Lucy Heskins is Marketing Director at video careers platform Careercake.
We caught up with Heskins who variously told us about her resilience, love of content, Hotjar and Brewdog, and advised newbies in the industry to be authentic. Quite!
Here’s what Heskins had to say…
Please describe your job: What do you do?
I’m the Marketing Director at Careercake. Careercake is a video careers platform that supports people to take on the challenges they’ll face in the first decade of their career.
We’re a startup, and anyone who’s been the first marketer in this environment will know you end up wearing many hats; it’s very different to your usual inhouse roles.
I get involved in a lot of the strategic side of things: branding, determining segments and propositions, and identifying new partners. I’m also heavily involved in aligning the sales and marketing efforts.
Whereabouts do you sit within the organisation? Who do you report to?
I report to the Founder/CEO, who created Careercake back when it was a YouTube channel. She sought investment to build out the platform and enter new markets, and from here I was appointed. We sold our house back in Exeter, and my partner and I moved to Cardiff to start this crazy journey!
What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role?
You need to be resilient, inquisitive and not afraid to go against everything you thought you knew.
You can’t rely on people knowing your brand, so you’re in a race to find those people who are looking for a new way of doing things. On the flip side, because we’re a startup we are able to make changes quickly and iterate based on feedback. This comes from being curious – talking with prospects and being comfortable with challenging the things you have seen work in previous businesses.
There’s a lot of change, so it’s important to be resilient, manage your time effectively and give yourself a break. The startup hustle culture is a negative thing: I’ve seen it first hand, with people working long hours and getting burn out. You need to know when your body is telling you you’re working too hard and learn to take a step back.
Tell us about a typical working day…
I’ll get in to work, after dropping the dog off to a friend’s house, large coffee in hand. The team will catch up, talking about highlights from the previous day and then we’ll look at the channel and campaign results for the week.
We’ve got a few campaigns running at the moment, so I will talk with L&D Managers and People Managers to understand if our current download campaign is resonating. In the afternoon I will manage the creative for an event we are running, working with our designer to ensure the brand is represented effectively. On and off I will be checking the tests we are running on HotJar looking at how users are interacting with a new sign up process or video series.
What do you love about your job? What sucks?
I’m a content marketer at heart; there’s nothing I love more than working out how to connect the proposition with a fully realised content and lead nurturing campaign.
I think there is a natural propensity for marketers to second guess themselves – we have a tough gig with some of us trying to get buy in for a new idea etc. Sometimes you feel like you have to work twice as hard. This feeling can be exacerbated on days where the growth isn’t as quick as you’d hoped.
What kind of goals do you have? What are the most useful metrics and KPIs for measuring success?
I keep an eye on the number of qualified leads that are coming through as well as the outcomes of customer conversations we are having. I know it’s a cliche but I really value quantity over quality. We don’t have time for vanity metrics.
We also need to keep on top of engagement in the platform from the users’ perspective – what’s being watched, which playlists are being created and how people are interacting. The day they stop watching our content and it doesn’t help them to progress we’ve got an issue!
What are your favourite tools to help you to get the job done?
Hubspot and HotJar without a doubt. The automation and insights are what keeps us competitive.
From a learning perspective, the podcast Everyone Hates Marketers by Louis Grenier is great as he really pushes the guests to share actionable tips. I also love the SaaS marketing advice from Forget the Funnel.
How did you end up at Careercake, and where might you go from here?
My background as always been in marketing working for tech businesses. Before Careercake, I was Group Marketing Manager for an online recruiter/ATS provider. The business had a high profile investor which naturally led to opportunities for me I never thought I’d get involved in – one of which was meeting Aimee Bateman, the founder of Careercake.
Call me crazy, but I love working in startup environments. The idea of working with founders to help understand what we need to go to market is what really interests me. After Careercake I think it’s going to be working in another startup (I hope!)
Which marketing/experience has impressed you lately?
BrewDog. I love a disrupter story, and the brand and it works both from a national and local perspective, is amazing. I admire the way they continue to innovate, whether that’s through new product lines, events at their AGMs or when their bars collaborate with local brewers. Yes, they sometimes get it wrong but I’m still an avid supporter (and consumer).
What advice would you give a marketer starting out?
If you are afraid to talk to customers, it might not be the career for you. I find the most effective marketers talk with prospects and customers to really unearth what it is that makes them buy a specific brand.
Also, and I learned this quite early in my career is: be authentic. It is really hard trying to be someone else.