Vancouver Career Spotlight is an interview-style blog series that features the amazing professionals that live and work in the Greater Vancouver area. Our vision is to showcase the many career opportunities that exist in Vancouver and provide inspiration to the future generation of workers and career changers.
Bradley Wou is the Senior Marketing Operations Specialist, Revenue Operations, at Unbounce in Vancouver. He obtained his Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Simon Fraser University.
Why did you choose this career path?
The first time I crossed paths with marketing was while volunteering for an SFU School of Communications Orientation for incoming students. This subsequently led me to volunteer with the Student Marketing Association, and it was then where I first thought marketing might be something I might want to pursue as a career. After completing 3 Co-Op terms as a Marketing Assistant (Generalist), I knew Marketing was what I wanted to do. I loved the creativity, processes, and finding new and innovative ways to improve campaigns and attract new customers. Every day is different — there are always new projects — so things are always interesting.
In the past 2 years, I have transitioned to a role that focuses more on performance analysis and tying campaigns and marketing activities back to revenue. I can’t truly say if I chose this career path or if it was more like a progression in my career, but I will say it is definitely important to try new things as you never know where it will take you. Steve Jobs had a really good quote about connecting dots in your life. You cannot connect them looking forward… but it’s very clear looking backward. And it is true about your career.
What are your main responsibilities?
My current role focuses on performance analysis and tying campaigns and marketing activities back to revenue. Some of my responsibilities include:
- Marketing operations support for the Marketing, Customer Marketing, and Partnership Marketing teams.
- Working with internal stakeholders to strategize, execute and report on marketing campaigns.
- Generating reports and insights on a variety of marketing metrics and analyzing performance.
- Working to ensure that data quality standards are kept within Pardot, and that the data being used is accurate and updated.
- Developing objective reporting frameworks to measure effectiveness towards revenue across different channels.
What are the opportunities for career growth and advancement?
I believe the onus is on oneself to grow their career and advance. To me, marketing gives you the ability to try different things, but at the same time, you must also be willing to step outside of your comfort zone and learn new skills. The marketing industry is also very fluid with the emergence of new technologies and trends. In 2011, social media and email marketing were still in their infancy, and the role of social media and digital marketing managers didn’t really exist. Fast forward to today and these roles are critical and common across every organization.
I think Marketing and Marketing Operations gives you a diverse set of skills to expand your portfolio. I started as a Marketing Assistant (Generalist) which emphasized event coordination, and a few years later, I transitioned to a Digital Marketing role. This focus led me to a role in Demand Generation, which then set me up for a Performance Analysis Manager position at TELUS where I handled commissions, performance analysis, and financial tracking for the Small Business Solutions team. Fast-forward a year, and I then transitioned to Unbounce to join the Revenue Operations team.
What kind of person would like a career in Marketing and Marketing Operations?
Marketing as a whole would be a good career for someone who enjoys organizing events, graphic design, writing and social media. You must love to learn, test, and experiment. For marketing operations specifically, you would be analytical and results-oriented, and also enjoy problem-solving, performance analysis, and coming up with creative solutions. One should also like digital/business strategy, streamlining operations and improving processes, as well as enjoy basic programming (HTML, CSS), design, and learning new best practices.
What is a common misconception people have about this career?
Generally speaking, I think there is a misconception for all people in marketing. Because the profession is so broad, I think people automatically assume that as marketers, we either manage social media, write content, or spam people with emails. The truth is while a generalist may handle and oversee many of these tasks as part of their portfolio, they are quite often handled by a separate person with each focusing on a certain aspect (ie. social media, marketing operations, web developer, or content writer). In all my roles, the only time I ever wrote copy or handled social media was in 2011/2012.
What school subjects would a person in this career typically excel in?
In high school, if you have an interest in business and computer classes, marketing may be a possible career option for you. Some high school subjects that may interest you include: Marketing, Business Administration, Financial Accounting, Information Technology, Graphic Design, and English.
In university, you will need to take the following courses in preparation for your marketing career: Marketing, Financial Accounting, Management Information Systems (MIS), Cultural Industries & Advertising, Business Technology, and Consumer Behaviour.
What type of education would you typically need to work in Marketing Operations?
Typically, you will need a university or college degree in either Communications, Business, or Marketing. If you can get general marketing experience and graphic design experience, you will have a better chance of getting hired after graduation.
I got a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from SFU with a Minor in both Business Administration (Marketing focus) and Graphic Design. During my time at SFU, I also completed 3 co-op terms as Marketing Assistant and participated in the Vancouver Board of Trade Leaders of Tomorrow Mentorship Program.
I started off as a Marketing Assistant (Generalist) during a time when there was a heavy focus on event marketing. As digital marketing evolved, I began to focus more on digital strategy which included lead generation, email marketing, advertising, and conversion rate optimization. Eventually I transitioned away from events and focused solely on Digital Marketing. It’s here where I began to expand my portfolio to include reporting and performance analysis. It is this focus that led me to a full time Performance Analysis and Strategy role with TELUS and then subsequently at Unbounce in the Revenue Operations department.
What are the best programs to get this education?
Any post-secondary education in Business, Marketing, or Communications can get you started in your career path. Red Academy, Brain Station, and BCIT also have great one-off courses. There are also plenty of courses available online through other post-secondary institutions, as well as Google (Adwords) and Salesforce (Trailhead).
What types of organizations would typically hire a Marketing Operations Specialist?
There is no limit to the industries you can work in with a marketing operations background. Companies usually look for marketing skillsets to fulfill roles in marketing, data analysis or program management.
What advice would you give to someone who is interested in pursuing this career path?
Learn as much as you can about marketing and business processes from internships and co-op positions. In high school, try job shadowing or work experience through your school’s Career Centre. If you can’t find internships early on, watch videos online and find volunteer positions.
It is very important to learn from your network, your mentors, and colleagues. Be open to asking questions and taking on new tasks. I would say 90% of the skills I use day-to-day was learnt while working. Don’t be afraid to network and meet marketing professionals for coffee. Learn about their role and how they got to the position they are in today.
If you are in a junior marketing role, try taking on new tasks to see what else within marketing you like (and don’t like). This will help you expand your portfolio and know what to look for in future opportunities.
Connect with Bradley on LinkedIn.
I hope you enjoyed this Career Spotlight interview about the marketing operations career track. Below are additional resources if you’re interested in researching this career further. Feel free to ask questions in the comments. If you’re interested in seeing if this career is right for you, send us a message here, and let’s help you find a career that aligns with your personality, interests, and goals.
More information about Marketing in BC:
WorkBC – Professional occupations in advertising, marketing and public relations (earnings, workforce statistics, related careers, etc.)
Education Programs (in the Greater Vancouver area):
Simon Fraser University (Business, Communications)
University of British Columbia
British Columbia Institute of Technology
Note: Not all post-secondary schools and training institutions are listed. To find a school in your area, you can use EducationPlannerBC.
Additional Learning Resources
Unbounce Resources | Salesforce (Trailhead)