Get to know Philip Martin, Managing Director of DMA Partners with this short Q&A….
1) So how did you get into marketing? Tell us a bit about your journey to get to the position you are in today?
I first started as a software developer, so getting into marketing wasn’t something I set as a career goal. However, my career path somehow guided me towards marketing. From developer I moved to a product definition role. This focuses on what users look for when using an online product and basically writes product specifications and use cases ready for coding. I really enjoyed the exposure to clients, listening to their problems and seeing what we could do to help them. My next move was to Product Manager for a global travel technology company. This involved lots of travel, working closely with different clients and exposure to lots of different industries. It was fantastic exposure to understanding client objectives. All of this naturally led to a marketing role.
I’ve now been Managing Partner at DMA Partners for 5 years and it’s been brilliant. I love the interaction with lots of different clients in different industries and it’s a real kick to see that our work has a positive business impact. Great creativity and smart comms execution are vital in today’s world to stand out and compete.
2) How has marketing changed over your career?
Definitely it’s been the move to digital. The internet has revolutionised marketing. When I first started, communicating was done by telephone, email and face-to-face. Campaigns were done in print or at trade fairs and company-led corporate events. For years I lived out of a suitcase as travel was essential for effective marketing. I don’t miss all of the travel although I’ve got to admit that some travel would be wonderful post-Covid!
3) 2020 was a tricky year for everyone. Moving forward into 2021, what are your three top tips to guide brands through the year?
One - if travel bans are lifted everyone will want to meet in person, so I think events will come back with a bang. There will be a rush of people wanting to get out and do the things they haven’t been able to do and I think most marketing and sales professionals want to get out and meet people. Some industries simply do better at events because of the nature of their product.
Two – diversify your clients and industries. 2020 has made it clear that you need to diversify so you can make sure that if one of your industries goes through a difficult time then you won’t be hit too hard. Your product or service could also fit another industry, so it’s important to be open to transferring your service/product/skills to another industry.
Three – look at sustainability, the environment and pro-bono work. Companies can look to support organisations that are helping others and just spend a little bit of time to help people for free. Pro-bono work is very rewarding as you’re not asking for anything in return - other than hoping your work helps. If we can help companies or individuals during this time it’s in all of our interest.
4) Outside the office, you’ve been learning stand-up comedy and theatre. Has it taught you anything that you’ve transferred into your career?
It’s reaffirmed how important it is to think about your audience. Making someone laugh is the hardest thing to do. You can do it with your friends and people you know, (sometimes they’re just being polite!), but with someone who is a complete stranger in the audience it’s much harder. You have to understand the people in your audience and make your content smart and creative. You have to make fun of yourself and use your own personality traits to your best advantage. That’s the same as personalising your marketing for different target audiences. They’re not all the same and all have their own slightly different characteristics and nuances. Good marketing and communication recognises that.
5) And finally, what is one marketing book that everyone should read?
It’s not a marketing book as such, but it’s a favourite of mine called Find Your Element by Ken Robinson and Lou Aronica. If I had read this book before going into my career, I think it may have completely changed some decisions I made. I really recommend it.