Aspire to Tech: Head of Marketing at ReadyMode

Career Spotlight – Sukh Basra

What is your role?  What is your title?  How long have you been doing it?

I’m the Head of Marketing so as you can imagine, everything marketing related is what I’m responsible for.  I’ve been at ReadyMode for about a year and a half now, but I’ve been doing marketing in some capacity for almost a decade.

What makes your job interesting?

What makes my job interesting is that every single day looks a bit different, and it’s all about problem solving. Every single day is unique, goals are always changing, and you’re always learning something new.  Digital marketing changes so quickly, so you have to learn how to adapt, because it’s not only how well you do, but also how well you do in comparison to your competitors. Everyone’s trying to one-up each other.  Everyone’s coming up with new techniques, better technology, better tools so it’s a constant learning journey and that’s what really keeps me engaged.

What is the most fun about your job?

I would say, it is when you start to see the end result of your work, the fruits of your labour. There’s a quantitative aspect of my job and there’s also qualitative, so you get the best of both worlds and seeing positive results is so gratifying.

What’s the most challenging aspect of your job?  How does your job drive your company’s success?

The most challenging aspect of my job is marketing.  There are so many things out of your control.  You can’t control how customers behave and you can’t control what competitors do.  The best you can do is use your intuition and data to predict what someone will do and pivot before it’s too late or try to stay ahead of that curve.  You’re constantly measuring and predicting, and then going back and readjusting based off the results so that’s the most challenging, but also makes my job the most interesting as well.

My role involves anything to do with growth and notoriety of company.  Growing sales opportunities, making sure that we educate our customers and target market about what we’re doing, making sure that people know about us.  There’s the design and branding element of it, but it all comes down to growth.  Marketing is all about educating and growing your company.

What does a typical day look like for you? What do you actually spend your time doing?

It depends on what projects working on.  Very rarely will I have a typical day that looks the same.  A common day, these days, could be working on our new branding, making sure that everything’s functioning well.  There are technical parts of the job; making sure ads run well, our CRM is working and everything’s functioning properly.  There’s also a lot of planning and budgeting that goes into my job as well. When you start getting bigger budgets, the accountability has to be there to make sure that you’re getting a return and there’s justification for what you do, because when you’re a small business, you have finite resources, and you have to allocate them accurately.  There’s also a creative part of my job as well, making sure that we create engaging educational content and make sure everything visually looks professional.  A big part of what I do is mentorship and training other employees, and also working with our partners and agencies.  Sometimes I’m like a maestro in the middle, conducting this big production.  I really enjoy my job.

Tell us about your career history? What was your very first job and how did your career path take you to where you are today? 

I graduated university when the effects of the last big recession in 2008 were still lingering, so job market wasn’t that strong. I didn’t have a ton of experience, but I recognized that.  A few months before graduated, I couldn’t find any co-op positions that were paying – there was so few of them – so I decided just cold email every marketing agency and Vancouver and say, “Hey I’ll work for free, as long as I get an opportunity to work with some cool projects”.  The First company that replied back, I worked with them as an unpaid internship. I really enjoyed that internship.  But I knew Tech was the next thing and at some point, it really came down to sales or marketing, so I tried my hand at sales for a bit to learn the other side of marketing and sales, but I kept coming back to marketing for tech. ReadyMode is now the third B2B SaaS company I’ve worked for, so I kind of found my niche.

Where might you go next? What motivates you for your future?

I’ve only been with ReadyMode for a year and a half and there’s so much to accomplish here.  We’re just starting to really take off.  I envision myself being at ReadyMode for quite a while.  I’m always going to be in marketing, and I think I always will be working in tech as well.

What motivates me for my future is the fear of not reaching my full potential.  I don’t know if that’s a negative way to look at it or a positive, but I would hate to look back decades from now and say “What if?”.  The fear of regret, that really motivates me and also just learning and growing.  There’s so much opportunity in Vancouver and BC, and tech in general that it’s impossible not to have a desire to do well.

Any final words of advice?

Absolutely, I would say, for any young people looking to get into marketing and tech in general, just work your way back.  Look at job postings.  Look at what people are looking for, the skills they’re asking for; what kind of skills or experience they’ll want a year or two from now.  Then start focusing on the now and learn the tools of the trade.  Learn what’s important from a technical perspective.