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?

Lizzie Staines

When and where did you work in marketing?

After graduating from university, I worked as marketing coordinator at Grainco Australia, a grain supply chain company.

Following that, I worked in London for a few years where I held positions as marketing and advertising executive at Michael Page International and National Magazines (She, Cosmopolitan and Zest).

Returning to Australia, I moved back into the agricultural industry with GrainCorp in corporate strategy and marketing followed by a move to BP Australia in fuels marketing.

Highest marketing level reached?

Leading the charge on experiential and associative marketing at BP Australia – an intricate and exciting arena!

What do you do now?

I’m part owner and marketing director of www.munchmonitor.com, which is an easy way for parents to order from their school canteen, uniform shop or other school services online.

Did you choose your path or did it choose you? 

While being a marketer at heart, I’m fascinated by commerce and business. One of my aims in pursuing a marketing career was to expose myself to a number of industries. I’ve covered agriculture, recruitment, publishing and energy industries before entering the world of online business.

The fundamental skills of marketing are easily transferable. If you can understand your consumer and what drives their behaviour and have an inquisitive mind, you can take your own path to the top – conventional or not. 

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

People skills. Working in marketing you are actively involved with so many different people. You’ve got customers, creative agencies, media buyers, printers, employees and colleagues from other areas of the company, to name a few. You need to listen and understand them and take them all on a journey with you in order to get the job done. 

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

Absolutely, I’d do it all again! Viewing the tough times as challenges rather than frustrations was key for me in finding daily satisfaction in the process. 

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

The best part is the opportunity to be the pivotal person connecting customers with value driven products. It’s a special place to be in.

The part I disliked the most is convincing non-marketers and non-consumer focused colleagues in business to follow your path. It is your responsibility though to align the marketing strategy against the business’s strategy. If you haven’t done this, these people should be creating a roadblock for you.

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

Don’t stop learning. The landscape changes at a rapid rate and you need to keep up with it. If you want to play with the big boys, you’ll need knowledge in commerce. Australian Graduate School of Management have some great courses in their executive program for non-financial trained minds. 

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

I love what we are doing with www.munchmonitor.com. Our school and parent customers contact us regularly to let us know how much we are helping them out. You can’t get much better than that!