Ask the expert - Hybrid marketers: What does it take? Part 3/5

The CIM’s ‘Rise of the Hybrid Marketer’ speaker event was a sell-out and a huge success. It was a great opportunity to hear from a number of experienced marketers about their career and gain some insightful advice on navigating the professional landscape.

As part of our ‘Ask the expert’ series, we spoke to panellist Paul Barrett about his career and what he thinks it takes to be a hybrid marketer.

Paul Barrett, Head of Marketing and Communications at Royal Armouries, has a fantastic career in both the B2C and B2B markets. Paul has primarily focused on promoting experiences and activities for a wide range of audiences and has worked at Visit Britain, the University of Leeds and recently joined the Yorkshire Collaborative Academy Trust as a Trustee.

How did you start your career in marketing?

I previously worked in the IT sector where there were some elements of marketing in my roles and focused heavily on sales. I then officially became a marketer heading up the Sales and Marketing of Visit Britain where I progressed to Senior Marketing Manager.

Take us through your career journey, how did you become such a marketing advocate?

I grew up with entrepreneurial parents, so I’d always seen and understood the value of marketing, and that it’s a part of so many roles that often people don’t even realise they are doing it.

I did English and Politics at University and always felt I’d work in a communications role, and that’s what my first position within Visit Britain was; a sales and marketing role. However, in an organisation like that, everyone is involved in marketing, whether operationally, strategically or both.

As I moved through roles, I was fortunate enough to gain experience across both. I left Visit Britain to work in regional development and then worked at the University of Leeds, which was primarily B2B rather than B2C marketing, which opened my eyes up to the different approaches and measures of success required in those roles.

 Today at the Royal Armouries I cover both B2B and B2C, primarily we need to market effectively to attract visitors every single day, but we also need to tell a compelling story to local, regional and national partners, funders, government and stakeholders.

I always like to craft a message, so it looks, feels and sounds right, but increasingly it’s the ever more diverse and focused ways you can reach an audience which interests me.

What does a hybrid marketer mean to you?

A hybrid marketer to me is about being able to combine strategic and operational elements. Being able to see the big picture but also developing practical skills which allow you to take advantage of the channel technology makes available now, to be able to interrogate ROI of such activity effectively, to appreciate that such technology means being ultra-responsive and to be able to finesse and tweak your campaigns quickly.

In my area of specialism, which is effectively marketing of destinations, I think it helps to have a wide range of interests, to not just be a technically trained marketer. We don’t market a product; we market places and experiences which audiences feel passionate about and feel they own as much as we do. There’s a responsibility attached to that, and a sensitivity and awareness required to do it well.

What skills are required by the next generation of marketers considering there is such a constant change?

Clearly, digital skills are fundamental, as those marketing channels are so important now. But being able to conduct market research, construct a plan, sell that plan across your organisation and deliver it to an audience remains as important as ever, regardless of channels deployed.

Attention to detail is vital, as is an eye for visuals and an ear for language. Behind all this though, and as I’ve touched on above is having a wide range of interests, so you are being influenced and picking up ideas from across the spectrum, and then to be flexible in approach and always interested in what your results, both positive and negative, are telling you.

What advice would you give to a fresh marketer?

To be as hands-on as possible. Don’t think any task is beneath you and deliver them all with the highest level of care you can.

A great campaign can be undermined by a single careless communication nowadays, it all counts. While you’re mastering the operational skills, ask questions, don’t just deliver the part of the marketing plan or strategy assigned to you, really read it, understand why this is the approach and how you contribute to it.

Be proactive in reporting, don’t wait to be asked every time, and ask questions! I’ve yet to meet anyone in marketing who didn’t like talking about what they did and how.

More on this series

Check out our blog if you’d like to find out more about becoming a hybrid marketer or follow us on LinkedIn to get a first look at our next Ask the expert.

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