Interview with a Marketing Manager

Posted February 09, 2012 by

I worked as a marketing manager and a sales manager in the computer sales industry. It was at a time when computer companies were trying to keep the budget down, so they would assume that a sales manager should also be able to handle marketing. My experience was that they are two completely different things and I was fortunate to have marketing training from my college days to help me adjust to doing the job of two people.

I spent two years as the sales and marketing manager for a start-up computer company. I left that company and agreed to start the east coast computer sales office for a company based out of California. I had to create all of the marketing materials and develop all of the marketing strategies from the ground up. I worked at that company for four years before moving on to other challenges.

The most common misunderstanding I faced immediately was that a sales manager could also do the job of a marketing manager. These are two completely separate jobs and my time was starting to get monopolized by the marketing needs of each company. Aside from hiring and running the sales staff, I also had to collect and analyze market research to determine how we would approach the next marketing campaign. Sales can happen without marketing, but sales efforts are not nearly as effective without a good marketing campaign behind them.

I would spend my time studying demographic information, talking to customers and prospects about their product needs, developing the look for the marketing materials, talking to printers about getting good prices on printing large quantities of marketing fliers, develop the product catalogs for each quarter and several other marketing tasks that would constantly take away from my sales responsibilities.

The marketing aspect of my job was probably the most fun I had ever had working in the corporate world. It was exciting to spend months studying marketing trends and then putting those trends to work in creating product demand. If I had to apply a number from 1 to 10 that described my enjoyment of the marketing work I did, I would use a 7. I think that only thing that could have improved my enjoyment of my marketing work would be to put more focus on it and allowed someone else to do the sales portion.

I have always enjoyed analyzing data and then developing a method based on that data. I was never really inclined to become any kind of research scientist, so marketing seemed like the perfect fit. I am not sure if marketing ever really moved me to feel any strong emotional attachment to it. But I did feel like I was in my element when I was working on marketing data.

I got started in marketing when I took an interest in it when I was in college. I never took any formal classes, but I would spend time reading up on marketing and trying to understand the differences between marketing and sales. Once I realized that they were two completely different things, I started to analyze marketing data and tried to understand what it all meant.

My professional interest in marketing started when I was hired to be the sales manager of a start-up computer company and I realized that no one was doing any marketing at all. There was a full staff of sales people, and even a vice president of sales, but no one was paying any attention to marketing. Once I started to focus on marketing methods, we noticed that sales increased dramatically.

One of the hard lessons I learned from approaching a marketing manager’s position in this way is that it may be easier to bridge the gap between marketing and sales when the same manager runs both departments, but the employees in each department tend to feel alienated because you are splitting your time as a manager.

Sales can teach you hard lessons and so can marketing. One of the hardest lessons I learned outside of school was that you need to be comprehensive with your research if you want your results to mean anything. Trying to rush a marketing program through just to meet a deadline is one of the biggest mistakes a marketing manager can make.

One of the strangest things that would happen to me, on occasion, is when marketing people from some of our vendors would call and complain about the way that their products were presented in our catalogs. It was strange because they all knew me as the sales manager and had no idea that I was also doing the marketing work. They thought they were confiding in the sales manager and did not realize that they had taken their complaints straight to the marketing manager.

I was always interested in tracking the actual results and comparing them to the marketing projections. I guess you could say that I got up each day just to see how I could make the marketing more accurate.

It was always frustrating when a major sales issue with an angry customer would come up right when I was up against a deadline for getting marketing materials together. It did not happen very often, but when it did it would set us back by days.

The stressful part of being the sales and marketing manager was the sales portion of the job. The marketing part was always fun and fascinating. It is hard to beat that combination.

Even though I was working two jobs, I was only paid one salary. However, I did have the unique benefit of being a marketing manager who collected a sales commission check every month. I would say that my combined income was somewhere between $70,000 and $80,000 a year. But I earned every penny of it.

Despite working the jobs of two managers, I was still able to enjoy the occasional one-week vacation once or twice a year. If you plan things properly and learn how to delegate, you can always find time to unwind.

Once I got into the marketing portion of the job, I was glad that I had spent time studying how to use market research data in marketing plans. As marketing gets more and more specialized due to the Internet, it is increasingly more important that marketing managers spend time studying and becoming familiar with how different mediums affect target audiences. Marketing was always more of a hands-on thing for me. I am not sure what more I could have done with my education to enhance my marketing skills.

If you love studying numbers and monitoring how data affects real results, and you do not want to be a scientific research worker, then I highly recommend marketing.

I wish I have kept up with the fast changes that were affecting the marketing industry. If I could write my own ticket today, I would be an expert on helping companies maximize the Internet for their own marketing needs.

This is a true story as told to JustJobs Academy, where you can find great career advice like how to know yourself both in and out of the office, and how to come to work prepared for anything.  Visit to find more tips or a career interview in your desired field today.

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