I’m no marketer.
Hello! I’m Linus, Construct’s Digital Marketing lead. Truth be told, I’m not really a marketer. I’m a trained engineer.
My life revolved around hard hats and equally hard data, all facts and logic. It was all about oil rigs, ships and other engineers. Life was good—the oil and gas industry is notorious for paying well (a well-deserved rep!). We had multiple opportunities to travel abroad for reccees, and whenever we’re not travelling, hours were pretty regular.
Any Nanyang Technological University (NTU) fresh graduate would have been contented.
I was. Or at least, I thought I was.
Then, everything came crashing down. Enter the 2014 oil crisis. Prices were down, luxuries were out, and people were getting cut off left and right.
Despite all the chaos, I survived. I was retained. I’d like to think it was because I offered a value unmatched, and I was also taking care of a lot of things in the office. That also meant things at work became a little more hectic. It looked as if the extra workload were my penance for surviving through a series of lay-offs.
Then came the epiphany. Those that got laid off—that could have been me. Then I asked myself: am I really contented?
Taking chances to find my calling
Inspired perhaps with oil-exploration work and how it’s all about going into unknown territories to dig for good finds, I decided to do some soul searching.
At the risk of coming across as entitled, I highlighted my predicament of lacking a sense of self-fulfilment to my then-boss (such a #millennial problem, I know).
With his blessing, I then went for a 6-month sabbatical where I travelled around Asia.
It was only in losing myself and being immersed in another culture that I found my calling.
I recalled all the times I used to run mini-campaigns on my own and the joy I derived from seeing results. Granted, the media budgets for my personal marketing projections were miniscule, so I wondered if there were opportunity paths present for me.
I concluded my six-month soul searching with a new train of thought. I finally stumbled upon the proper call-to-action (hey, a marketing term!) for myself.
Right away I decided to rekindle that spark of excitement that I get when I would run digital campaigns, and develop it further.
I resigned from a still-lucrative oil & gas career.
I devoted the next few months to reading, learning, and applying marketing knowledge any way I could.
I knew what I wanted; I just didn’t know how to get there exactly.
So I took a chance.
I started applying to marketing agencies by making an irresistible marketing offer: I’ll work for free to prove myself. That was when some agencies began taking notice, and an offer came in.
A good offer, in fact. My first digital stint at a media agency actually paid me a fair wage, despite my initial expectations.
Same feelings, different place.
Three months on, after the initial excitement wore down, I found myself feeling unfulfilled—again.
There I was, making digital ad purchases without strategy, rhyme, or input. All I was churning out was based on a given set of instructions. At that time, I was in a media agency. All I did was media buying and doing placements with little strategic insight or input from myself. I felt like a drone. Everything I was doing was mechanical—it was not the shift that I had expected after leaving an industry that’s heavily mechanised.
I wanted in on the action. I wanted to experience my conceived idea of an agency, one that welcomes creative, strategy, input, and collaboration.
Enter Construct Digital.
My desire to do more pushed me to keep exploring. Then came the opportunity I am now glad I didn’t pass on.
I joined Construct Digital.
Fast forward a few years of laboriously working late nights, strategising and beating deadlines, and learning to optimise marketing assets and here I am standing as Construct’s current Digital Marketing Lead.
Was it easy? No. Was it everything I thought it would be?
Yes, that’s right. It wasn’t.
It was way more than I had expected. My personal growth in Construct has been unparalleled to any other working experience I’ve had before. Frankly, it’s beating even my wildest cost per mileage benchmarks of how far I’ll go.
Today I am a certified marketer with a passion and drive that yield results. One key result I achieved was a net ROI for a campaign of over 1135% for a key client.
Why am I here, and how the heck am I still alive?
I think the reason I’ve ascended to a marketing post probably unfathomable to most engineers is because marketing is no longer just a feelings game. At least not for digital marketing. It’s not just about going with your gut or sensitivities and sensibilities.
It’s about data. Numbers. Hard facts.
These are the things my engineering background prepared me for.
It’s no longer having an intuition whether something will work or not. It’s about projections based on learnings from past campaigns.
It’s no longer about subjectively judging the effectiveness of your work. It’s about having the actual numbers that irrefutably show whether your project yielded results or not.
I honestly think that if I were born before today’s time, where most marketers were creative and largely relied on their feelings, then I would not be here.
I’m still an engineer.
Being a practicing marketer today and reflecting on what I used to do, I realise there are many engineering principles that apply to what I do today. By its core definition, engineers are people who “design of build a machine or structure.”
It’s still what I am doing today—designing and building, but instead of machines, I design marketing campaigns to produce results for clients.
I guess, after all, I’ve never really left engineering.
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This is part one of our "The People Who Construct" series. Stay tuned for more blog posts, and sign up for our mailing list to be the first to get our updates!