Article by Liz Carter, Senior Vice President of Marketing at ServiceMax.
As a result of that success, I’m often asked for advice on how to scale the corporate ladder. I’d like to share some of my story and offer guidance to those in the early stages of their career as well as those that might feel stuck in their current roles.
It’s safe to say the vast majority of marketers with their eye on an executive role start their careers in product marketing or marketing communications. There’s a good reason for that. The kind of deep product expertise one gets in a product marketing role is invaluable. And of course, being a good communicator is an important executive attribute in any industry.
But no matter what department you’re in, take a moment to identify the skills you’re learning in that role and evaluate the ability of those skills to help you achieve your career goals. You may be surprised.
I started my career in events. Few would see that as a first step to the corner office, but it can be. In my events role, I helped product marketing set up and execute their presentations and demos. I assisted analyst and public relations teams in getting their messages out through the media and across the industry. I helped communications teams produce and distribute materials and build the company brand. I learned the importance of demand generation and how to tie important metrics back to each and every event. I managed some of the largest budgets in the marketing organization and had to learn quickly that with big spend comes even bigger scrutiny. And I benefitted from regular executive interaction.
This exposure to others across all disciplines was important because it taught me how to work with people from a variety of departments. I learned their objectives, their challenges, and I learned to anticipate their needs. This prepared me to run a marketing organization with diverse objectives, numerous challenges, and various teams that need my support to help ensure their success.
Inside ServiceMax, I’ve navigated my way through several positions that groomed and prepared me for my current challenge, including corporate communications where I was responsible for building the brand and creating and broadcasting the company message. This role allowed me to fine tune my communication skills, and also taught me to strategically pull multiple elements together in a way that creates a brand narrative and tells a cohesive story to the world.
And I’ll end with this: seize every opportunity. I learned early in my career that I needed to let management know when I was ready for new challenges. Waiting for things to fall into your lap will only slow your progress, so take a risk and ask for what you want. You’ll be glad you did.