In this careers feature, Liz Foster asks the question, with the number of corporate marketing roles shrinking as you climb the ladder, where do all the brand managers go?


Who?

Chris Dale, managing director at MarketingHQ, Sydney.

When and where did you work in Marketing?

I started my marketing career firstly as a sales rep in 1996 and then went into FMCG account management for a few years. I secured my first brand management role with CIC Video looking after video products from Nickelodeon, MTV and Paramount Pictures. I then moved to Dataflow Computer Services, working as brand manager. Following this was brand and sponsorship manager at Orange, sales and marketing executive at International Management Group and until June 2009 national marketing manager at the Professional Golfers Association of Australia.

Highest marketing level reached?

National marketing manager.

What do you do now?

Marketing consultant for my own Sydney-based business, MarketingHQ.

Did you choose your path or did it choose you?

A combination of things. I’d always harboured a desire to build my own business as I think there is no greater test for a marketer than to build their own brand. With my previous role, our head office moved to Melbourne and so did my role so I chose to stay in Sydney and start my own business.

What’s the most important skill that you’ve taken from your marketing days?

I think that marketing is a strategic process that can be applied across categories. I’ve worked in many different industries and have found that the skills are relevant with whatever brand or product you are working on.

If you had your time again, would you climb the corporate marketing ladder?

No. I find being my own boss very rewarding and I want to build my own business. I really enjoy the variety of the work that I am doing and would struggle just limiting myself to a single product or category again.

What were the best and the worst parts of your role as BM?

Best: I enjoyed the people I worked with, as well as learning from more experienced marketers on how they approach certain marketing challenges.

Worst: Working in organisations where bureaucracy stifles marketing creativity and the marketing skill is not highly valued at board level.

What career tips would you offer an aspirant or current BM?

Keep your skills up to date and evolve your marketing skills with the changing needs of the market. Read books, attend courses and do not live only in your company’s marketing bubble.

Now that you’ve left the world of brand management, are you satisfied with your current role. If not, what are your future career aspirations?

I love what I’m currently doing. It gives me the variety that I crave and the power to control my own destiny which I never felt that I had before. It also allows me to spend more time with my family due to the flexibility that being my own boss provides.