Roehm admits to learning some important lessons in the first decade of her marketing career.
* “Job interviews are a staged process,” she says. “You meet only with the best people and they tell you what you want to hear. You don’t know how much fortitude they’ll have when they get pushed.” She advises anyone being wooed by another company to undertake mergerlike due diligence, perhaps talking to vendors and former employees, to get a better feel for the real working environment. “What motivates people, how do they deal with failure, what are they proud of? Are they hungry for change or are they nostalgic for the good old days? Do tough questions make people uncomfortable or do they embrace them?” Some prospective employees pose as customers to get a feel for the company through the behavior of its sales and service people. How long it takes to work your way through a company’s service department phone tree will tell you volumes about its customer focus.
* “Be clear about what makes you happy and measure new opportunities against that,” she says. “Typically, it won’t be what your office looks like, who your boss is, or even what’s on your pay stub. It will be more intangible, like the people you work with every day or the way decisions get made. If you try to squeeze a square peg in a round hole, you shave the edges off and end up with a wobbly circle. Know yourself. It’s not a question of right or wrong. It’s a question of fit.”
* “Building a marketing culture takes more than creating a marketing department,” she says. “It takes top management that understands the real value of marketing–that it’s more than advertising–and is willing to let the customer drive the company. That attitude has to penetrate every corner of the organization in a way people can relate to their own job, from the CEO to the guy who sweeps the floors. It’s not easy, and it’s not for the faint of heart.” But it can be done.