A day in the life of a first marketing hire
Thanks to Dave Gerhart for serving as the inspiration for this piece
Today is launch day. It’s 6 a.m. on a Wednesday, and you’re already awake. In fact, you've been awake since 3:01 a.m., which is when your launch went live on Product Hunt. When you open Slack, you see six new DMs have popped up since you last checked your messages. You wonder whether the entire company subsists on nothing but caffeine and pure adrenaline.
You know today is going to be chaos, so you try to sneak in a quick workout to keep your energy levels high. Your HIIT treadmill session slows to a crawl as you field a stream of emails from your phone. By the time you make it to the office at 8 a.m., you’ve got three more meetings squeezed into your schedule and more Slack messages piling up. You see a new message from the CEO asking where their launch day outreach list is — the same list you already sent them three times over the past week that’s probably buried in their inbox. Again.
You skim through your inbox and do your best to reply to the most urgent messages before the announcement goes live to your audience in less than an hour. Today’s launch is a Slack integration — just the thing to help you climb the ranks of Product Hunt’s leaderboard — plus, as you’ve told the head of product, your customers have been asking for it for months. You’ve triple-checked everything is done on your to-do list — dedicated email, demo video, social posts, early customer testimonials, today’s webinar — so all that’s left to do is to put out any last-minute fires and hope nothing else breaks in the next hour. You keep the metaphorical fire extinguisher close by... just in case.
A few minutes before the announcement email is scheduled to go out, you get a Slack DM from an engineer who says there’s a problem with the landing page: one of the features described in the copy isn’t “technically” how the integration works. “It’s not a big deal, but it’s still not 100% accurate,” their message reads. How the hell did you miss that? You immediately jump on a Zoom call with the engineer, tweak the copy, and wait as it’s pushed to production. You hope that this snag is the last of today’s issues, but you have a feeling it won’t be. You barely manage to update the landing page in time for the launch. Then, it’s off to the races. You’re replying to tweets, fielding comments on Product Hunt, and sharing posts on LinkedIn. Like! Retweet! Smiley face! Love! Repost! Comment! Celebrate! Thumbs up!
You look up, and two hours have passed. You check your inbox, and see that the CEO’s executive assistant messaged you to cancel an important interview later today because of a last-minute meeting with investors. You die inside, just a little bit — it took weeks to schedule this press interview, and it was going to be a great profile about a day in the life of a tech CEO set against the frantic background of a launch day. But you’ve sat through enough conversations about “keeping the board happy” to know not to suggest rescheduling the investor meeting instead.
You spend the rest of the morning fielding some last-minute requests — customer success lets you know that the onboarding deck for new customers hasn’t been touched since the rebrand last quarter, and you have to update all the fonts and graphics before a kick-off meeting happening later today. That reminds you — the same applies for the deck being used in today’s webinar. Shit.
With the requests handled, you tune back into the launch: everything seems to be going smoothly so far, and you’re picking up some serious traction on Product Hunt. You even get a Slack DM from the CEO with a thumbs-up emoji. What a win! You take a moment to bask in the glory of a job well done. The sun is shining, and nothing seems to be broken, so you reward yourself with another iced coffee and a quick walk around the block before going back to replying to comments on social.
You’re eating lunch at your desk — because there’s no such thing as a real lunch break on launch day — when HR stops by to update you on the hiring process for a new addition to the marketing team. It turns out that the candidate you want to close on this week has some reservations about the offer because they don’t get how stock options work. You make a mental note to ask the head of finance to get on a call tomorrow to explain the compensation package to the candidate so you can finally close them — you need all the help you can get before the next launch. It’s either that or growing an extra set of limbs and a backup brain.
You head off to your afternoon meetings while remaining glued to your device to keep track of the launch’s progress. You’re pulled out of your obsessive refreshing as the topic of content comes up. The CEO asks, “Where are we on TikTok? We have tons of great blog posts already, so why not turn them into TikToks too?” The last time you brought up filming videos for TikTok, it didn’t go well. The engineers gave you the weirdest looks when you asked if they’d want to participate, and you don’t blame them. You don’t know if a video of them dancing to a sped-up remix of Lady Gaga is the best way to highlight the benefits of your product, but you’ve got to follow where the trending sounds take you — whether it’s in the direction of Lady Gaga, corn, or whatever else TikTok is hyper fixated on lately.
By late afternoon, you’re out of meetings for the day, but the questions are starting to pile in. This is a problem since your adrenaline from the early morning has long since faded. The head of sales pings you to let you know they’ve only had two meetings today. What the hell is going on? Everyone was expecting more calls to be scheduled, and now you’ve got to investigate what went wrong. You create your eighty-sixth test account and go through the sign-up flow until you find the culprit: email addresses are being captured, but the link to Calendly is broken. Turns out that you actually got north of 50 interested leads, but not everyone scheduled a demo call. Shit. You sync with product and engineering, and it takes only a few minutes to fix the form, but you’ve already lost most of the day.
You update the head of sales on the situation, and they’re frustrated — they wanted those meetings on the books today — but having a way of reaching out to leads via email is better than losing them completely. You remind yourself that there’s no such thing as an uneventful launch day, and you’re grateful to have emerged mostly unscathed so far.
You’re uploading a recording of today's webinar when you get a Slack message from the creative director. Their team needs a brief for next month’s launch to start working on assets. “We need the brief ASAP; when do you expect to deliver it?” their message reads. Launch day isn’t even over, and you’ve barely had a chance to catch your breath. You wonder if you will ever truly know peace. But you understand the creative team has a lot on their plate, and they just want to stay ahead of their deadlines, so you let them know you’ll send it over by the end of the week.
You’re finalizing your post-launch task list when the CEO swings by to ask you about the retro on the launch — it’s already item number one on your list for tomorrow. You need to write up an internal wiki post about why the team did the launch, what you learned, and what you want to do better for the next launch. You know you’ll have a lot to say about that (starting with quadruple-checking the landing page and key forms), so you and the CEO plan to touch base tomorrow afternoon.
You take a few minutes to look into AI writing tools to see if you can automate tedious but critical marketing tasks, like sales email sequences and podcast descriptions. Would it really be so bad if the robots took over? It seems promising, but it also might end up taking more time to learn how to use a new tool than to do it yourself. Plus, it’s 7 p.m., and you’re ready for take-out and to crawl into bed. You close your laptop, and decide: that’s a problem for future you.
Thanks to Dave Gerhart for serving as the inspiration for this piece.