Welcome back to our ‘A day in the life of…’ series where we talk to our employees across the globe, to discuss their career paths to date, their roles at VIOOH and top interview tips.
In our latest interview, we spoke with Caroline Ingman who is a Product Marketing Director in our UK office. Read the full blog post below to learn about her career into product marketing, how she benefits from hybrid-working as a mother of two and how she has been at the forefront of the product marketing function at VIOOH.
1. What’s your role at VIOOH and what does it involve?
I am the Product Marketing Director here at VIOOH. I joined in 2020 and was the first product marketing hire so I created the function which was both terrifying and exhilarating in equal measure and from there we have grown to a compact but effective team of three.
We’re currently working on making our whole organisation more product-led by working with the People team to revamp our new starter onboarding and current employee continuous learning and create an accessible product knowledge learning suite for all VIOOHers to enhance their product knowledge, no matter how closely or not they work with the product. Product marketing begins with your internal clients so I’m excited to help get everyone to a level on their product knowledge.
As we’ve built out features like our proprietary ad serving and intelligence tools, the VIOOH proposition has changed and it’s my team’s job to make sure the way we talk about and position our product not only makes sense for our current and prospective clients but make it easy for anyone in the business to be able to tell our story.
I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for OOH. My career began at Clear Channel Outdoor UK and I’ve always loved OOH as a medium; It’s bold, it’s positive, it’s creative and having worked for many years in the advertising world, from newspapers to online, the focus I’ve had on programmatic ad tech meant I jumped at the chance to combine my love of OOH with what I had learned about programmatic over the years. I was lucky enough to be referred by a friend who had recently moved to VIOOH when he heard of the role, so I was confident it would be a good place to work based on his recommendation.
I loved the idea of being involved in building the product narrative for this relatively new company and the VIOOH vision was really exciting - plus I had the utmost respect for any company that sees the value of a dedicated product marketing function in the early stages of growing a business and one that continued to hire across all teams despite all the hurdles the pandemic placed in front of them.
3. What are the driving forces behind your career and why did you go into Product Marketing?
I’ve always worked in marketing, and mostly in media ad sales marketing, supporting the sales team and client services. I spent about 10 years working for US corps where I was repping all of the marketing disciplines from the large US based marketing teams as one-man-band for the EMEA markets. So I was not only doing the events, the field marketing, the brand marketing, PR, social media etc but I was focused on making sure the value prop of the product made sense for our regions.
The way media is bought and sold in EMEA differs from the US and the markets here have different ways of doing business so I had to constantly evaluate the nuances for a product in each market and what the hook would be. I wore many hats, but taking new products and features to market always gave me a buzz, especially when I was able to make a really complicated feature click with the client facing teams and create that story around it to make it resonate with their prospects. So I leant into the product marketing side of things much more keenly and am really glad to have moved into a pure product marketing role again.
4. Could you tell us about any tools / programmes you are using at the moment that really help you with your role?
We also built a Client Portal, a gated section of our website where we house all our client-facing product marketing materials and publish our release notes - being able to self-serve information as a customer is really important so this is one of the tools I am most fond of as it’s one we built ourselves - one of my fab team recently revamped it and made an awesome search function, so it shows you how much information it houses when we need to make it searchable!
I love a bit of Jira - mostly because we work with so many teams internally that we try to operate a ‘no ticket, no work’ policy so nothing gets lost. Though people still use Slack to ask for things but as a team we can create tickets from these requests so we can track what we are all doing on a Kanban board and link tasks to product epics/tickets so we always have that context.
We use Canva a lot as a team to create our client-facing materials as it’s much less intimidating than other design tools for making documents look polished and consistent and the collaboration is easy.
We are also Product Marketing Alliance members and we use a lot of their resources to help guide our planning and go to market.
5. Can you tell us what you enjoyed most about VIOOH’s recruitment process?
It was just super friendly and open. My interviews were all video call based as we were in lockdown two at that point but it did not detract from the experience. It was a really swift process and the communication from the recruitment team was great. I just got really good vibes from everyone along the way.
6. What excites you outside of work?
I’ve got two young kids so my own hobby ambitions have to remain relatively low key for the next few years until they need a little less of me but I love to cook. I got very into jumprope during the pandemic to stay fit and learned a few tricks here and there. My husband and I are also happiest when on a bike exploring London - we bought this ridiculously huge electric cargo bike during lockdown that can fit both the kids (and all our gear) for a day trip around town, so exploring on two wheels is what we do most weekends.
I also had a bit of a milestone birthday recently and had a mini mid life crisis and auditioned for a local am-dram play and unexpectedly got a part having not done any acting for 20 years, so I’m spending a lot of time in rehearsals at the moment and freaking out slightly.
7. How does the hybrid working model fit into your lifestyle?
I really love my current set-up. I spend two days a week in the office and three days working from home. It works perfectly for our family as let’s face it, society is not set-up for two working parents to be able to balance school/childcare timings so I don’t know how on earth people who work inflexible weekday office hours manage to balance work and life without hybrid working. My days at home allow me to have deep focus time and get little home tasks done on my breaks. It means the overwhelm I used to feel for all other life admin having to fit into the evenings and weekends is lessened.
I love being in the office as my role, my personality, and the way I like to learn means I want to be around people to build relationships as I work across so many teams. I also find I absorb information by osmosis when in the office as you hear discussions and can just ask questions without always having to schedule in time with people. I really missed that during lockdown.
I also love that VIOOH just treats people like grown ups and trusts people to get their work done in a way that works for them. The People team also revisit how well our model works regularly enough that we constantly evolve the approach to keep people engaged and nurtured, and it shows...Respect begets respect and a lot of other companies would do well to remember that.
8. Aside from your day-to-day role, are you part of any other internal teams at VIOOH?
I’m on the COLLAB team which is a cross-departmental senior manager group who act as an extension of the leadership team to roll out various initiatives across the company and also feed back what VIOOHers need the leadership team to consider or focus on. As we have grown so rapidly it’s key that we have reps for each department collaborating on how to work together successfully and building empathy and transparency in the way we collaborate.
As a product marketer, knowing how to work with different teams and pass information up and down the chain is so essential, so any initiatives that give me more time working with people who I don’t get to spend a lot of time with are appealing to me. I spent the majority of my first year at VIOOH remote working because of lockdowns then was on maternity leave for a period so I’m making up for lost time spent in a room with peers bouncing ideas off each other and building camaraderie.
9. Any tips for people looking to join VIOOH?
What I love about VIOOH is the range of personality types, cultural backgrounds and diverse ways of thinking we have in the company, so I’d say don’t censor yourself if you interview or get a role here. We don’t just look for what’s on your CV, and we aren’t looking for flawless work-robots - we want to know who you are and what makes you tick. So be your truest self - it could just be your biggest asset.We’re currently hiring for multiple roles, if you would like to join VIOOH you can discover our latest roles here.
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