All Blacks Tours marketing executive Tom Belson has only got a couple of years in marketing under his belt, but he's already established himself as one of the industry's rising stars. One of the TVNZ-NZ Marketing 'Rookie Marketer of the Year' finalists, we chat with him about what drew him to marketing and how he wants to shape his career. What sparked your interest in getting involved in marketing?
I love sport, so I decided to do a sports management degree at university. During my second year, I was sitting in a sports marketing lecture and was fascinated by it. I loved how marketing is a fast-moving industry that relies a lot on innovation and creativity to help sports brands/organisations stay relevant and competitive. I wanted to learn more and this led to me adding a bachelor of business, majoring in marketing to my university study. I haven't looked back since!
Why did you choose to work at All Blacks Tours?
After leaving my old job to travel, I made a commitment to myself that when I returned to New Zealand I would work for a brand I was genuinely excited by. I made a list of five places I wanted to work and began approaching them. All Blacks Tours responded and I offered to showcase my skill set. After three weeks, I was offered a role and the rest is history.
What does your team look like?
We're a fairly small business with about 12 people in total. This means I'm a one-man-show in the marketing department. I report directly to the general manager and I've also developed a great relationship with our agency, Chemistry Interaction – who execute creative and help me out with marketing strategy. It's a unique position to be in as a 'rookie' marketer, but one that has allowed me to learn a lot really quickly. I also love calling the shots!
What are your favourite work moments in the last year?
A highlight for me was developing and implementing our Rugby World Cup lead nurture strategy. It was a satisfying campaign in the fact that I was involved from idea creation right through to executive. It gave me a real rush to see the results and sales generated through the campaign – also a huge confidence boost in my abilities as a marketer. On the day-to-day, I'm responsible for things like email marketing and automation, customer relationship management, social media management, website development and content creation. I'm happy to put my hand up for anything and will tackle it head-on.
What's been the most challenging thing to deal with in your role?
Learning how to manage budgets for various marketing and media activity has been a challenge. As someone who is relatively new to the industry, it's sometimes difficult to know the going rate. Over time I've wrapped my head around things which has made the finance department very happy! Another challenge has been learning all the marketing jargon. I spent a lot of time nodding my way through meetings and then jumping on Google straight away to make sure I understood correctly.
What advice would you give other young marketers trying to make their way in the industry?
I don't feel like I'm quite in the position to give advice just yet... But, what I can say is identifying what you are passionate about and then looking for jobs and companies that involve that passion really allows you to express yourself. Getting up and going to a job you genuinely enjoy will help you develop your skill set. I'd also say don't be afraid to put yourself out there.