Marketing: Mentor or Manager?

Harry Simpson

Marketing Mentorship (2)

Marketing: such a broad term, yet one which so many people want to work within. In fact, according to a 2019 survey conducted by Glassdoor, it’s the third most desirable job sector here in the UK.

As a recruiter, I often interview entry-level/graduate candidates who say they want to work ‘in marketing’ but, when you delve a little deeper, they have little understanding of what exactly that means. Marketing is a huge system of myriad channels – many of which are impossible to understand until you’re in the midst of them.

Which is why, when you’re building your marketing team, it’s important to consider what you actually need: in such a creative, ever-changing profession, the meeting of minds often breeds better, faster results than training might.

Which is why marketing mentorship is so very key.

Marketing is, technically, something many people could do – with so many online courses, qualifications and ways to self-learn or self-educate, there are few real obstacles for somebody who wants to learn the movements, the basics. But what about the psychology, the science behind it all? Marketing encompasses tech skills, design, writing, working with numbers and so much more – all skills which we either possess or would be able to hone by ourselves. But the meeting of minds in a profession such as marketing is what
breeds ideas, understanding and overall success.

This is where a mentor comes in.

A marketing mentor is much more than a teacher or trainer. They’re also a:

1) Sounding board for ideas – good and bad – offering the opportunity to deconstruct, evaluate and rethink things to the betterment of your/your clients’ goals
2) Challenger – to help an individual understand why they think A is a better strategy than B, or to ask different questions and create different thought patterns
3) Motivator – in an industry where opinions differ and creativity can as quickly be stifled as encouraged, your mentor ensures that you’re able to persevere and stay driven throughout the good times, and the bad

A mentor helps draw out ideas which exist, but aren’t going to come to the surface without some prodding and poking. A mentor speaks from experience – what has worked historically and what hasn’t, or even why what works for one won’t for another. A mentor is able to draw upon numbers and statistics, things they’ve learned along the way, rather than basing decisions on common sense. Furthermore, they’ll still ensure that your junior marketer learns by trial and error themselves, so that one day they can speak of the same experience.

Working in marketing, there’s near-unlimited online resources for learning the ‘how’ – simply reading blogs or utilising classroom-based learning (whether online or IRL) can teach you a lot. But the role of a marketing mentor is to help a person understand what they’re doing and, most crucially, why.

Show me any successful athlete, business owner, author or otherwise, and you’ll find a mentor to whom they attribute much of their success not far behind. In an industry as fast-paced, diverse and often ambiguous as marketing, real-life skills and experience are invaluable.

You’re planning to hire someone who can come into your team and look after the company’s [social media, print, digital marketing] capabilities… But, should you be considering developing your current team and instead hiring a mentor with which to do so?

It could be a best-of-both-worlds situation.

Please share your experience with us, whether you work in marketing or another sector altogether – do you have a business mentor and, if so, is it something you’d recommend to those just starting out or hoping to develop their career in any given sector?

Whether you’re looking to add to your marketing team, or looking for general advice on the strategy in development for the future of it, we’re here to help. Get in touch with myself or one of my marketing-specialist recruiters covering the UK today.