Ask the Graduate: marketing manager

RO Central Team - Tuesday, March 05, 2019
Posted 1 year ago

March 2019

Madeleine Quinn: A day in the life of a marketing manager

About me: Hi everyone, my name is Madeleine and I studied a BA Marketing and Management course from 2010 – 2014 (with a placement year) at Newcastle University and I completed an MSc in Strategic Marketing at Imperial College London from 2014 – 2015.

Current job title and company: Growth Manager (a.k.a Marketing Manager), Skyscanner

A bit about Skyscanner: Skyscanner is a platform designed to help each person find the best flights, car hire and hotel options available from different airlines (for example British Airways) and travel agents (for example Expedia).

Summary of my role: Growth Managers are responsible for working within a certain market (e.g. the UK, Netherlands etc.) and/or a specific marketing channel (e.g. Email marketing, Public Relations etc.) to drive the growth of the business. In my case, I work within the Canadian market (i.e. focus on getting more Canadians to use Skyscanner) and I work across a variety of channels (including Paid Media, Search Engine Optimisation and Email Marketing).

Best bits: As you can probably tell from the summary, I work across a lot of different areas – so no two days are ever the same. There are always new ideas and projects to work on, and new challenges to solve! This is especially true as I work within a very fast-paced industry, and the world of marketing is constantly evolving. This means there’s always more to learn.

What to expect from a career in this role: The job of a Growth Manager will vary a lot depending on the industry, company, market and specialism that you work in. What you can expect is a very exciting career that will keep challenging you and always have you learning new things.

My morning: It might surprise you to know, that a lot of my morning is spent looking at data. Each day, I start by looking at how we are performing within the Canadian market across the different channels that I own to make sure that nothing has gone wrong, and to check if there are any ideas that we might want to prioritise that week or the next week. Once I know how we are performing, I then make sure I take the time to set my priorities for the day ahead. Whilst variety is great, it isn’t always easy to know where to focus your time. Having a clear to do list helps me to make the most of my time. One other thing that I do in the morning, is to take the time to catch up with our content editor, who is based in Thailand (time zones can be tricky). We often have a call to discuss any feedback that I have on new content, and brainstorm ideas around what to work on next.

Having lunch: We’re lucky to have plenty of places around the office to either grab a quick bite, or enjoy a long lunch. We have a main café in the building where everyone tends to gather to eat. And if there’s time a lot of people will enjoy a game of FIFA on the PlayStation, or Ping Pong in the room next to the Café. We’ve also got a meditation room, and a few libraries dotted about if you’re feeling the need for a bit more peace and quiet!

My afternoon: My afternoons vary greatly from day to day. I work closely with a lot of people based in Miami, so sometimes they can be filled with meetings – either catch ups with my manager to discuss personal development, or ‘clan’ sessions which involve specialists in different markets (e.g. Public Relations specialists from the US market, Mexico market, and Canada market) coming together to discuss ideas, projects, and face challenges together.
On days where I’m not caught up in meetings, I will be acting on the data, insights and ideas which I gain from my performance checks and other research. Within Skyscanner, we use what is called ‘lean and agile management’ – which essentially means that we are data led, and approach each project as an experiment. This means that for each idea I have I will outline what I think will happen, and why. Setting this up takes time, but it means that even if we don’t achieve what we hoped, we will have plenty to learn from it!

After work: There’s not a lot that a Growth Manager is expected to do out of work. I’d always say that every job involves some work though – especially if you want to progress. For me, that’s mostly making sure I’m up to date with the news and trends within my market, and keeping an eye on the latest marketing tools and techniques. It’s also important that we monitor what our competitors are doing – so that they don’t outdo us.

I hope you enjoyed reading a bit about my life. Please do ask me any questions you have using the box below my article!


Ask the Graduate March 2019: Answers from Maddie, a marketing manager

What A levels did you study at college?
Note: I didn’t do A-levels, I did the International Baccalaureate but hopefully this answer will still help!
During my time at school I studied Economics, English and French. Economics was particularly helpful as I started studying since it gave me a strong understanding of business, and how to use data to make business decisions.

What sort of work experience or volunteering would you recommend to current year 12 students?
Looking for work experience is always a great way not just to learn more about a job – but also to figure out what you like (and don’t like). The same type of job can also be very different between companies and industries so I’d suggest trying to gain a few different experiences if you can. My first work experiences of working had very little to do with Marketing, but don’t forget that you will learn key skills such as organisation, prioritisation and how to succeed in a professional environment no matter what you are doing!

Does Skyscanner have any work experience or volunteering schemes?
Unfortunately, we don’t offer any work experience or volunteering schemes at the moment. This may change in the future, so please keep an eye on our website.

What are the best parts about your job and what would you say are the worst parts?
The best part of my job is definitely being able to see the impact of what I am doing through data. When you make a change and see how that drives growth for the business, it is extremely rewarding! I also love that no two days are the same – sometimes I am learning new skills, and discovering new tools – other days I am deep diving into our data and investigating the root causes of why our performance is changing.
I don’t like admin, so I would say that this is the worst part of my job. This includes everything from managing and setting up freelance contracts, to extracting data that is needed at regular intervals in a manual way. The great thing at Skyscanner is that if there are tasks that take up a lot of your time, and you are doing frequently, there is usually a way to make them easier (our engineers are magicians!). Unfortunately all jobs will require some level of admin, but I would say that I am pretty lucky with the balance in my role – and when I feel it increasing, I am quite quick to try and find better ways of doing things.

Did your previous studies involve something about marketing. If not, how did you decide to study it at university?
Originally my idea to study marketing came from a somewhat deluded idea that the job would be extremely glamorous (I watched TV shows such as mad men). I also enjoyed studying economics but didn’t feel that my math skills were strong enough to pursue economics at a higher level – and I wanted to do something a bit more creative. My first exposure to marketing was during an internship which I did in the first year of my International Baccalaureate studies (2 years before the end of school). I had a chance to experience how exciting and fast-paced the world of marketing could be, and this definitely confirmed my decision to pursue a degree in it. Looking at the course in some more detail also assured me that even if I decided not to have a career in marketing, I would have a base of business-related skills and experiences that would set me up for success in other areas.