How to Build a Career in Marketing

The following insight came from my podcast interview with Meghan Gill, where she talked about sales and marketing tactics you can use at any stage of a company.

Marketing is a fast-paced and ever-evolving field. One of the core pieces of advice I give to people at an early stage in marketing is collecting data as soon as you can. Because whatever you can collect, it’s so important. And you also have to think ahead, like what data might be helpful in the future? Which is kind of a hard headspace to get into, especially being in the place where you’re always thinking about the next deal. You have to think: I need to live to fight the next battle. But having a little bit of thought about what the next stage will look like can be incredibly useful. 

Another great thing is networking. It is a crucial tool to grow in your career. It will help you develop and improve your skillset, keep up with your industry’s latest trends and the job market. Also, by networking, you could meet prospective mentors, partners, and clients. Thus, you can gain access to the necessary resources that will help you develop your career.

My story of how I ended up at MongoDB was that I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do; I wanted to join something at an early stage and learn a bunch. So I spoke with a friend of mine, who I went to college with, and founded MongoDB. And I was legitimately looking for career advice and direction. He said, well, why don’t you join MongoDB? And I was like, I don’t understand what this technology is. I’m not a software developer. He goes, you’re smart; you’ll figure it out. I often use it as an example for when people ask for career advice on how important it is to network and to sometimes take a leap of faith on a role or on a company that you may not have heard of or may not know about.

I think part of the process is experimenting and pivoting. I have a lot of respect for people who go big and try something really out of the box, even if it fails, because that takes a lot of courage. But on some of these topics, a lot of it has to do with your overall go-to-market. And also your overall strategy. 

To give you a tangible example, MongoDB is targeted at developers, and we want it to be a frictionless process. So, for as long as I’ve been at MongoDB, downloading MongoDB, the open-source free version, there’s no gate in front of it. You don’t have to give us your contact information. It’s completely frictionless. We made a strategic decision to optimize for that persona, for what they expected to make MongoDB ubiquitous. And we have accepted that the result is for go-to-market functions; we don’t know every single person who’s downloaded the product. Some people were using it in production; we’re not even aware of it. We have to look for other signals to discover those people. But that’s a conscious decision that we made.

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