Editor’s note: since this interview’s original publication date, Maimouna has accepted a new role and is now an Associate Product Marketing Manager at Google. Well done, Maimouna!
Today’s Tech Role Model is Maimouna Siby. Currently, Maimouna is a Marketing Strategist at Squarespace, a company that makes software for website hosting. From her college days, Maimouna understood media’s potential as a communication and empowerment tool. She worked as a data analyst for the Wesleyan Media Project, helped build engaged online communities at several tech startups, and even launched Girl to the World, a line of multicultural children’s books.
What’s your official title and how long have you been in this role?
My official title is as Marketing Strategist and I’ve been at Squarespace for one year.
What attracted you to this marketing strategist role?
The opportunity to combine my fascination for technology, business, and storytelling by sponsoring podcasts and supporting creatives that use our platform.
Walk me through a typical day in your role. What activities do you engage in? What types of meetings do you join? When’s lunch?
On a typical day, I get in before 10 am, grab breakfast (usually Honey Nut Cheerios and cold brew), and then start working through my emails and determining my major to-dos for the day. I don’t love staying at my desk for too long, so once I’ve organized my to do’s and calendar I move to the bar area. This area has more daylight or I may work on the roof to further awaken my soul.
My job is multi-pronged as I work across three legs of marketing: Podcasts, Editorial, and Paid Social. In a typical day, I work on researching new podcasts to sponsor, editing a custom editorial post, and managing our Paid Social Twitter campaigns.
My meetings differ by marketing channel, but I am either on a call to learn about a new podcast or publication sponsorship opportunity or I am in strategy brainstorms with the general manager of each of those channels. Lunch is always around 12 pm, but we head over around 11:50 to beat the office lunch hour.
What skills/technologies help you to succeed?
I rely on my communication and time management skills the most in this role. As my position requires different levels of attention to multiple marketing channels, I rely heavily on my calendar and build in reminders and blocked times to work on bigger projects. The Google suite is also super helpful in my day to day; I don’t know where I’d be without Sheets, Docs, or Slides. Dropbox is another lifesaver; it helps me to organize and stay on top of the many documents involved in locking in sponsorship deals.
What’s the most fun or creative part of your marketing strategist role?
The most creative part of my role is actually also really analytical. After analyzing the performance of each channel, I use those insights to drive my decisions around finding new podcast creators to sponsor or new editorial partners. It’s fun to spot areas of opportunity that are easy to overlook when you’re not digging into the data. Working on our content strategy and workshopping sponsored editorial pieces also allows me to get creative.
What are the biggest challenges you face in this role?
The biggest challenge in working across multiple channels is consistently diversifying the way I approach and seek solutions. It can also be difficult to work with multiple channel managers but that is where I’ve also been able to become a clearer communicator. I learned the important questions to ask and figured out when it’s crucial to manage up.
How much access to management do you have in your role?
I have a lot of access. My manager and I check-in weekly. We also have several statuses regarding each channel so if I have any additional questions or concerns, I get answers there.
What teams/individuals do you work with cross-functionally? Can you give an example of a time when you collaborated with another group/individual?
I’ve worked with the Product, Customers, and Organic Social teams the most thus far. A lot of our sponsored editorial pieces highlight our Squarespace customers and the product so whenever we embark on a new piece, we get together to brainstorm who we’d like to feature and how we’d like to position the product.
What’s currently missing from the team?
I think our team is built out really well, actually!
What’s an area where you’re trying to grow in your marketing strategist role?
As a Strategist, my job can be filled with a lot of projects where I assist, but I want to grow into owning more projects. I’d also love to become more comfortable and confident in presenting my ideas and findings.
What, in your opinion, is the career trajectory for your role?
The career trajectory for my role at Squarespace is becoming a channel strategist and then growing into more of a managerial role, helping to manage each of the marketing channels.
In your role, what metrics define success?
Our team pays attention to website subscriptions, trials, and growth in brands awareness. To progress in our roles, it’s important to showcase our ability to effectively manage our marketing channels, offer up new strategic/creative ways to approach the market, and independently conducting research and presenting new opportunities to the team.
What skills (tech/non-tech) have you improved as a result of working in this marketing strategist role?
My analytical skills, business strategy, communication, and organization have all improved and are continuing to improve as a result of this role.
Aside from technical skills, what personality traits/characteristics make for an ideal candidate in your role?
It is really important to know how to simultaneously self-manage and ask questions you may think aren’t smart or feel elementary without fear. It is also important to be your best self-advocate, understand how crucial you are to the team.
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