Marcel Duy, Product Director, Digital Business Planning at IKEA
Initially, I’d intended to go to school for something practical, like dental hygiene, but I’d had a real love for design and pursued it once I discovered how to turn it into a career path.
During college, I fell in love with the marketing and branding aspects of design, in particular. I started freelance designing in addition to my daytime banking job until I could get a full time position in a tech start up, as a marketing coordinator. I dove into a lot of marketing operations tasks while there, and jumped at the first marketing operations role that opened up in the company.
I love that I get to fix things and that this role asks me to use all my creative power to solve problems in sometimes unconventional ways. The pushback that I’ll hear occasionally is, “we don’t think you can do this.” I understand that using a new system or process can make people nervous. But I am about to make their lives 1000x easier. Seeing the look on their faces at the end of the project when they understand how it works and how much better it’s going to be excites me most.
Being a leader isn’t for everyone. You can’t think about it like a checkbox in order to get a promotion. You need to want to lead a team, to nurture other people’s growth and advocate for them.
If that is the path for you, then I would say you’d have to be comfortable with going against the grain a little, and challenge the way your company does certain marketing activities, especially if they’re status quo. The only way to move your company forward is through challenge, change, and attempting new things.
If you want to get into a leadership role, you have to be the one diving into the data, seeing what you can change, and advising the decision makers.
When you’re in hypergrowth, overspending can be a big problem. Being tighter with our budget is an opportunity for us to reprioritize and only invest in the programs that drive pipeline. We needed to get very budget savvy and intentional about the campaigns and activities that we were running.
But, that also means we get bandwidth back because we’ve narrowed our scope to focus on doing the things that matter most. My team isn’t burning out trying to do everything. It’s much more motivating for them to focus on the key projects and the impact they create. That’s why I brought in Uptempo because it’s the perfect tool to help us. It’s fantastic—our relationship with finance has never been better. For the first time, our dollars match finance’s dollars and that’s been so powerful.
I would thank myself for being so career-driven. It’s been my goal to be a CMO since I was 22, and I am always thinking about the next step. But you also need to enjoy the ride. So even though I’m grateful that my younger self was so career-oriented, I would tell myself to practice mindfulness and not to worry so much. It’s all going to work out.
A Slack community to share strategic marketing operations best practices