We’re in the land of startups this week, spending a day in the life of Ann-Marie Rossiter, Head of Marketing at events marketplace HeadBox.
As usual, we’ll be finding out what it takes to succeed in this role, from skills and tools to the daily routine.
If you’d like to appear in this feature, get in touch.
Please describe your job: What do you do?
Ann-Marie Rossiter: I’m Head of Marketing at HeadBox. HeadBox is the UK’s fastest growing online marketplace for inspiring meetings, off-sites, and event Spaces where you can search, book, and pay for over 6,500 venues across the UK and Ireland.
Our other product is HeadBox Business, a technology-led Strategic Meeting Management Provider that centralises all event booking activity within an organisation across teams, territories and cost centres.
As the Head of Marketing, I am responsible for executing the HeadBox digital marketing, content, communication, PR and brand strategy as well as driving the day to day marketing operation across the UK and Europe.
Whereabouts do you sit within the organisation? Who do you report to?
AR: Our leadership team consists of the heads of sales, account management, marketing, finance and technology. We all report directly into our CEO, Andrew Needham.
What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role?
AR: My role is extremely varied as we have three different customer sets which we communicate with across a variety of digital and offline channels. We also have a variety of products which we promote to our customers, so it’s important that the marketing team collaborates closely with the other teams in the business so that we can constantly iterate and improve. Prioritisation and organisation are critical in my role in order to make sure we are focussed on delivering our targets.
HeadBox is constantly evolving and high-paced growth means that I need to strike a balance between creativity and analysis, constantly monitoring what our team delivers and acting quickly on feedback from our customers and the wider business.
Tell us about a typical working day…
AR: We have a very collaborative culture at HeadBox and my team works very closely with the different departments in the business, so a typical day often includes workshops and sessions with other teams, whether that’s a new product demo or a session with the sales team working on their pitches or sales collateral. At the start of every day I monitor the performance across various channels including Google Analytics and HubSpot to see how we are tracking against our targets and KPI’s.
We create a high volume of content across many channels whether that’s mailers, blog content or podcast copy, so my day also involves lots of brainstorming and content proofing to ensure the quality of content remains high.
What do you love about your job? What sucks?
AR: HeadBox is constantly evolving and we’re always seeking new ways to better understand our customers so that we can build products which solve their problems. My team then has to find the best ways to market those products to reach our customers. One of the best things about working at a start-up is the freedom to test a new channel or campaign quickly, assess the impact and then build on that project or change tack. I also enjoy seeing the impact my team’s work has on the business, whether that is acquiring fantastic leads for our Sales team which then leads to sales for the business or campaigns for our existing clients which contributes to our fantastic customer retention rate.
I think what makes the company extra special is the people, we are a team of intelligent, determined and ambitious people. Every person we’ve hired across the company has been an asset to the team and has moved us one step closer to becoming the number one event tech brand in the UK and Europe. Looking at my team specifically it’s been great to see us almost double in size from 2018 as we focus on launching HeadBox in major European cities such as Dublin and Amsterdam. We were a team of 24 people at the beginning of 2018 and we now have 55 members of the team which is impressive growth.
It’s a cliche but I honestly love everything about working at HeadBox., Like with every job there are days which are more challenging than others with long hours and a serious volume of work to get through, but seeing the company grow and thrive is hugely rewarding.
What kind of goals do you have? What are the most useful metrics and KPIs for measuring success?
AR: In the marketing team, we try to have one person owning each KPI per customer, from traffic to social impressions, cost per acquisition and lifetime value each member of my team works towards and tracks each KPI. We have specific key goals around growth, acquisition and retention which are communicated on an annual, quarterly and monthly basis.
What are your favourite tools to help you to get the job done?
AR: HubSpot and Airtable.
How did you end up at HeadBox, and where might you go from here?
AR: Since leaving university I’ve always worked in the technology sector and previously worked in the Commercial team at onefinestay which was acquired by Accor Hotels in 2016 for $170 million. I joined HeadBox at the very beginning when we were just a team of four, onboarding the first 1000 venues in London. Four years later, it’s a very different business!
Life after HeadBox is hard to fathom and I definitely think I’ll be in the business for many years yet. When that day does come, I’ve had a few ideas about products and services that startups like us could find useful, the beauty of being on the other side at the moment is that you can see the gaps for services and products that we wished we’d had access to!
Which campaigns or customer experiences do you admire?
AR: Two of my favourite brands at the moment are Monzo and Bulb. I love the simplicity of their branding and messaging, particularly on the Monzo app. They’ve disrupted two fairly old-school industries putting the user first which I really admire, it’s no wonder that lots of brands are trying to recreate what they’ve done.
Do you have any advice for marketers who fancy working at a startup?
AR: Be prepared to roll your sleeves up and get stuck in. There’s a lot of autonomy at a startup and often that will require you to teach yourself skills or gain knowledge on something you’ve never worked on before, so you need to be willing to embrace that kind of environment. Similarly, don’t underestimate the pace, we’re always testing and iterating campaigns across multiple channels as we’re constantly learning about what works for our audience and industry. It takes time to learn how to effectively market a new product which is disrupting a sector so it’s important not to lose focus.