Charlotte Norman is the Product Marketing Manager at Cover Genius, a global insurance technology company on a mission to enable the world’s largest e-commerce companies to sell insurance to their global customers.
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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
My career path to becoming a Product Marketing Manager is a little different to most.
I entered design school, as my university degree, where I had ambitious goals of working as a visual designer in one of Sydney or New York’s top advertising firms. One and half years into the degree, those dreams were scrunched up along with many of my designs, around my trash can.
It turned out design life wasn’t for me, so I pivoted slightly and added marketing to my degree to expand my skillsets.
Post university, I’ve worked several different organisations wearing many different marketing hats, including comms, social media management, digital strategist, campaign manager and product marketer.
The last area, product marketing, is what really took my interest and I’ve spent 2.5 years now working solely as a Product Marketing Manager.
2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
As any Product Marketer would know too well, there are no two same days, in the life of a PMM.
My morning typical day is as follows:
7:00 am – 7:30 am – HIIT fitness class to help kick start my day and ensure I’m alert.
7:45 am – Start work, I’m a morning person and have my most productive working sessions in the morning. As such, I like to make the most of my morning to maximise my focus and outputs during these peak working times.
8:00 am – 8:30 am – Prioritisation and planning for the day. I’m a huge planner so I like to map out my day, action any urgent emails or slacks which have come in overnight. Given we’re a global company, I will often have some early morning calls with the team during this timeframe.
8:30 am-5:30 pm – Every day will be an assortment of product testing, messaging creation, value prop development, product roadmap refinement, sales enablement, UX testing, customer journey mapping, collateral creation, customer research and GTM development.
I’m fortunate to work in an environment which prioritises desk time so I’m typically only in 2-3.5hrs of meetings per day, which makes it very manageable to output a huge amount of work.
After work, I enjoy winding down with a dance class, a walk home from work, catching up with friends or coming home to cook dinner with my partner and housemate.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
Fortunately, given we’re a tech organisation everyone has the setup and ability to work from home if they wish. I typically WFH once a fortnight (in typically working situations, not in COVID-19 lockdown).
I’ll select a meeting-free day to focus and pump out work distraction-free. I find I can get 1.5 days worth of work completed when I’m at home, so I seize the opportunity to help keep me ahead of my workload.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
For me, it’s about knowing your limits and knowing where and when your boundaries will be crossed. For me I’m happy working extra hours, travelling for work or taking calls out of typical hours as long as I’m able to do the things I love the most.
I love spending quality time with my partner each night, going to the gym or to my dance class and I need 8+ hours of sleep per night. If those things are compromised in my day to day routine, then I feel unbalanced and discontent.
5) What do you think are some of the best habits or routines that you’ve developed over the years to help you achieve success in your life?
As stated before, I’m a huge planner and I believe this has helped me achieve success. As Greg Reid once said, ‘A dream written down with a date becomes a goal. A goal broken down into steps becomes a plan. A plan backed by action makes your dreams come true’.
I wholeheartedly subscribe to that philosophy and incorporate this into my personal and professional life.
I create annual OKRs for myself and have done so for the past 5 years. In that time frame, I’ve felt more accomplished and fulfilled than the previous 5 before that.
I categorise my OKRs around key themes including:
- Professional Development
I create measurable objectives and key results for each of these five areas and check in on them monthly to track progress. Having a personal OKR system has helped me stay focused, motived and driven, and ensures I make broader strategic decisions which align with my values.
6) Are there any books that have helped you improve over the years?
The Best Story Wins, by Matthew Luhn – I was fortunate to attend a one day workshop hosted by Matthew, the creator of some of our favourite childhood films such as Toy Story, to learn the foundations of how to create an impactful story. I refer back to his frameworks and learnings whenever I’m creating product positioning and GTM strategies.
Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, by Angela Duckworth – An interesting examination on the power of determination and perseverance and how powerful this can be in any profession, more so than natural talent.
My key takeaway from this book was simple if you want something, persevere and strive for it, but do so intelligently, with the support of mentors to help lead you to success.
7) What is the number one thing you do to make sure you get the most out of your day?
Being a morning person, I need to make the most of every second I have available in my prime focus/output period. To make the most of the day I, get up early, avoid reading the news, get to the gym and get into work before everyone is around.
Even just being in the office 30mins before everyone arrives helps we focus, action and urgent tasks which have come in overnight and map out my day. I try to avoid reading the news until later in the morning as this can easily derail and distract my focus for the morning.
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
I would love to see the true/unfiltered weekly schedule of high power tech executives such as Elon Musk, Sundar Pichai, Melanie Perkins and Daniel Ek.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
Work hard but know your boundaries and limitations and know when they’re being crossed. Be explicit with your workplace/manager about what where your lines will be drawn and how you like to operate.
Having a conversation like this will ensure that you’re adding value to the company and the company extracts the best value from you while maintaining morale and work-life satisfaction.
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