Behind-The-Scenes: What Is Lifecycle Marketing?

In this short series, we help you get some honest, behind-the-scenes details about what different jobs are really like from mid-career professionals across a variety of functions, industries, and companies.

The 6 short questions are based on our What Does This Job Entail framework and are a great way to gain quick insights about a job, and build an in-depth analysis for to prepare your resume, cover letter, or interview preparation. Let's dig in and learn some more about the job function above. 



What's your name?

Kushaan Shah

What's your title or function?

Lifecycle Marketing

What industry do you work in?

Technology

What led you to this career path?

I was the poster child of indecision in college. Went through ten different majors and considered everything from pre-law to a clinical psychology doctorate. I knew a few things: I liked working with people, loved trying to understand human quirks, and loved creative writing growing up. Despite my instincts, I took a nice job in consulting. Marketing came on my radar well after college when shock humor for brands (i.e. Wendys, Whataburger) became more popular. I wrote a little bit about why I found brand humor funny and enjoyed this new zeitgeist of brand humanization. After a few years, I wasn't super happy in my consulting role and the tipping point came one day when a friend and I were writing haikus out of inanimate objects and he mentioned I had a gift for finding the "beauty in the mundane", prompting me to consider marketing or advertising. As I thought more to his comment, I realized marketing was the perfect intersection of what always excited me: collaboration, creative writing, and understanding human quirks. I thought back to how excited I got reading and writing about the industry and decided to dive in! (I kept one haiku from that day as a memory: it was about butter.)

When you started in this job function where did you need to get up to speed?

Biggest thing was just understanding the team's goals and how everyone worked. My favorite thing to do when starting a new role is just to start an empty Google Doc with as many questions as I can think of. As a spark, I look over meeting notes, OKRs, decks and just start noticing patterns. Focus areas for different teams, general cadence of meetings, who does what, working styles etc. Outside of questions, I also needed to get up to speed on my relationship with my own manager. Little things like communication preferences, 1:1 expectations, what info they need etc. One of my favorite questions is: "What have you found memorable about people who have reported to you in the past?" It's an open-ended q to understand how your manager celebrates success and may give you quick tips on working with them. Lastly, I like asking people what they see as the biggest opportunity for my role. Not everyone will have 2c but the people that do might give you some gems!

When you started in this job function where did you hit the ground running?

One of the cool parts about lots of marketing functions like lifecycle is that despite the goals, team, and tech stack of a company changing, a lot of the skills you need are consistent. Email marketing, for example, is a huge part of my job. I knew what the different elements of email marketing (i.e. creative, list creation, personalization, campaign development) were and it was much easier to ask questions from that lens. "How does list management work here? We did x at my last company" gives people a lot more added context on what you know. I also found self-sufficient skills helpful. Learning SQL, for example, helped me hit the ground running to be able to see some quick data early on.

What does your day-to-day work look like?

A typical lifecycle marketer's goal is to try and find what users value at different points in their life or journey after they start using a product or service. Marketing could look very different when someone joins and is looking to learn vs. when they are power users or even less active users. On a day-to-day basis, my role could involve running numbers or dashboard analysis (to figure out what user behavior looks like in certain conditions), some campaign or experimentation strategy, working with copy or creative to create new marketing assets, planning, and forecasting, and lots of meetings with different teams (product, brand, consumer insights) to learn more about different ways they're addressing the same questions on improving the life of a user. I love this role because it's such a swiss-army knife role in marketing - you get to use your left and right brain every day.

What are some of the challenges that you run into in your role?

A lot of the challenges usually stem around the fact that there are so many things to work on, but limited resources. An average product user has so many things they need at a given time, but we have to figure out what is the highest leverage value-add for them. This involves some heavy prioritization and sometimes cutting fun ideas. In addition, working with data can be challenging. Sometimes, the data can mask the reality and you have to always look at it with a thoughtful eye.

What types of questions are you asking regularly in your role?

Determining the impact of what we do is essential. This involves some important questions: How many people will this reach? How complex and time-demanding is it? How will we know if it's successful? What is the message we want people to take away? Some of the best marketing campaigns you see in the wild are products of this deliberation, many people having asked the right questions.

What's your favorite piece of career advice you've received?

A great quote from Molly Graham (Former COO of Quip) that has stuck with me: “The number 1 thing I’ve learned is that it is actually an extraordinarily powerful skill to ask the “stupid” questions that everyone else is afraid to ask. You create clarity in places where people didn’t even know there was confusion. There is power in being a professional moron.” It's a great reminder that we all interpret things differently and also makes you so much alert as you're getting new information in your career.





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