Round table: marketing and communication professions
- Laëtitia Condamin (LC)
Professor at EM Normandie specialised in marketing
- Pierre Darbeaud (PD)
Marketing Manager at Peopulse, Graduate 2018
- Marion Lecamus (ML)
Product Marketing Manager at Relais et Châteaux, Graduate 2017
What does it mean to be a marketer in 2022?
LC : Marketing is about consumers/customers, i.e. people who buy products and services. In the execution part, we are interested in how to "get" this consumer and make sure we become their preferred brand.
What is the difference between marketing and communication?
LC : Communication is precisely that part of execution where we work on the form to touch the customer and above all to touch him emotionally.
Marketing is more about identifying your targets and analysing how you can reach them.
These two activities are very complementary. You have to know that marketing is not just communication.
What does your job as a marketing officer involve?
PD : Peopulse is a software publisher specialising in marketing, which is more of a niche market. We have about 40 employees. I'm the only one in the marketing department, which makes the job interesting because I do everything. I do both communication and strategy.
My days revolve around 3 main areas. First of all, awareness. This consists of making the brand known to consumers. For this, we use levers such as social networks, websites, media partnerships, etc.
The second is lead generation. We manage potential consumers to turn them into contacts that we then pass on to the sales people who will continue the sales cycle. Marketing is closely linked to the sales department. It provides support and guidance. I think you have to be interested in sales to do marketing.
The third area is more versatile. It includes all the so-called "internal" marketing, such as creating content and defining the editorial line. I also do events.
How have the communication and marketing professions evolved in recent years?
LC : For more than a decade, the introduction of digital technology has revolutionised these sectors. It has mainly impacted the form, i.e. the way in which the customer is approached. But in principle, the approach remains quite similar to what was done before.
Access to data is another important change. We have access to an enormous amount of data today that we didn't have before. We are almost overwhelmed by this data. This means that we have to make sense of it. This is probably the aspect that has changed the most in marketing in recent years.
Has data led to the emergence of new professions?
LC : Many jobs are developing around data analysis, which requires a love of numbers. For example, the job of Data Analyst, which is quite common today, is highly sought after by recruiters.
The marketer, more generally, must have this appetite for analysis, in addition to his curiosity and creativity. It's a very complete job.
As a project manager, do you do data analysis?
PD : Yes, it is almost essential today to analyse data to determine actions to be taken in the medium and long term. We use this knowledge to be as effective as possible and to turn our actions into success. Data has become an important aspect of strategy nowadays.
What is the practical use of this data?
PD : The basic data concerns, for example, the number of visits to a website, the conversions made on the site, the buttons on which users clicked the most...
It is possible to go much further by analysing a user's journey on a site through events (clicks on buttons, placing in the shopping basket, etc.). This analysis will allow us to confirm our willingness to go on such or such action.
Data also refers to the information we have on users. The possession of this personal data is becoming increasingly regulated. As an individual, this is good news because it promotes respect for privacy. As a marketer, it is still interesting to have certain data to be able to personalise and group prospects with similar profiles. Depending on the target, we can activate the most appropriate levers.
What motivated you to go into marketing?
PD : At the end of the course, I did two years of work experience. I already had an interest in commerce and sales. I started as a professional advisor at Crédit Agricole for a year. In the second year, I wanted to try out another job by joining the marketing department dedicated to the professional market.
This career path allowed me to identify the frustrations that professional advisers can have. Then, when I moved to marketing, I was able to develop the best sales tools for the advisers. Marketing is a sales support department.
All the work done is designed for the end customer. For example, during an interview with an advisor, everything is thought out so that it goes smoothly and the customer journey is as smooth as possible.
It was when I tried this job that I realised I was made for it. I really advise students to do a work-study programme to test themselves in different jobs.
LC : In the new jobs that are emerging in marketing, there is a responsibility around the customer experience and the customer journey. We are going to follow the customer from the beginning to the end of their journey to help them along the way and ensure that the experience they have is the best possible.
What skills are useful for working in marketing?
PD : I think that people skills are even more important than know-how. You have to be curious and interested in everything that happens in the sales cycle within the company. This allows you to have a global and transversal vision of what happens in the company and not be confined to well-defined tasks. In order to show the product to its best advantage, I think you have to have an interest in sales.
Do you need to have an appetite for the brand you work for?
PD : I think it's better to love the product or service you sell. On the one hand, it helps you get up in the morning because you find meaning in what you do.
Each company has its own strategy and customers. In the same sector of activity, you can have different clienteles. For example, in the hotel industry, the types of customers can be different from one establishment to another.
It is not necessary to be a brand lover but it is better.
LC : Over time, you fall in love with the brand by working on its identity and its product.
What skills are taught at EM Normandie?
LC : Many courses focus on marketing strategy, i.e. understanding how a company positions itself in its competitive environment and understanding what it can put forward to convince its consumers.
We also work a lot on operational aspects, whether it be relationship marketing, event marketing, service marketing, etc. There is a base of fundamental courses and then students choose specialities according to their skills.
When did you know you were made for this job?
PD : During my work-study period, I really appreciated the fact that marketing plays a supporting role to sales.
I found the way of working in this field natural, especially thanks to the studies I did at EM Normandie. The knowledge I gained gave me a fairly clear idea of how to do this job.
At no time did I have the impression that I was "suffering" in this profession, that I didn't feel I belonged. When I had to learn and progress on certain subjects, it remained a pleasure for me. This is an advantage in this field, which is constantly evolving against the backdrop of digital technology. I am very happy to be able to develop my knowledge base on these subjects.
The greatest pleasure in this job is to put action in place and generate transformation. Generally speaking, the salespeople are satisfied and thank you. These results must be tangible, for example saving time or money. They are generally quite grateful when you offer them tools that will improve their daily lives.
The awareness aspect is also interesting because you see the brand grow and the communities on social networks grow. It's a long-term job, but one that sometimes gives great satisfaction.
What are the most popular jobs in 2022?
LC : There is a job that has existed for a very long time and that is still popular, that of product manager. This is a sort of "company manager" for his brand or product who acts as an interface between production, communication agencies, financiers, etc. It is a function of an orchestra conductor who must coordinate all of these parties in order to finally put his product or service on the market.
There are other more specific jobs such as research manager, data analyst, community manager, event manager, etc., whether in a company or a communications agency.
Can you talk about the job of a product manager?
ML : I was a product marketing manager at Relais Châteaux and was in charge of the gift boxes and vouchers. I had to improve this range, i.e. review the packaging of the gift vouchers as well as all the contents of the boxes.
I was also working on the customer journey, both for the hotels that join the gift box service, the purchasers who offer this box to their relatives and the customers who use the box when booking their service on the Relais Châteaux website.
We were two marketing product managers, one for the gift voucher part and the other for the hotel part (sale of overnight stays). Another person managed the CRM, another the loyalty programme, another the digital activity and there was the marketing manager.
What made you decide to go into marketing?
ML : When I arrived at EM Normandie, I quickly turned to this sector. I really liked the subjects related to marketing. They aroused my curiosity about these sectors of activity.
In my third year, I also worked in a Club Med village in Corsica. This gave me field experience in the hotel industry, which I really appreciated. I then consulted the company's job board for job and internship opportunities. I found an internship as an assistant marketing manager.
I joined the hotel industry because I had known Club Med for some time. It was this third-year experience that made the link between marketing, which I already liked, and this sector of activity. I then continued my career quite naturally in this direction.
Can you tell us about your Associative Projects?
ML : During my studies at EM Normandie, I participated in the organisation of the Integration Weekend. Within this association, we were about ten people working on this project which lasted 9 months. We collaborated with the School's teams and an event agency.
This project was very enriching because we had to create everything. We had to start by analysing what the students wanted to have during the weekend while respecting the budget and constraints set by the School. We also had to make sure that the students easily understood the DNA of EM Normandie.
I really enjoyed this experience. That's why I continued with an internship in event management because I wanted to manage a project and learn to work in a team.
Can these Associative Projects give rise to vocations?
LC : Absolutely. This "project" dimension means that we will carry out something from A to Z, with the idea of convincing people and thinking about how to communicate with them.
In all association projects, there are a certain number of people interested in the fields of marketing, communication and events. There is a very dynamic side to marketing that young people in general like.
Are there any professions that students are particularly interested in?
LC : It's very varied. There is a lot of demand in the digital field: digital communication, digital marketing, digital transformation... in agencies or in-house in companies.
Graduates often start with experience in an agency before moving on to brands.
ML : I did an internship in an event agency to do a press test and present new cars to international journalists. It was a large-scale event that allowed me to work with many international service providers. The events business is very dynamic because you have a lot of projects to manage at the same time. The project deadline means that you have to meet the deadlines because you can't postpone the date of the event.
We also work a lot in teams. As I am very relational, I can totally relate to this way of working. Working in events is also very complementary to my job as a marketing product manager.
Is it true that working in an agency is a good way to learn?
ML : Completely. You have to learn to be versatile and to manage unforeseen events. These are often small structures where you are alone in marketing. You have to be resourceful and creative.
You learn the basics at the beginning and then you decide to specialise in certain areas.
What advice would you give to candidates?
LC : I advise them not to lock themselves into one job at the start, by only doing digital or event management. I advise them to try out different jobs and structures through internships and work experience.
There are many different jobs in marketing. Some will be for people who are rather curious and analyse things, others for creative people, others will like noise and agitation...
ML : I would advise doing as many internships as possible and trying out the work-study programme to get an overview of the jobs you can do.
Don't hesitate to use the School's network to talk to young graduates and professionals who have been working in their sector for a long time. By discussing the missions, the types of companies, etc., you can get a more global view and get a concrete idea of the environment.