Nothing's a Miracle in Marketing
Posted: September 30, 2008 | 10:55 ET
Max Tremblay: Vice President of Marketing Ė Workopolis.com
As Vice-President of Marketing, Max Tremblay is responsible for building the long-term candidate and employer engagement strategy for Workopolis, which means making Workopolis the first choice for both job seekers and the employers who need them.
Max has vast experience in building brands, having held executive and brand management positions with companies including Disney, Heinz, Campbellís, EA Sports and Bell Canada. Max holds a Bachelor of Commerce from McGill University in Montrťal.
Media Central: Was your career path planned? Did you expect to be where you are today?
Max Tremblay: My career was somewhat planned because I knew I wanted to go into marketing and finance, math or acting. I excelled at all three and after I graduated with a Bachelors of Commerce from McGill I started my first job was with Campbellís Soup Canada in Toronto. Initially I thought I was going to stay in Toronto for 2 years and then return to Montrťal. Eighteen years later Iím still in Toronto and Iíve fallen in love with the city.
Toronto is the hub of all key marketing activity in Canada. A lot of public relations, advertising and marketing agencies, manufacturers, as well as head offices are based in this city. This means there are plenty of opportunities for marketers and business people in general.
MC: Who was the first big influence on your marketing career and why?
MT: My first boss at Campbellís Soup, Heather Hewitt, had a big influence on my career. She was a tremendous manager who demonstrated passion for both business and marketing. I admired how hard she worked and how she interacted with different people. Nothingís a miracle in marketing so working hard is definitely the key to being successful.
As a marketer, aside from the President of the company, you should express the most enthusiasm about the brand, the product or any work that you do because if you are not excited or passionate then who else is going to be?
MC: What item do you keep on your desk or in your office that reflects your personality or marketing philosophy?
MT: I have two mementos that I keep in my office. The first are old marketing plans from companies Iíve worked for that reminds me of the hard work needed to execute them. The second is a literary award called the Silver Bear. The latter was awarded to me by previous employer, Heinz, for being the hardest working marketer who delivered great results. It reminds me of the passion and hard work that has made a lot of people in marketing successful.
MC: What recent developments are having the most significant impact on the practice of marketing today?
MT: I have to say the emergence of online marketing is the most significant development. It has evolved so much over the last three to four years in terms of what is online, how it reaches consumers, builds awareness, creates sales and develops the economy. Itís important for marketers to understand the medium to fully exploit its capabilities. Iíve noticed that all the different mediums marketers have used over the years have changed as well, each evolving to become much more viral.
MC: What keeps you awake at night?
MT: The competition and losing staff. With a staff of sixteen people, I always fear losing the great people I work with.
MC: Is marketing a science or an art?
MT: Itís a bit of both. A good marketer has to have a strong business/common sense foundation but they also need to be very creative. A marketer needs to be able to take the stimuli from the target market, insights from consumers and put them all together to develop something that will please as many people as possible.
MC: What is the key to a successful client/agency relationship?
MT: Itís a partnership above all else. At Workopolis we partner with a number of agencies such as Environics Communications, Due North, 58-Ninety and Roundtable. We donít view them just as agencies but as partners who have input on the business based on their work. At the centre of the relationship itís about establishing clear and measurable goals and objectives. If you do that then you can always measure your success and thereís no competition about who did what and what went wrong. The last key part of the relationship is respect and establishing a clear goal at the beginning of the relationship.
MC: What is the most important lesson youíve learned in the past 12 months?
MT: Donít take anything for granted, donít always assume that the economy is always going to stay good. The unpredictability of the economy can definitely create a lot of havoc on your services and how much people are willing to pay for it. Organizations and marketers always need to make sure they evolve to stay relevant in their market. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over again and expecting different results so itís an important lesson to always try new things.
MC: What do Canadians have to offer to the development of marketing and advertising that is unique?
MT: Over the years Iíve had the opportunity to work for Multinational companies that allowed me to develop into a full time business manager rather than just a marketing/ad manager. Because of our small market, Canadians get a lot more freedom to develop their management style. From advertising, product development and promotion to production, finance and acquisition, we are able to learn about all aspects of the business. With my American counterparts I noticed that they didnít have the same opportunity to have full cross-functional responsibilities.
MC: What qualities do you look for when hiring a junior person? What makes one stand out over another?
MT: I look for a positive attitude and curiosity. As a marketer you need to go out and find answers and be tenacious about it so being curious and asking lots of questions is required in this field. Also hard work and passion are important traits for them to possess. A lot of people talk about it but not everyone has it. If someone is passionate about what they do I tend to gravitate towards them and want to hire these people.
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