How to get ahead in marketing: top tips from a CIM Fellow

Written by Kaia Vincent
Connect with Kaia on LinkedIn –

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

“Life is a marathon, not a sprint. Don’t be in so much of a hurry.”

“Sleep for 8 hours, work for 8 hours, play for 8 hours.”

“Dance like no one is watching. Because they’re not. They’re checking their phones.”

“Marry someone who has a different favourite cereal than you do, so they won’t eat all of yours.”

When it comes to day to day advice, everyone’s got some golden kernel of wisdom to share –  and when it relates to the minutiae of life it doesn’t always matter whether it came from Auntie Dawn or Gandhi. But when it comes to advice on specialist topics – stuff like your forthcoming wisdom tooth surgery, renting or buying your first home, or how to get ahead in marketing – you want to know your source of information is stamped with a seal of approval!

Brevity’s Marketing Director, Kaia Vincent FCIM, was awarded a Fellowship by the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) in 2018; the main professional association and leading training and qualification provider for marketers in the UK.

The CIM Fellowship is the highest-ranking member level and Kaia has been selected in recognition of her senior and strategic level of experience.

So, if you’re looking for advice on how to further your marketing career, take this advice from a lady who’s been there, done that and got the t-shirt (or should we say cape because she is a Fellow now, after all) …

Start somewhere, but just start

Since achieving marketing qualifications at college or university, you may have set your sights on the top marketing position at Apple or another major brand you admire. Whilst it’s fantastic to aim high, you’ll need to earn your stripes with lots of varied marketing experience to get there.

Kaia’s first marketing role was an editor of market analysis reports for the drinks industry; reports that have been instrumental to some of the key drinks trends of today such as alcopops, bottled water and energy drinks like Red Bull. It was the first step on a journey that has led to her being Director of her own marketing agency in Basingstoke today.

Ask around

Fresh out of education and want to get your foot in the door? Think of everyone you know and where they work. Chances are, a lot of those places have a marketing department. Use your friends, family and neighbours to find out the name of the hiring manager at those companies, send them your CV and a stand-out cover letter or contact them via LinkedIn and set up a meeting. Make yourself memorable with your proactive approach because even if they don’t have a job right now, they might do soon – and they’ll know who to call. Why not ask if you can do some work experience or intern there in the meantime, to kick-start your CV?

Already working for a great company but dreaming about moving into their marketing team? Kaia progressed into marketing when the business she worked for opened a corporate marketing department.  Taking the initiative to start her CIM studies, the company saw Kaia’s enthusiasm and potential and even financially supported her through her studies, which ended in her achieving a CIM Post-Graduate Diploma.

Keep your eye out for marketing jobs at your workplace and have a chat with someone in your HR team about ways you could move into the marketing department.

Network, network, network

“It’s not just what you know, it’s who you know” – right? Attend industry events, read the top blogs in your sector, follow the key thinkers on social media – find as many ways as you can to become an expert in your profession – and get yourself known among future bosses, colleagues-to-be, and potential clients at the same time.

You never know who you might meet! One conference Kaia attended on behalf of a company saw her team being held at gunpoint by Government security in Prague – it turned out Margaret Thatcher, George Bush and Michael Gorbachev were also staying in the same hotel, attending the 10-year celebrations of the Berlin Wall coming down.

Local police thought they were part of a terror plot – rather than organisers of a soft drinks conference where the only danger was ensuring both Coca-Cola and Pepsi were happy with the positions of their product displays.

It’s ok to switch industries

Early on in their career, many people make the mistake of thinking they need to pick an industry to work in and stay there – forever. Lots of marketers happily do this, honing their experience in a niche area such as tech, fashion, or food. But that’s not the only valid route to success. Just as many marketing pros reach the top of their field by collating a valuable patchwork of experience that spans sectors and channels. Mapping a campaign technique that’s worked well in one industry onto a different one entirely can produce something entirely fresh and original – and that’s something bosses and are always seeking.

Since leaving the drinks industry behind, Kaia has worked in industries as diverse as IT, horse shampoo, and seismic solutions that measure earthquakes across the globe; testing her skills as a marketer to the limit and providing the limber creative spirit needed to run a successful agency that works with many different types of clients.

Adventurous, balanced and real – Brevity Marketing is marketing agency based in Basing View, offering affordable monthly marketing services to SMEs. For more information call 01256 536 000, email or follow Brevity Marketing on LinkedIn.