The Marketing Institute: What does a Digital Marketing & Communications Manager do?
Victor Coleman: I look after all aspects of digital marketing and communications for Veolia's UK and Ireland Zone. This includes the primary UK and Ireland websites along with a number of specialist and local websites, UK and Ireland social media channels, online advertising and, internally, our intranet and various online communities for staff.
Veolia, a French multinational, is a leader in environmental solutions. As such, Veolia is a B2B company, though increasingly becoming a B2B2C company.
MII: What were your key career moves to get to your current role?
V.C: My introduction to the world of B2B marketing came in Ernst & Young where I spend 8 years. I was really lucky in that I was part of the team that introduced the Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards to Ireland where I learned a lot about what makes a business successful. 20 years later the EOY Awards is still going strong.
I have since spent time working on the agency side with Baseline, a fantastic experience I would recommend to anyone, as well as with an Irish software company and other professional services firms.
MII: What is the biggest challenge you face in your role?
V.C: The biggest challenge I face is also what makes the role so interesting - the pace of change. Digital marketing and communications is changing so rapidly that keeping up to date with developments, trends and best practice can be hard. Marketing Institute events such as DMX Dublin and the Marketing Breakfast are invaluable in this.
It is also a challenge to apply some of the more consumer-focused ideas and concepts of marketing to a B2B environment particularly where the buying cycle is very long and complex.
MII: What key skills do you need to be effective in your role?
V.C: I need to be able to influence people. I need to be able to persuade them that digital tools can help them achieve their goals as well as the goals of the business.
I also need to be able to work with, and lead, virtual teams as the UK and Ireland Marketing team is spread across four locations and I also work with corporate teams based in Paris.
MII: Describe a typical working day.
V.C: It’s a real cliche but no two days are ever the same. Typically I would start the day by having a quick look at our planned social media content for the day and any comments received overnight.
I have a series of weekly catch-ups with colleagues from other teams, which we typically do by Google Hangout video call. We try to keep these short but they are very useful in terms of making sure we coordinate all of our activities.
After that I will set time a side to look at one of a number of strategic projects which include a significant re-working of the UK website and a more focused use of LinkedIn for business development purposes.
MII: What do you love most about your role?
V.C: I love the variety of the role. We provide such a variety of solutions that even after 3 years I am still learning new things about our offering to customers. Working with the UK business is great also as I am working on a much larger scale that I would be if I was only focused on the Irish market.
MII: Looking ahead, where might your career path lead to next?
V.C: There is so much opportunity in my current role that it should keep me busy for a while yet. The whole area of smart cities and the Internet of things is fascinating and as Veolia’s solutions in this area develop that is something I might well look at.
MII: To whom do you look for professional inspiration in your role?
V.C: There are lots of great people working in marketing in Ireland many of whom make an impact on the global stage too. Michael Carey, probably best know for Jacobs Fruitfield, has always impressed me. Willie Walsh is another superb Irish businessman who did a great job in Aer Lingus and is doing a great job now in IAG. My Dad was a great influence on me too. He ran his own retail business for 25 year and growing up I was immersed in the business (as it often the case in a family business). It gave me a great grounding in the basics of business.
You can read all the A Day in the Life features here.