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New to marketing? Sarah Wan shares how to grow your career for the future

Extraordinary new marketers in an extraordinary year. That’s how The Drum introduced last year’s Future 50 List. And if you keep up with the latest happenings on our LinkedIn account, you’ll know that Klook’s very own Sarah Wan​, SEA Marketing Director at the time and current General Manager, Singapore, was named in the 2020 Edition. 

I had the chance to sit down with Sarah for a virtual interview to glean some insights on tips for careers in marketing, how Covid-19 will change the landscape, and significant influences in her journey so far.


Actionable tips for those who just started a career in marketing


When you’re fresh out of school, the career path in marketing looks easy: 

Step 1: Understand your brand

Step 2: Craft compelling stories for your brand 

Step 3: Profit

This was how Sarah first saw the landscape when she took on her first job in communications. And she was good at crafting stories at Edelman, too, moving up the ranks quickly from Executive to Manager in 3 short years.


One of the campaigns from Klook digital marketing teamOur Marketing team shares inspiring stories on the Klook blog and across regional social media accounts


However, digital marketing has shifted the landscape somewhat and Sarah now acknowledges that storytelling is only one aspect of being a competent marketer. “Expose yourself to as many channels and experiences as possible, and don’t close the door to aspects of marketing that don’t currently resonate with you” she started, when asked what tips she had for new marketers. 

“Marketers today tend to skew to either the art or science of marketing when the future is a fusion of both. Marketing is now a marriage of both its art and science halves, so you need to get exposure to both.”

This was something she learned on the job, having intentionally sought out and learned more about performance marketing (i.e. science of marketing). Sarah found that on-the-job learning was more effective than taking external courses, as it narrowed down her focus to what worked for the business. 


Klook 11.11 campaign includes a Facebook Live session, which done by Klook digital marketing teamA good place to start as a new marketer? Volunteer to lead smaller campaigns to get a taste of both the art and science of marketing 


When asked how newer members of the team could get this cross-functional experience, her answer was immediate: raise your hand and volunteer to lead smaller campaigns and projects. This gives you a taste of strategic thinking while training you in both the art and science facets of a full project, giving you a more in-depth appreciation of the skills it will require.


How will the landscape change post-Covid? Focus on digital marketing


Before Covid-19 struck, one major direction Klook’s Marketing team was moving towards was offline events. The famous Klook Travel Fests were held in 2018 and 2019, and growing by the year. By all accounts, if we had held one in 2020, it would have gained the largest attendance numbers yet. 

No time for sentiment, though. When I posed the question of a post-Covid marketing world to Sarah, she emphasized that “the future will be digital-focused and marketing must shift with consumer behavior”.


To have a long career in digital marketing, you have to understand how consumer behave and able to shift yourself and your team to follow them

Team Hong Kong celebrating our 6th birthday on Klook Live!


Case in point? When Klook's marketing team realized we wouldn’t be able to connect with our customers offline in 2020, we quickly pivoted to focus on digital marketing by creating our own in-app live streaming feature. With Klook Live!, Klook Marketing team can reach customers across several markets through interactive and engaging live content. But Sarah believes that the best is yet to come, with the team still working out what works for our brand and our audience on this new platform. And as always at Klook, we’re not just looking to do it well, we’re looking to push the boundaries of innovation and creativity. 

“We will be looking to create breakthrough concepts on Klook Live!,” says Sarah. And reveals that we may have to look to the past to build the future of live streaming… 


Pet live streaming? Yes, Klook digital marketing team is bold enough to offer a unique kind of service like this one.2020 was the year of the staycation, 2021 will be the year of... a pawcation? Keeping it fun and relatable on Klook Live!


Who were the significant influences in your marketing career?


“I was lucky to have all-female bosses at the start of my career who showed me how to communicate decision-making processes and how to carry myself in a way to be taken seriously.”

Against a social media backdrop where women are encouraged to be more vocal in the workforce, having bosses like this at the start of her journey meant that Sarah struck gold. Her managers showed her how to make tough decisions and have empathy for the team, shaping her management philosophy. 

Having relatable mentors can help you recognize your shortcomings much faster and provide a quick path to progressing your career, and, if nothing else, Sarah’s The Drum Future 50 win is a sign of that.



Want to grow your digital marketing career among the best?

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chris_soh.pngPosted by Chris Soh, Assistant Marketing Manager

Chris has a lifelong goal of visiting every single beach in the world. He aims to be the world's first official beach connoisseur.

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