Why you need a marketing mentor
Editorial

Why you need a marketing mentor

Getting support for your career is vital, but many aspiring and developing marketers are not making use of the experience that is already out there

Marketing employs just under a million people in the UK, and most departments are increasing in size, rather than getting smaller. The reason behind the escalating headcount in times of economic uncertainty is, arguably, pretty simple; marketing provides data and insight that the whole business needs. As such, marketers are under increased pressure to perform against business objectives. So, how can aspiring and developing marketers cope with so much responsibility and so much noise? Well, they could start by choosing a mentor.

However, this is easier said than done. Few know best practice around mentoring, even fewer know how to take those first steps in finding a mentor and just a tiny minority enter the process of being a mentee with a realistic end goal in mind, making progress frustrating rather than rewarding. So, how do you get started and how do you know when you’ve succeeded?

In its preparations for World Mentoring Day on Sunday 27 October, CIM have been speaking to industry leaders about their experiences in business, examining how the mentoring process works and how to get the most out of it.

Getting started

When we met up with Michelle Stromgren, a board member of CIM’s Greater London Region and a keen mentor, she said that doubts about finding the right mentor for you were natural but needless. Starting her own career in the profession 25 years ago, Stromgen now runs mentoring events herself. For her, the advantages far outweigh the positives. “You get a professional dedicated to driving you forward.”

Getting started is undoubtedly the hardest step, but for Stromgen, ‘you don’t know until you try’ is a good approach when it comes to choosing to be mentored.

Making it worth your while

In her interview with CIM, Think Beyond director Mercè Cozens agreed that taking the leap into this great unknown is more than worth it. Cozens is an experienced CIM mentor and advocate for the process. So, what does she say to those under her wing? And how does she know how to get the best out of them?

Well, the first rule of being mentored relates heavily to the first rule of marketing itself, Cozens explains. “Take time to set realistic expectations with your mentor from the very beginning”; in other words, make your goals realistic, both in scope and timescale, like any good marketer should. If you know what you want to achieve then you will have a greater sense of accomplishment throughout the process and undoubtedly improve your own attendance. Still, remember, mentoring is a process, and being mentored is a journey that can last throughout your career. After all, Oprah Winfrey still uses Barbara Walters for advice and tips; you never stop learning.

Understanding the process

Contrary to initial preconceptions, most sessions will take part in a public space – coffee shop, café – rather than a private room; it is important that both the mentor and mentee feel comfortable. Be mindful not to try to fit too much in, this is a process that can take as long as the two participants agree to, so there is no need to cram everything in to one session. Take your time and talk. Mentoring is, ultimately, a conversation that helps both sides.

And don’t worry if you think the challenge you’re seeking advice on doesn’t fit into the traditional scope of a mentoring discussion. You may not have a business issue to discuss, but you can discuss situational challenges you’ve faced or issues with your particular workplace that you’re looking to overcome.

So, now that you know why you should start, how to succeed and what the process will be, you only need to take the first step forward. CIM’s comprehensive mentoring schemes is designed to match aspiring and developing professionals to the experience and knowledge of a mentor that will suit them best. After all, if Bill Gates still benefits from having a mentor, what’s stopping you?

Already a member and interested in utilising the advantages of CIM’s mentoring scheme? Simply access the mentoring platform through MyCIM and follow the instructions.

Find out more about CIM’s mentoring scheme here.

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