Choosing the right career in a changing world. Getting customers to engage with a product or service. Avoiding common communication mistakes.
These are some of the topics of our conversation with Patrick Mork, an award-winning marketing professional with deep experience in mobile apps, content distribution, consumer packaged goods and video games. He’s led teams in high profile startups as well as Fortune 500 companies. While at Google, he and his team created the Google Play brand. Now, he’s been helping tech marketing executives to create powerful stories. In our interview you’ll find tips on career choices, personal branding, product marketing and learn about Patrick’s work in Brazil.
BayBrazil: How to choose the right career in a changing world, where jobs are reinvented and dying in a fast-paced way?
Patrick: I think you have to really look at two things: 1) What’s your purpose in life and where do you think you can make an impact / difference. This drives your motivation and drive to succeed. 2) It’s always important to look at technologies of the future that will have an impact on society as a whole: AI, Robotics, Machine Learning, Self-Driving Cars, AR / VR etc. If you’re able to stay ahead of the curve and learn there will always be jobs available. In my work as an executive marketing coach I spend most of my time helping executives figuring out the answer to the first question and then helping them get to where they want to go. It always amazes me how difficult it is to answer the simple question: “What do you want out of life?”
BayBrazil: After helping many companies and executives, do you think it is possible to find similarities in the challenges that executives and companies face?
Patrick: Absolutely. Although technology changes and organizations change, many problems remain the same. For example, the need to properly segment your market, identify an audience that has a particular pain point and craft a story that really appeals to them and induces them to include your product / service into their purchasing set will always be a given no matter what industry you’re in. In addition, the issues around emotional intelligence (self awareness, conflict resolution, human empathy, self management) are constants that are becoming ever more important.
BayBrazil: What’s the biggest change the internet brought to the marketing professional profile?
Patrick: The biggest change is really the ability to reach any consumer on any device at nearly any time and get data on how that consumer responds to your message in real time.
BayBrazil: Being Executive Coach and Storyteller put you in a position to know and understand deeply the person, company or product. Which story most impressed you?
Patrick: As an executive marketing coach, I’m always curious about people and why they do the things they do. Human motivations – passions, fear, greed drive much of what we do. For example, the executives I helped at LimeBike were fed up with traffic congestion not just in terms of the time wasted in traffic but also by the carbon footprint cars create, the frustration they cause and how they decrease the quality of life in cities around the world. Their launch of dockless bike sharing services and e-scooters are fundamentally changing mobility in cities and will help revolutionize urban transportation the way we know it. But ultimately it’s the passion of the people behind the company and the “Why” of why they chose to do it which is most interesting to me as a coach. Later, the journey in working with them to help them tell their story has been very rewarding.
BayBrazil: Tell us about your experience in the corporate world.
Patrick: I started working in consumer packaged goods in 1994 with Pepsi. I spent 5 years with them in marketing, learning what real marketing is all about. It was before the era of the Internet, mobile and digital. I spent 2 wonderful years with them in Brazil launching Diet Pepsi in Rio (the beach promotions and women’s volleyball tournaments were a tough thing to deal with ;) I learned the essentials of building powerful brands, traditional advertising and in-store, point of sale marketing which continue to be important to this day.
10 Years later I joined Google as Global Director of marketing for Google play. My team and I created the Google play brand, logo, marketing team and launched the first google play services – movies, books, music in 2011. I learned all the fundamentals of building a brand in the digital era at Google and also spent 15 years building startups. Now I’m building another startup ;)
BayBrazil: What are some common communication mistakes entrepreneurs/leaders make? What it’s the most important thing to remember to successfully communicate a new product?
Patrick: The biggest mistake I see is that founders don’t spend enough time properly segmenting their addressable audience. Their target audience often ends up being too broad and they often fail to craft a story that really resonates with users. The result is like trying to kill a fly with a shotgun – you blast marketing dollars/reais all over the place and maybe you hit your target but the practice is inefficient and often ill planned. In addition, tech people spend too much time telling people why their product / features are so cool. The reality is nobody really cares. What they care about is a solution to a REAL problem. We need to stop building cool s**t and build stuff that really solves a problem. Then figure out how to message it to the right audience.
BayBrazil: In today’s world, is personal brand as important as business brand?
Patrick: Much more so. People today and tomorrow can expect to work longer, have to learn new skills more often and will likely have 2-3 different careers over the span of their lives. This means the people who are able to build their own personal brand will command a greater value in the market, be more easily recognizable and have more opportunities. Investing in your own brand takes time, patience and discipline but it gives you immense leverage when you have to change company or industry. If you can point to your blog and demonstrate your own thought leadership through blog posts, podcasts, videos, workshop and speaking opportunities you’ll have far more success then if you simply diligently work hard and hide behind the business card of your company. Think of your personal brand as your insurance policy. You won’t be able to afford not to have one.
BayBrazil: You have lived and worked in many countries, including Brazil. Could you tell us how the experience was, the value it added to you and how you see Brazil now?
Patrick: If have a soft spot for Brasil ;) and many fond memories of my time there as a 25 year old junior marketing brand manager. Brazil was vibrant, fast paced, passionate and very creative. I worked with some amazing people in Rio and Minas Gerais. I worked with some of the most creative ad agency people I’ve ever worked with, talented football players (Tulio Maravilha – Botafogo) and outstanding sales people. Working in Brazil and Latin America helped me understand that although some business fundamentals are similar between countries, cultures and people’s tastes can be vastly different. You have to think Global and act local. You have to really spend time immersed in the culture and truly appreciate its language, history, politics and religion to truly connect with people there and get them to love your product. We were fantastically successful launching 7UP in Rio and sponsoring Botafogo in 1995 because we connected deeply with people through our brand and our work with that football club. (it didn’t hurt that Botafogo were Rio and national champions that year!). Running around Maracana with the players and holding the Champions cup on TV will have a special place in my heart for a long long time.
As for Brasil today, I haven’t been back in many years so I don’t fully have the context of what’s happening beyond what I see on the news or read in the Economist (neither of which are fully fair). The country has its challenges both politically and economically but I continue to believe that the people are smart, hard working, creative and passionate and you can do a lot with that with the right leadership. But to succeed you have to tackle deep structural problems and also find a way to put the past behind you and look to the future. I still believe Brasil has a very bright future ahead and have met many super talented entrepreneurs doing amazing things. I remain positive and look forward to my next visit. Particularly since I’m single again ;)