Marcel Duy, Product Director, Digital Business Planning at IKEA
I didn’t study marketing in college. In fact, I obtained my Masters of Arts in new media and digital culture. Initially, I worked as a radio producer—but I knew it wasn’t what I wanted to do long term. After finishing my master’s degree, I travelled the world. When I came back during the economic crisis with no job at hand, I took a traineeship in information management. I learned a lot on processes, and that led me to contact a regional broadcaster to make my case for the value I could provide as a new media coordinator. This was my introduction to marketing in combination with IT and Product.
From there, I moved to larger broadcasters and retailers, including working with video-on-demand patforms and in-app experiences. I really love helping people get to the next step in their journey and watching them adopt new technologies.
Maqqie is an online work platform for finding, hiring, scheduling and paying employees, no matter their contract type. This is an industry where digital transformation needs to happen. People are getting older, there’s less capacity within labor markets, and current systems don’t work anymore because of those factors. We’re examining how digital developments can adapt to—and help—the future of the labor market. Having a hand in that is exciting.
You’ll get your first mid-management role based on your skills and expertise. But to jump from mid-management to leadership, you have to know the business works and how cash flows. You need to see the big picture and the connections between departments so you have the right discussions with leadership. Stakeholder management, self-management, and people management skills aren’t things we’re born with, but you’ll need to practice them to get to the next level.
During COVID, our company was sold to one of our biggest competitors, which meant a lot of big changes, including shuffling our teams. This can have a large impact on your colleagues, but I tried to mitigate that as much as possible through hosting multiple sessions a week to check in on my team and match their capabilities with upcoming projects.
Sometimes having a smaller budget can actually be a blessing. Having a large budget puts you in the mindset that you can do everything, which detracts from focus. By cutting the budget and resources, you go back to your core business goals to narrow down your marketing programs to the activities that drive revenue. The residual effect is that you’re able to make harder—but better—decisions. This gives the rest of the team room to grow as well, as they’ll learn to build a solid foundation for marketing planning.
I traveled the world at the age of twenty-three, rather than start my career, and I think this benefitted me because it took away some of the seriousness of such a big life step. For much of my life, I felt like I needed to prove myself. But travel shaped my perspective into “Let life run its path; let life come to you.” Suddenly, I was doing things for myself rather than to prove my skills to others.
My advice would be to not take yourself so seriously and get as much as you can out of your experiences—both within companies and in life. Hop around to different jobs to find what you like doing. When you’re young, it’s much easier to do, and it will shape who you are and the direction your life will take.
A Slack community to share strategic marketing operations best practices