Beth Gordon is Twitter’s Head of Business Marketing for EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa). Prior to this, Beth worked in roles at Spotify, MySpace, Global Radio and Jazz FM. Beth is a specialist in digital strategy, marketing, media and advertising.
“…For me, the best way to get the most of Twitter is to know your audience. It’s as simple as that. If you identify when your followers are likely to be online, the types of things that they’re interested in and what content they really enjoy then you’ll be a Twitter pro in no time…”
Music in my genes
So following loads of work experience at venues and record labels whilst studying, my first job was managing entertainment at a students’ union in the Midlands – booking artists and running / promoting nights. I had always enjoyed writing though, so left the guestlists and flyposting behind and joined a PR agency. I learnt so much there, but missed music, so moonlighted at a local radio station, where I would co-present the breakfast show before starting my sensible day job.
Totally fell for radio
I totally fell for radio, and at 24 became marketing manager for Jazz FM. It bridged the gap between everything I’d learnt and loved so far and was absolutely the dream for me – every day I couldn’t believe my luck. I worked with the most funny, mischievous, talented group of one-offs, who were absolutely drenched in music history – and had the best stories ever – in a loud, ramshackle office, which had once been the recording studio for the likes of Marvin Gaye.
Despite being so respectful of the past, the station was also incredibly forward thinking – it spied a massive opportunity in digital when not many media companies did – or at least succeeded at: in jazzfm.com it had the world’s most listened to station online, which I helped to run, and I was fortunate enough to help create and launch ejazz.fm, when on demand listening really wasn’t a thing.
Every day came with a good celeb in the lift encounter…
From there, I spent a year at media agency M2M, where I had an invaluable look at things from that side of the fence, before grabbing the role of brand strategist at GCap Radio, which was to become Global Radio. I had never wanted a job so badly. Again, most days were spent pinching myself. It was full on but the most ridiculous amount of fun, working across Capital, Heart, Classic FM and theJazz, and every day came with a good celeb in the lift encounter (best: Mark Wahlberg and Kiefer Sutherland).
Three years later, I joined MySpace as a strategist. It was such a special place and a real moment in time.
Then came Spotify, shortly after it launched in the UK, where I set up business marketing for the company and lead it across Europe for five years. Being part of Spotify was pretty indescribable really, especially in the early days when you saw the penny drop and people begin to be as besotted with / all consumed by it as we were. I met some of my best friends there and am so proud of what it’s become, the impact it’s made and everything it’s always stood for. And now, I’m at Twitter, which I’m just so excited about.
Business marketing at Twitter – as much about winning hearts as it is heads
I look after business marketing for Twitter across EMEA [Europe, the Middle East and Africa]. Business marketing is an area that is not as understood as its more front of house consumer sister, but honestly, it’s a totally brilliant hidden gem. Broadly speaking, my team’s focus is to help the advertising industry understand and fall in love with Twitter, constantly finding new ways to excite, educate and connect with them.
It’s varied (ranging from running events and workshops, to producing collateral, content, merchandise, proof pieces and comms), and if you work really hard and truly understand the audience and recognise that it’s as much about winning hearts as it is heads, you’ll do well and your brand will too.
You won’t enjoy media business marketing if you’re not sociable, hands on, confident about making decisions, always looking for fresh ideas and approaches, and genuinely passionate about the brand you work for – you won’t make anyone believe in it if you don’t.
Finding the answer to anything, quickly
It’s fast moving and you’re hit by (often totally unexpected) challenges every day, so you need to be driven by finding the answer to anything, quickly – and knowing a vast array of brilliant, clever people to help with the multitude of small / random things as well as the big / strategic.
That might be a designer who can produce an ad ludicrously quickly, a never-been-used-before venue for a series of once in a lifetime parties, a swag supplier who makes the softest hoodies you’ve ever felt, a company who can theme an office as a Christmas wonderland in a matter of days (in August), the exact person to go to fulfill the most specific of tech riders, a speaker or act who can help bring your message to life, or a household name DJ who agrees to play at a bash for you as a favour.
Managing a vast and diverse region
Before Spotify, I hadn’t worked outside of the UK and had to learn, quickly, about what it means to manage a vast and diverse region. I honestly believe you will never know as much about a country’s culture, history and present than through business and working with its people every day. My key tips for looking after a large / fragmented geographical area are:
- It sounds obvious, but when you’re managing a team that is spread over continents, visit all offices and see people and work in action as much as possible – whether that’s meetings, activations or social stuff;
- Talk non-stop, not just in regular catch ups (IM / DM is brilliant for making communication something you don’t even have to think about);
- When your team doesn’t sit with each other, it’s all the more important to pull out all stops to make everyone feel connected. Make sure people feel like a gang where there is nothing they can’t say because they’re are on the same side and there to support each other (for example, in quarterly offsites, having a section where everyone fearlessly offloads their recent mishaps is often more useful / bonding than the ones where people trot through their highlights);
- Allocating regional projects or areas of focus alongside your team’s day-to-day country responsibilities is a good way of targeting concerns that face everyone within a territory, and makes people work together in a more unified and less siloed way. It also widens knowledge and experience, creating subject geniuses and not just country ones, whilst keeping things interesting for everyone and solving wider problems that are sometimes put off when people get so buried in the every day;
- Most importantly, have utmost respect for people ‘on the ground’ in each office and know that they’re the experts in their countries, so defer to them when it comes to local knowledge and needs. My job is just to put in strategy, structure and practices to help make their jobs easier and measuring smoother, ensuring we are globally in line, regionally consistent but locally effective. Creating programmes and assets that the country teams can draw upon where / when THEY know it to be impactful to their stakeholders means that regional cohesion doesn’t harm local effectiveness, it actually enables it. Similarly, having continuity and things that scale shouldn’t take away creativity – it should give people more time and energy to do amazing, imaginative work because the legwork is shared or the nuts and bolts have already been taken care of;
- Always, always, be guided by principles that work everywhere and – crucially – that everyone has totally bought into, and ideally reached together.
Getting the most out of Twitter
For me, the best way to get the most of Twitter is to know your audience. It’s as simple as that. If you identify when your followers are likely to be online, the types of things that they’re interested in and what content they really enjoy then you’ll be a Twitter pro in no time. There’s a whole bunch of tools for users and brands that can help them do that:
Try downloading all your Tweets. Our dashboard will automatically create a spreadsheet with your Tweets in, for you to play with. It tells you how many people viewed them, how many Retweets or Favourites you got … everything you need. Try looking at your top 10 most popular Tweets and bottom 10 and comparing. What made your most popular Tweets better?
We recently launched Twitter Audience Insights for advertisers. This can help brands understand everything about their followers from their interests and the other accounts they follow, and all compared to the average Twitter user, so brands can see what makes their corner of Twitter special.
Supporting women in tech
Twitter is actively committed to supporting women in tech both at Twitter and in the industry. We do this through internal initiatives and partnering with external programmes.
We’re building a great environment at Twitter for women to grow, learn and build strong careers. For example, we host leadership workshops, SWAT (Super Women at Twitter) leadership dinners, and have a WomEng Mentoring Programme.
Externally we have strong partnerships with organisations such as Girls Who Code, TechWomen, Grace Hopper, and Code First: Girls. This year in London we hosted workshops for Code First: Girls, where we offered 100 women graduates career advice. We also hosted Codebar workshops, as well as Spring Into Code Weekend with Geek Girl Meetup, Girls in Tech, and General Assembly, all in our London office.
Shaped by the people, for the people
Twitter is shaped by the people, for the people. It is an open platform, which gives the opportunity to speak freely about any issue. On Twitter, everyone is equal and every voice can be amplified. Women are able to form whatever kind of communities they want and reach out to like-minded individuals from all over the world.