Charlotte Crouch is Marketing Executive at Oxford University Press. Here, she talks about publishing preconceptions, the variety of a marketing role and the skills a marketing executive will develop on the job.
Before you got into the industry, did you have any preconceptions about what it would be like to work in a publishing house? And is it what you were expecting/hoping for?
I think I expected it to be quiet, and hard to fit in. I worried that as someone with lilac hair, piercings, tattoos, and a “Northern” (according to others) accent, I would be too loud and not sophisticated enough for the industry. But it isn’t like that at all!
Everyone wants to work on new and exciting things, so there are always so many projects going on within and outside of your own teams. Everyone is passionate and excited about publishing good stuff, and it really doesn’t matter where you’re from or what you look like.
I also expected it to be all about the books – the physical books. But there is SO much more to publishing now, there’s audio books, translations, eBooks, digital resources, blogs, podcasts, social media, events, and way more than what you might initially think of when you hear the word “publishing”.
I love that you’ve been able to feel comfortable in the industry – I know not everyone does at first. And that the passion everyone feels for what they do comes through in the day-to-day. Can you walk us through what a typical working day is like for you?
I feel like there isn’t ever a “typical” working day in marketing, it really does depend what campaigns and products are on your plate at the time.
But I usually will spend time going through my emails, before checking our social channels. I’ll then look at the progress of any current campaigns (so this could be digital advertisements, where I’ll adjust the budget or ad content, or it could be checking an email campaign went out on time), and spend some time analysing recently finished campaigns. It’s a lot of pulling data and analysing it, to find new things to try in future, and what to keep on doing.
I usually have a few meetings, which are often with other marketers across the business, sales reps, and occasionally editorial staff (if we’re working on content together, like a webinar or blog post). And I might spend a little bit of time drafting tweets and scheduling these social posts, and maybe creating imagery.
If I’m leading a project, I might need to review individual pieces of content as part of the wider campaign, or I might need to check all deliverables are on track.
The variety of your workload is great, it sounds really interesting (and, personally, I love juggling different tasks and stretching different parts of my brain). What is the most satisfying part of your job?
I find satisfaction in knowing that my work has directly created interest, or excitement for our products. So, maybe I’ve seen that a new landing page strategy I’d suggested had increased conversion rates, or perhaps I’ve generated lots of leads in a LinkedIn advertisement. Or maybe I’ll get feedback from sales reps, saying their customers really enjoy the support resources I’ve created for them.
And what is the least satisfying part of your job?
I think the least satisfying things for me are the routine tasks that are always done and don’t really have any direct impact. Things that aren’t easy to track the results of, like creating smaller sales enablement materials.
Can you tell us some of the skills that a marketing executive will develop?
Project management comes into being an exec, along with independent thinking, creative idea generation and suggesting innovative solutions. As an exec, you get closer to the data and campaign analysis, and so you might find yourself starting to specialise in a particular area (which, for me, is digital ads) and training others on this.
What advice would you give to anyone who wants to work in Marketing?
Organisation, data-interpretation, innovation, and creativity are the most important things for a career in marketing.
To improve your chances with job applications, spend time on free resources like Canva, and watch training videos to become comfortable with basic design software and principles. Celebrate any time you’ve suggested something new and it worked out, and analyse whatever you did to get there and what the impacts were.
I think Marketing is one of the most creative areas of publishing to be involved with, and it’s a career path that can utilise such a big set of skills and experiences, so just get stuck in.
Also, try mentoring! Contact someone in the industry, ask for regular catch-ups, or just send over a few questions—people are always happy to help (including me)!