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9 Things To Do To Get A Promotion In Marketing

Updated: Jun 21, 2022

You're here because you work in marketing and you want to get promoted. So, I invited my good friend Myles Madden, Performance Marketing Manager at Refine Labs. We chat about our journeys from being very new in B2B to moving up the ranks into marketing leadership roles. Our interview was a good mix between tangible tips and personal stories to back it up. Also, Myles offers advice on how to accomplish every tip he provides. If you want to develop your career, scroll to discover the 9 things you can do to get a promotion.

Here is what you can expect:

If you prefer to listen to the tips, be sure to subscribe to the Marketing Bound Podcast on Spotify or on Apple Podcasts.

1. Drive Results

Laura L. Bernhard: I'm very excited that you're here because we're going to be talking about how marketers can rise up in the ranks and really make it in the corporate world. And this conversation is actually based off one of Myles' posts on LinkedIn. So if you guys aren't following him yet, definitely go follow him because all his posts are amazing, but yes, let's just dive into your post. So you said nine things that marketers can do to get promoted. The first way to help you get promoted is to drive for results. Talk to me about that.

Myles Madden: I'm pretty passionate about this topic. First off, this is something that I experienced. This is not some hypothetical. A lot of times when we jump that jump on, like then we're reading content that people read from a book, but then experience in practice. So before Refine Labs, I was at another company and went from intern to marketing director.

Of course now I'm at Refine Labs. So this is stuff that I've implemented, I've tested and experimented with and it works. Yeah, this is tested. So hopefully it gives it a little more weight.

But first thing's first, driving results. Number one. You've got to perform. That's how companies stay afloat. If you don't drive results, your business goes under. It's very black and white. So the first thing is you have to show expertise in your craft show that it works. And if it's not working show that you can make it work. There's so much value in that.

Laura L. Bernhard: You mean like hitting Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)?

Myles Madden: Yeah.

Laura L. Bernhard: cool. So I have a question for you and it's a little off of your post. I worked for a company where KPIs for marketing were not clear. In that situation, how do you prove that you're driving results? What recommendations would you give?

Myles Madden: First, I would really push to get those KPIs so we could go down the road of, I didn't have my KPIs and what do I do, but for you to be successful, there's only one way to gauge if something's working or not...If there's something to gauge against.

If we don't have a metric, if we don't have a goal, how do we actually know if something's working or not? And so that's Myles-topia, that's in the perfect world. You really have to push for that change and get those KPIs. But I'm a realist. So there are times where you're not given a cake yet.

And so with that, even if it's not established between you and your manager, set KPIs for yourself and see if you can push those it makes the conversations with your manager a little more tough when you guys don't have a KPI, but at least, you know, for your personal growth, you're getting better.

Laura L. Bernhard: I think that's super important. That's actually what I ended up doing. And I was like, I can't just kind of like float around here. I have to know what I'm working towards. And I established like three, four KPIs. I'm like, let's track this and let's track how it's, you know, part of the funnel and part of all of our other projects. And eventually I got them to agree, but yeah, guys, first things first, if you want to rise up in the ranks you got to drive results. And that brings us to the second point and you wrote solve problems, especially others. Ooh. I feel like there's a story here. Tell us about that.

2. Solve Problems, Especially Others'

Myles Madden: I've seen, especially at the enterprise structure, there's a lot of meetings, a lot of ideas thrown around, a lot of conversations, but doing the actual work, that's the toughest part and that's what happens the least. And so first off you have to solve your problems.

You can't help someone else if you're not good. So make sure you do solve the problems that you're encountering, but more importantly, solve others' problems.

It shows that you're for the team. You're not for yourself and we're trying to grow a company, although we're trying for our own career advancement as well. When you show that you're there for the company and you're trying to drive growth, and you're helping other people that displays that you're here to win as a company.

On top of that, not only does it help the company grow because you're solving business problems across the board, but just the relationships that it creates. There's so much value to that. I have relationships with people that I've worked with at previous companies, and now it's benefiting either from financial perspective because they hire me for some off work or I just have great friends and, you know, we're always in business mode, but there's human mode too. And helping others makes life a little sweeter.

How Long Did It Take Myles To Get Promoted

Laura L. Bernhard: I love that. And out of curiosity, your previous job, what size like company was it?

Myles Madden: Yeah, it was a small company, a startup company. So we had roughly around 13 employees. Which has been a good experience. So I went from the startup scene and I've worked all the way up to enterprise level companies.

So I've kind of seen the operations between each stage of company, which is a really unique experience I'm grateful for.

Laura L. Bernhard: You must have learned so much during that. How many years did you stay there for?

Myles Madden: I was there for about two and a half, three years.

Laura L. Bernhard: Oh, nice. And you went from intern to director of marketing.

Myles Madden: Yeah:)

Laura L. Bernhard: Wow. Okay. Well with that, let's go into the third point and that is to be vulnerable and ask for help. So I am sure that people would be so nervous to be vulnerable. So what do you mean exactly by be vulnerable and ask for help?

3. Be Vulnerable

Myles Madden: One of the biggest things that I've noticed especially in the rapid growth and enterprise sector is that everyone doesn't ask enough questions. They are not vulnerable. So there's actually a bunch of confusion in these meetings.

It's because nobody wants to be vulnerable. I've had conversations with VPs and marketing and CMOs where their definitions of core marketing terms were completely different. And how are we supposed to have a productive conversation if our definitions are different?

And so I really urge especially people going throughout their marketing journey to be vulnerable and ask the stupid questions because over time that vulnerability is great for leadership. People can come to you and be vulnerable to you themselves. But you all also learn a bunch and you're not going into the boardroom knowing a bunch of terms without the actual definitions and really lacking a deep underlying.

Laura L. Bernhard: Yeah, those clarifying questions are so key guys, everybody who's listening. Don't be scared to raise your hand in a meeting because it's better to ask a clarifying question in the first meeting, then like three years. Just ask right away, get it off your chest.

4. Lead with education for a new tool/channel

Laura L. Bernhard: The next one I'm very curious about in your list here, it says lead education for a new tool and channel. What do you mean by that?

Myles Madden: Yeah, this kind of goes back to the point about solving others' problems. Especially in marketing, it's really good to be progressive. So new tools, new tactics, new channels, constantly are coming about. Teach the team about them.

So great example, Google Analytics 4 is disrupting analytics and data right now, because we're all used to universal analytics. Now there's this completely new interface, yada, yada. Create a guide or course on how to navigate the new interface.

It shows that you're actually trying to do. Others trying to develop the company, trying to push it forward. And not only does it help with your leadership ability helps with project management. You essentially have to create this mini little course that you, you push people through and keep people accountable.

And yeah, people are really grateful for it when you help other people level up. That's great.

Laura L. Bernhard: You're saying leading with education for a new tool. So you're saying a tool that everyone's going to have to use (Google Analytics), but what about new tools where you're trying to get buy- in.

Myles Madden: So I have a little different perspective on this. The modern B2B marketers and data tools and channels and all these things I like to keep it simple.

So as far as software and tools, I don't have a huge MarTech stack. I'm more referring to new channels, such as let's say, Reddit ads or Twitter ads expands or free basic tools like Google analytics for things that essentially every marketer should be using, like HubSpot or Salesforce, something that's very core.

As far as tools or channels that go out of these, what I call core digital tools, getting buy-in honestly, I don't have a lot of opinion on this. Cause I think we make marketing way too complex when we stack on too many tools and we don't want the proper foundation.

5. Genuinely Care and Connect with Others

Laura L. Bernhard: That's true. So then let's jump into the next tip. The next tip is genuinely care and connect with others. Do you mean internally and externally?

Myles Madden: So I actually saw a post the other day was from a Jacob. You can find, I forget his name.

Laura L. Bernhard: Exactly who you're talking about.

Myles Madden: Yeah, really, really big like that, which is crazy. I can't remember his name but marketing guy. And he had a post the other day that was like people, people who are the best at their job versus individuals that people really like or something like that.

I guess the punchline I'm getting to is you can be the smartest individual, but if you haven't built relationships with people, then your knowledge, it's almost not applicable. People may not trust you. They may or may not listen to you because there's not that mutual respect.

And if I had to prioritize this list, I would say genuinely care and connect with others would be number one, you have to build the relationships. And that's what builds credibility, authority the things that you and I were talking before the show, and that's how you get people to actually listen to you, get buy-in, effectively communicate some of your opinions and ideas and get buy-in from that. And yeah, it can be the smartest person in the world. If nobody cares to listen to you. It's almost a waste.

Laura L. Bernhard: And keyword there is genuine. Cause a lot of people are not genuine.

Myles Madden: Man, we're all human and we're all trying to be better people and do better things. And genuine as the keyword. I'm really glad you point that out because you see all the psychology books and these posts about eye contact and ask him about their day and like this laundry list of things that you need to do to care about someone.

If you don't care, you don't care. It doesn't matter the books or the things that you do. And so that's, yeah, that's a little bit of a pet peeve of mine. Just be genuine yourself.

6. Manage Time and Communicate Effectively

Laura L. Bernhard: So your next one is about managing time and communicating effectively. And I just want to know, like, what are your top three tips? To do that effectively.

Myles Madden: Yeah. So this is a big one. If you can't manage your time and communicate effectively at your current level, how do you expect to go up to the next level with more responsibilities?

You're just going to burn yourself out and not have time. So some of the things that I do to manage my time effectively is I block off times in my calendar of focused time. I hide my Slack, hide my email, hide my LinkedIn. I don't even look at it. Throw my phone under the desk, no distractions and just plug in headphones on.

I block off usually an hour or two where I'm very intentional about the things that I need to complete in that in that time there. Some psychological principle that states, if you give yourself a certain amount of time, you will complete that task in that time.

And so I believe that, and it's worked for me so far, so that's what I do. And then really the other thing I have is on the managing time aspect. I have daily warmup rituals and daily wrap-up rituals, especially working from home. I need to set that boundary.

Daily warmup, very structured and the things I do that wrap up reflects it pretty closely. And that allows me to kick off my day really nicely. Answer all my emails, answer my Slack, know what I need to complete the day at the end of the day, make sure I've taken care of that. So that's managing time effectively.

Communication - this one's very short and simple. I dislike business speak. We all know we can have these boardrooms and we're using these weird phrases that you would never use with our friends. So of course, you want to be professional and you don't want to be in my case, super bro-ey or something like that, but just be yourself.

I have a relatively light personality. I'm a happy guy. And I made sure I communicate that way and act that way. And that makes my communication so much more effective because it's here we go... genuine.

Laura L. Bernhard: That's amazing. But yeah, honestly, yes, just communicate more than you think is necessary. And basically the advice that I would give, because no matter how big your team is, in B2B, especially, or just in corporate, in general, there's never enough communication. There's always someone being like, oh, I didn't know that always like every week someone says something like that and you can just over communicate basically.

That's what my advice would be.

Myles Madden: It's gotten even worse in this remote bulk environment. So you have to be very intentional about communication, making sure your Slack messages aren't a three page paragraph. Like even how you format things is very important, especially in a remote environment.

Laura L. Bernhard: Yeah. Just to encourage people to actually read the message. You're so right. Yeah. Anyway, manage time, communicate effectively. Also I'll add another like time management tip. I learned that in my schedule, I literally block off the whole day on what I'm going to work on. And I share that with my managers so that they see what I'm working. Oh, my gosh, they love it.

Myles Madden: I'm going to steal that probably.

Laura L. Bernhard: Steal it! They love it because every time they think about a meeting, they go to my calendar first, check what I'm up to. And then they'll say like, oh, like, can we move things around or whatever?

And I'm like, yeah, no problem. But I'll like book the whole week. They love it because then they see what I'm working on and they never have to ask me about it. They can just go to my calendar.

Myles Madden: That's incredible.

7. Publicly Praise Teammates

Laura L. Bernhard: So your next point, I think this was a tough one. So your next point about helping people raise the ranks in their marketing position is publicly praise teammates. That's rough, especially when it doesn't come from, like top-down. So tell me a little bit more about this one. Tell me a little a story.

Myles Madden: Absolutely. When you're trying to get promoted, what you seek for is public praise, but what you're getting promoted to as a leadership role and as a leader, what are you supposed to do? Publicly praise the people you're managing.

And so you have to flip it on its head. And this is one mistake I see a lot of people who are trying to get promoted, they're like trying to soak up all the good things they're doing, but you need to tell your teammates that they're doing a great job, be public about it.

There's a cheesy way to do it, which is not the right way to go about it, but there's different mediums of how you can do that. So I won't get into that, but yeah.

Talking about your coworkers in a very positive light, and one thing that I've found has worked really well for me is if I'm working with clients where outsourced partner and the CMO jumps on the call and my main point, my main point of contact is a VP of marketing. I give public praise to that CMO about how great that VP of marketing is doing and it goes to building that relationship.

And of course you have to be genuine if I didn't love that VP of marketing, I wouldn't say anything but she's fantastic. And so when you do that, it helps with those relationships, but it shows leadership, especially if you're a relatively younger in your marketing career. Like Wow. This person has a great head on their shoulder.

They're trying to advance their team. They're trying to manage up at a micro level. And those things are recognized and are incredibly important.

Laura L. Bernhard: I find that that's something so rarely talked about, especially when getting promoted, because a lot of managers don't publicly praise, so it's not even something that people are accustomed to, and so I find that a really important point. It's just not talked about enough. That one, that one was good. The next one you wrote is admit when you make a mistake.

8. Admit When You Make Mistakes

Myles Madden: Oh, yeah, that's another big one. There's a fine line here. Of course you want to be polished in how you admit your mistake.

You don't want to come across like, Hey, I just wasted half a million dollars on Google ads. Sorry. Right. So you have to be a little polished. What I found is if it's a big mistake be very transparent in that mistake, but also be very transparent of what I did wrong and exactly how I'm going to fix it.

So that's, that's great. That's what I've seen work with. Big mistakes, little mistakes, much easier conversation. A- this didn't work. I apologize. Same structure. This is how I'm going to fix it. And when you come in with confidence and say, I messed up and I'm going to fix. And I'll be very open with how I fix it.

And B- it will be crystal clear, the data, things like that builds that trust. And nobody likes a know-it-all. We've had those conversations where like nobody's admitting mistakes and there's clearly something wrong going on. And so if we ourselves don't set that precedent that it's okay to make mistakes. Then we're just going to set ourselves up for failure.

Laura L. Bernhard: And I liked what you said about like there is a fine line, like you should absolutely be transparent, but there's a wrong way of doing it. There is absolutely wrong of doing it.

9. Bring Energy and Passion, Always

Laura L. Bernhard: So I think this list is pretty solid. And your last point is bring energy and passion, always. So I think this is really important just before we dive into a little bit deeper, because if you don't bring energy and passion, then maybe you're at the wrong job to begin with. And you'll never rise in the rankings.

If you don't already have that. And that's kind of a sign to let you kind of know that you should be moving company or something. But tell me about your experience about how bringing energy and passion has helped you in your career.

Myles Madden: Yeah, that's so good. Like you said, if passion is not there than it's going to be somewhere else.

So I completely agree with you there and the energy. So. You can fake that. Of course energy is fed through passion. I'm naturally very energetic in the professional environment because I am extremely passionate about this. I love this. And that's why people like Chris Walker and Megan Bowen are so authoritative and people listen to them because they are incredibly passionate about this stuff.

And so passion's there, or it's not. But that really feeds your energy. If you don't have the passion, you can still be happy about life and at least be happy to be there. At the end of the day you have a job, you're getting paid, you're having an income. So there are good things in your day.

Of course, I like look look at the glass half full, but there's something to be excited about bringing that energy. It can change a room, especially in the remote work environment. And as far as my professional career, how I've seen it work well, or my example is that when you make the work environment fun, It motivates people to continue to solve problems, get past blockers, hit goals.

And when you create that exciting environment, it gains momentum and things just are better. Life gets better. And so that's when you come in with low energy, main point is that that's going to inhibit the motivation to maybe solve a problem and things like that. So not only does it make you feel less productive or less exciting in the meeting. But it's going to, it's truly going to hurt your performance.

Laura L. Bernhard: And to your point, when you said there is always something to really be passionate about , especially if you know that there's opportunity for you to grow within the company, then these are the nine steps you need. And part of it is to bring that passion every single day.

Myles, I think all the listeners are super happy to hear the nine steps that have worked for you really jump in your marketing career and that they can apply it. Thank you so much.

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About the Marketing Bound podcast:

Helping new B2B marketers look good at work. Tune in to the Marketing Bound Podcast to develop your marketing skills, navigate the corporate world like a pro, boost your confidence in your role and access the greatest minds in B2B marketing. Join Laura L. Bernhard every week to fast-track your career in B2B. Subscribe to the Marketing Bound Podcast on Spotify or on Apple Podcasts.


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