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Spotlight Series: Melanie Martin, Global Head of Marketing, InXpress

Melanie Martin

ARTICLE SUMMARY

Today, we're shining a spotlight on Melanie Martin, Global Head of Marketing at InXpress. Melanie talks us through her tech career journey, walks us through an average working day, and shares her advice for other women in tech.

During my time at Loughborough University, I decided that I wanted to pursue a career in marketing which I’d gained a passion for.

After graduating, I joined an accountancy practice as marketing assistant, working my way up the ladder to the role of marketing & business development manager.

I’ve since worked in managerial roles for a building society, global software business and consultancy firm, responsible for both marketing and events.  

In 2016, I joined InXpress as their Global Head of Marketing, where I develop the marketing strategy and tactical activity at a global and regional level.

InXpress helps SMEs make shipping do more for their bottom line, by designing end-to-end shipping solutions through software and people-powered services.

How did you land your current role? Was it planned? 

I was working for a company which ran large government programmes designed to help SMEs grow. When the key contract was pulled overnight, most of the team were made redundant. A former colleague heard the news and called me to say the company he was working at – InXpress – needed a marketing leader and he thought I’d be a good fit. After a pretty rigorous interview process, I got the role!  

    Did you (or do you) have a role model in tech or business in general?

    I’m lucky to have had some great managers over the years and early in my career one of them really helped hone my organisational skills – which are vital in marketing. We were running large events which needed to be very well executed and slick – even though behind the scenes we were running around like headless chickens. The way she passed on her knowledge and conducted herself with our colleagues even under stress, made her a role model to me.

    What are you most proud of in your career, so far? 

    At the accountancy firm, I made what felt like a big jump from marketing executive to manager. When I got the new position, I felt the imposter syndrome monster loom over me! A colleague came into my office to congratulate me, and must have seen the doubt on my face. They told me that having worked with me, they knew I could do anything I put my mind to and was more than capable.

    This person was someone I looked up to and I still remember his words today if I have a wobble. I grew in my new role, and I’m proud of that.

    What does an average workday look like for you? 

    I mainly work from home and I’m at my desk early – although some mornings I’ll fit in a quick gym workout before work – catching up on emails before I do anything else. I have two to three Teams calls a day with colleagues and the agencies I work with, including PR, brand & design, website and franchise recruitment marketing.

    One thing I’ve started doing recently is a monthly ‘walking’ meeting with people from one of the agencies who live close to me. We have an agenda, but find it helps us be more creative when we’re in nature, and we’re getting some exercise too!

    I fast in the mornings, so by 12pm I’m ready for lunch which I have while catching up on the day’s news.  I always like to have the radio on in the background, but if I’m writing content – which I tend to do in the afternoon – I need complete peace!

    Working from home does make it harder to know when to call it a day, so I have a colleague who messages me and reminds me to switch off. Some evenings I have late calls too, as I work closely with team members in the US and Australia, and this is the only time that works across all time zones.

    Are there any specific skills or traits that you notice companies look for when you’re searching for roles in your field? 

    Being able to work well and build relationships with colleagues across a company, as marketing need to collaborate with teams across the company. Developing and executing marketing and brand strategies is another key skill and being able to analyse the success of activities.

    Has anyone ever tried to stop you from learning and developing in your professional life, or have you found employers supportive? 

    I’ve only ever been well supported. For example, when I wanted to do the Chartered Institute of Marketing’s (CIM) Professional Diploma, my employer at the time paid for me to do this and bought all the recommended reading materials for me which was not cheap!

    If anyone was going to persuade me not to do the CIM, it was my family! They are hugely supportive of my career, but at the time they were also worried that I was overstretching myself as I had so much on!

    I attend at least a couple of in-person conferences each year at InXpress and regularly attend virtual marketing seminars so that I’m continually learning and developing.

    Have you ever faced insecurities and anxieties during your career, and how did you overcome them?

    Although I’ve gained confidence over the years, speaking to large audiences ‘in-person’ has always caused me anxiety. The largest presentation I have given was at one of our conferences in the US, and it gave me some sleepless nights.

    Beforehand though I worked with a coach who gave me some great tips for controlling my nerves. He also gave me an eight of clubs playing card which I have on my noticeboard seven years later. This was to remind me that in terms of confidence the optimum level is 8/10 and to work on this.

    Entering the world of work can be daunting. Do you have any words of advice for anyone feeling overwhelmed?

    Try to remember that everyone you’re working with has also had their first day at work or with your new employer and that you won’t be the new person for long.

    If I’m feeling very overwhelmed though, I make a list of what is making me feel that way and then decide which aren’t real worries so I can cross them off. Then of those which are really playing on my mind I write down how I can overcome them.

    I’ve realised over the past couple of years how important breathing properly is, so if I’m feeling overwhelmed, I practice controlled breathing to calm the nervous system down.

    What advice would you give other women wanting to reach their career goals in technology? 

    Find good female role models you can look up to and learn from within the industry. Perhaps one of them might even mentor you – that can be game changing.

    Also try not to be too rigid about the path to your dream role. Mine has gone off in tangents I didn’t expect, but I have learnt so much from every role and each has opened other opportunities down the line.

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