Episode 4 of our brand new podcast, Take Flight, is out! In this episode, we’re chatting to 3 exceptional women from the Spitfire team, who are shaping the marketing industry.
Being a woman in an industry that was once male dominated is refreshing to say the least. The world of marketing is fast-paced, challenging, and competitive, so, in support of our phenomenal females at Spitfire, our Women in Marketing series aims to celebrate their accomplishments and get their thoughts on what it means to be a woman in the marketing field.
Our Finance and Operations Manager, Tumi, comes from an IT and Physical Security background. Tumi understands the digital space well, as she’s worked in areas like project management and operations.
Being a woman in marketing, to me, it means having a voice. It means having the courage to own who you are most of the time, and also understanding the importance of gender equality- Tumi
Marlene has been in the marketing field for 9 years now and she is one of our Strategic Inbound Advisors. Marlene is an extremely data driven individual and inbound Marketing was part of her core.
Women possess values such as, more concern, more empathetic and more collaborative traits. And that is what's required in any successful business. So for me, it's all about bringing all of those characteristics and traits into the environment where we work.- Marlene
Another one of our Inbound Success associates at Spitfire, Sim, assists the Inbound Marketing Strategists with marketing, implementation, and project management. With regards to inbound marketing, Sim loves being able to create relevant content for clients and enjoys the different tools and strategies she can use.
Being a woman in marketing means allowing women to be creative as much as they can and create relevance within the industry and break old protocols. -Sim
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Do better, Be better! Welcome to Spitfire's Podcast, Take Flight. We're your hosts Chaz and Motso, Inbound Marketing Specialists at Spitfire Inbound.
In today's episode, we launch our Women in Marketing series. We'll be asking some compelling questions to our team members, Tumi, Sim and Marlene. We want to hear from them what it means to be a woman in marketing and more specifically, what being a woman at Spitfire means, as it is an important part of our culture.
Coming from an IT Physical Security based background, Tumi understands the digital space and has worked in areas like operations and project management. Now Tumi is the Finance and Operations Manager at Spitfire, and is excited to help build effective and successful management processes and principles.
As an Inbound Success Associate at Spitfire, Sim assists the Inbound Marketing Strategists with marketing, implementation, and project management, for our clients through HubSpot. When it comes to the world of inbound marketing, she loves being able to create relevant content for clients and enjoys the different tools and strategies she can use.
Encompassing, both lead generation and niche marketing experience. Marlene, one of our Strategic Inbound Advisors, is an extremely data driven individual. Inbound Marketing forms part of her core, as is her interest in the ever evolving technological world.
Cool. Now that the introductions are done...
Ah, thank you so much for being with us today, for our first Women in Marketing segment. We're so, so excited to be chatting with you guys, finding out a little bit more about you and what it means to be a woman in marketing. So, I'm going to kick off with Tumi, our fearless leader, a fabulous financial leader. I wanted to ask you, what does being a woman in marketing mean to you?
Being a woman in marketing, to me, it means having a voice. It means, having the courage to own who you are, most of the time, and also understanding the importance of gender equality. Looking back in history, men were mostly leaders in marketing, but now most companies are aware that it's important to have women there. And research has proven that women are more compatible than men. So I'm not shading any men, but giving women a voice physically and just taking up space as a woman and leading autonomously.
I love that. I love that. Have any of you guys watched Madmen? So it's a series you should watch it; it’s super fun. But what Tumi was saying with men originally being, you know, the leaders in marketing that whole series is about that. It's just so hectic, especially working at a company where the majority of us are female. It is, it's like so backwards to watch, but not really backwards because we're forwards, if that makes sense? Marlene, I know that you've been working in marketing for a while as well. What does being a woman in marketing mean to you?
Yeah, so I've been working within marketing for about nine years now. And you know, like Tumi said before, the marketing world has been predominantly, male dominated, but the female representation within marketing is currently at an all time high. I read an article the other day that 47% of top marketer positions are now female. So, which is like a 2% growth from the previous year. And it's continuing to grow as we speak. Yes, interesting stats, but I feel it directly speaks to the positive characteristics and attributes that are needed within marketing, which can be provided by females. Like, in general, women possess values, more concern, empathetic, and collaborative traits. And that is what's required in any successful business. Yeah, so for me, it's all about bringing all of those characteristics and traits into the environment where we’re working.
I love that. No, I was specifically thinking that's involved, completely.
Sim, what about you? What does being a woman in marketing mean for you?
Being a woman in marketing means, for me, allowing women to be creative as much as they can and to create relevancy within the industry; break old protocols. Cause I believe some marketing places have set standards and those standards were set by men. So being women in the marketing industry means breaking the barriers, creating new content, creating new rules, actually,, and challenging the other gender also.
It’s like bringing in a new perspective.
I think women do bring in a different perspective, because if in most cases, especially like in big marketing settings, most men, they would make decisions of their ego, especially in a corporate setting. The women are more empathetic and understanding. So I think in most cases having a blend of the two really gives a really thought-through decision-making process. So I think it's very important to have women in those levels, in any company for that matter.
I almost forgot for a second there like Motso, yes, you are the only man standing so thank you for bringing your insights.
Oh, that's cool. So, well guys, what about you Chaz? Since we're on this question, like what does that mean for you?
I don't even know. I completely agree with everyone. I am for the first time, and I think I might've mentioned it in episode one when we were speaking about culture, but it definitely directs to being a woman in any industry, but then specifically in marketing. I mean, (excuse me) at my one job I was doing a lot of work and I definitely deserved to get an increase money-wise because of the work that I was doing and the good work that I was doing. And when I was asking for an increase, the said boss, who was male, kind of turned around and said, “Well, my girlfriend does the same, is in the same position as you at a completely different company, and she earns the same as you,” and I just sat there.
And I was like, you know,”First of all, we're not working at the same company. You're working at the company that I'm working at and you 100% know that the work that I do is on a completely different level than the work that she may be doing”. And then second of all, if I was a man sitting in front of this guy saying exactly the same thing, would you have that answer back to me? You know? And that was one of the first times I was just like, this is so hectic and I’m going to Spitfire. And as I mentioned previously, we have gotten more women working in our staff. And I feel like that doesn't come up, you know, we're all spoken to and we're all treated on the same level. And just because we are female or male, there is no difference.
We are the same. And that's what's kind of…. working as a woman in marketing somewhere you're not valued and you are put down because of perceptions and because you are female was really difficult. And now that I'm in a different environment, I feel like I'm not feeling like that anymore. So it's an important position to have, and especially if it's facilitated right, but enough about me. For anyone, now that I mentioned working at Spitfire and the significance of being a woman at Spitfire how does our company culture influence that? I mean, I touched on it a little bit, but specifically being a woman in Spitfire, how do you think our culture that we have facilitates being able to be a strong woman and being able to be a strong woman in our industry for anyone?
For me, we are a transformational business, like for instance, in this meeting, it's women in marketing and it's me, Chaz and Marlene. So the business understands and supports gender equality. And it also promotes leadership diversity. If you look at it, our leadership team, it's mainly women. And for me that is amazing because our business is highly aware, and it does foster gender equality in an absolute amazing way of supporting us today. We also have mentors, we are assigned HubSpot mentors. We've got coaches and not only looking at it from a woman's perspective as well, I'm also being coached by Darren. And he doesn't have that male ego to say, “No, you are a woman, I won't do this”. But we do have support. And I believe that is one of the most significant things, I would say. It's very important to me as being part of the team. And I would say that we carry out that very well.
I love that. I mean, like I said, it's very evident to me how our culture influences that. Has anybody else had any prior experiences where they were versus Spitfire culture and how we move forward?
I once worked for this advertising agency and the boss was male. And so was the manager, so basically the management was males and it so happened that in so many instances they questioned whatever I did; they questioned my work and it seemed as if whatever I say doesn't matter. And that really does hurt and affects your work when you are not given the platform to showcase the skills that you've got. And I can proudly say that at Spitfire that is allowed; you are embraced as a woman; your thoughts are not just trampled on as if they don't matter; your opinion matters. Yeah, you are treated with value. The sort of energy that you bring to the company, you're treated like it. And it's not a matter of “Ugh, you're just here to work; whatever you say, it doesn't matter”.
I love that.
Throughout my employment I've always worked for “The man”. I can't say that I have experienced negative things from any of the males that I have been working with. I mean, I was fortunate enough not to have experienced any sexism. So I think it very much depends on the person as well and the culture that they want to instill within that environment.
No, that's amazing to hear. I love that for you.
You just reminded me. I also worked for a male dominated company at first before I joined Spitfire. And I remember in my interview, one of the bosses asked me, “So this is a company that is male dominated. How are you going to handle that?” And I was like, I need a job, I need a job, I'll deal with that later. At some point, yeah. Like it didn't feel awkward. The team was good and loving and everything else, but when the pressure was too much, now I was being treated like a man. Like we used to, you know, we used to do shipments. We used to do work on behalf of UN to do shipments out of South Africa and you'd have to go literally pack the stuff. And I'm like, “No!” But yeah, I also never experienced any sexism.
But I mean, that is sexism though, right? Like, because what do they mean by that? Like how are you going to handle it? Are they trying to imply that, you know, if there's stress or like that you're going to break out into an emotional being or, if you need to carry something, like you're not strong enough to do that?
Yeah. From where I'm sitting and from that interview, I think they meant from an emotional perspective, you know how men are... like they are just not emotional beings, but with girls, we are so emotional. If you shout at me, I want to break down. If you do this, I want to break down. So I think it was from that direction, but not, well however they meant it...
I didn't break.
That's good. Well done Tumi. Yeah. I'm proud of you but they were very unfair about saying that. Which is interesting right? And that's why we're having these conversations.I actually just wanted to go back to Marlene, being in a space where you have been valued and you have been treated well, from a Spitfire point of view, how do you feel Spitfire fosters a culture of inclusion in general?
So I think one of the key things that Tumi mentioned earlier is the fact that we are provided with mentors and coaches. So which helps you from a day to day management perspective up until like a career growth plan that we have. And then obviously also our Culture Coders. So shout out to our Culture Coders, so they definitely focus on captivating and translating the culture that the company wants to have and portray out there and making sure that the team activities and, you know, the things that we do together, that we actually all have an opinion about what it is that we want to do. And that we're not all forced into partaking in a ruthless game of 30 seconds, which can be highly competitive, you know.
Okay, that's actually good, good. And the other question that I wanted to ask, I wanted to direct this to you, Sim specifically, knowing that you recently graduated, congrats. And on that note, like what advice would you give to young women who'd like to pursue a career specifically in marketing?
What I basically say is that if you enjoy it, go for it. If you find your happiness in it, go for it. Have a learning spirit. Don't be scared. Don’t...just get to think out of the box or be creative. Basically shoot your shot. Studying marketing is, I wouldn't say it's easy or challenging, but it's a bit of both and if you don't enjoy it, you won't really enjoy studying marketing. But if you do enjoy it, then obviously you break barriers and everything. And, yeah, it's...I'd say if you enjoyed it, go for it.
What if, for instance, I’m someone who's never worked in marketing and if I'm someone who's like still in high school, how would they know if they would enjoy it? Should they speak to a coach or should they, I don't know, what do you think they should probably start doing if they've never been in that space before?
Okay, giving an example of how I got to study marketing. Well, while I was still in high school, I enjoyed writing. I enjoyed seeing adverts on TV and also your billboards, and asking how did these people get here. So I think that sparked something in me. So, with those who maybe are looking for that spark, maybe they should consider analyzing what it is that they're interested in. Like those small things of writing pieces, reading blogs, creating their own social media content and all those small things, those small things will eventually materialize into something that you maybe think you are good at. And maybe you consider being part of the marketing industry.
And what about you, Marlene? Do you have any advice for young women?
Yes. So I think from high school where you really start getting into your interests, it's obviously the subjects that you choose, right? And there's this constant debate whether the sales and marketing should be aligned. And many people are under the impression that they aren't supposed to go hand in hand, but obviously you guys know about 'smarketing' meetings, which is an inbound term, which brings both of those areas together and transforms businesses. But what I want to say is because I'm very business orientated I chose to go into marketing. And one of the key things was like, you have the opportunity to go into graphic design, advertising, SEO. You can really specialize because we’re referring to marketing, right? But it's extremely broad. It's very broad. And what's cool about marketing is that there's never a dull day. Yes. Enough said, but yes, marketing really gives you a platform where you can do something new each day. Obviously, of course, if you're a generalist, but the key thing is that you can specialize if you really grow to love something. So I would say just decide what it is that you would want to pursue, and then, yeah, go for it.
Um, I am a woman in marketing, but if I was hearing this, I would totally go for marketing.
Smashed it. Um, no, I also, I, myself kind of started off not knowing at all what I wanted to do, at all. But for me it was (could we put this on explicit?) like the boss b*tch energy of (it's always difficult to speak about when you can't really say anybody else's names), but there was a specific woman that I saw. She was a marketing manager and she was just cool, like smashing out all of these big events. Obviously that's another side of marketing and she was just doing it with ease. And, you know, she was also completely authentic in the fact that she was a woman and that she was in kind of a man's world and when people would speak down to her or try and challenge her because she was a woman, she'd literally stopped them in their tracks and kind of be like, “I hear where you're going with this, but I am the boss and you will do what I'm saying.”
And then by the end of it, it was this amazing event that was super successful and everyone kind of had their tails in between their legs. And I saw that when I was like 19, 20, and I just thought to myself, “I want that kind of strength. I want that kind of confidence.” And then it just so happened that she was in our industry as well. So, that was kind of like the advice as well. Yes. Go for it. Yes. Obviously be interested in it. But also look to other women that are in that industry as well, like we are and where we're doing the podcast so that you can kind of just get inspiration that, you know, you can go for it. Anything that you want to do, you can go for, but specifically this industry, even though it may, you may have your niggles and you may see, you know, your biases and stuff. But yeah, again, to close off, Tumi, seeing as you started, what is your key tip for other organizations when it comes to women in marketing, noting everything that we've said and how we know Spitfire treats us and looks after us, what should companies consider to do or not to do?
I would say be gentle, gentle to the ladies, support them from behind the scenes. Obviously we know when we go into a business or a company, we know that there's an hierarchy or if not, however the business structure is, but I would highly recommend supporting from behind the scenes and let the women lead autonomously and trust that they've got the business’ back; trust that they won't let you down and they will definitely show up. So with that in return, trust that business will be able to scale with whoever you put in charge then. And again, it goes back to understanding the value of gender equality.
Yeah. Yes. Whoever you put there, trust, trust in your employees, love that.
Um, yay. It's always, we were speaking about it in the last podcast, it's always awkward to end off because we got to just sit down and be like, okay, well guys, thank you so much for coming, but honestly, thank you so, so much for joining us today. Any last little nuggets of knowledge or thoughts that you guys have before we end off?
Yeah, I think it's just important for other companies and organizations to remember that it's important to invest in people who show potential and people who are truly willing and want to learn and grow. Because if people feel valued they'll obviously return the same impact and passion towards that business. And then obviously to foster a safe environment where people feel trusted, valued, and you know, it's a safe space to grow.
I love that. It's like a happy wife, happy life, but a happy employee, exactly.
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Darren will carry on with our Women in Marketing series in our next episode by interviewing some amazing women who are industry leaders in the marketing industry. We'll be announcing these guests on our social media running up to the airing of this episode so keep an eye out at Spitfire Inbound.
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