see how easily I could find my product. Or starting at the website homepage and imagining it through the customer’s eyes. Capture notes about what works well and where you experience friction while you still have fresh eyes.” — Claire George
Study the product
“As a marketer, you need to understand your product or service better than almost anyone. Obviously, the best way to do this is to actually use that product or service on a regular basis. This may or may not be possible depending on what the product is, but try to explore — taking note of functionality or experiences that make you happy. It will make it easier to understand the benefits to customers.” — Jessica Groff
“You need to understand the voice of the company. What kinds of messages does it share? Is the tone conversational or more formal? The best way to figure this out is to read as much of the company’s existing content as you can — from the website copy to blog and social media posts. The more you read, the more you will find that you can emulate the voice and style in your own work.” — Ashley Truppo
“Make it a point to meet teammates outside of marketing — such as sales, development, support, and operations. Introduce yourself and ask about what they are working on. Making these introductions can help build trust and give you valuable insight on how the team works. It may not seem like a marketing manager can help a backend engineer, but you might be surprised by what you learn!” — Bryan McCarty
“Try to never start a sentence with, ‘At my last job…’ You might have learned a lot of great lessons from your last job, but you cannot assume that those automatically apply to the new one. Before you start sharing all your ideas and opinions on how the work should be done, take a step back and listen to your new teammates. Understand their processes — what works well and what would they like to change. This is key to knowing before you can make your own meaningful contributions.” — Tim Davis
“The start of a new job is not just for listening and learning — make sure you also take action. This could be as simple as taking over a small daily task from a teammate or offering to work on a major audit. Ask your manager to identify where to put your effort or use those observation skills to identify a project that the team does not have bandwidth for at the moment. Whatever the case, you want to show your team that you are a meaningful contributor.” — Molly Jane Quinn
As a new marketing hire, your goal is to prove to your team (and to yourself) the real value that you can deliver.
This requires the ability to listen, analyze, and act. But it also takes a great amount of courage. So, be bold. And get ready for your next thrilling adventure.
What else do you think marketers should do in their first 30 days?
Bold marketing leads to breakthrough campaigns. Try Aha! for Marketing free for 30 days.