Q&A with Elise Bentley: Marketing Extraordinaire
Elise Bentley boasts an impressive resume. Currently, Elise is the Senior Director of Marketing at Tiny, a rich text editing platform helping businesses build beautiful content for web. Having also worked as an Electorate Advisor for Premier Campbell Newman and Business Analyst at SMSF, Elise has dipped her toes across a broad range of industries and various organisation sizes. Did I mention she has also written and published not one, but three marketing books? (!)
We were excited to sit down with her to talk about all things marketing including her impressive career, challenges she has faced and tips for other Marketing Directors about growing and developing a high performing team.
These are incredible professional accolades, but tell us, who is Elise Bentley the person?
Behind the work persona is someone who I would say is pretty normal. Away from the office, I’m the person you will find avidly planning their next overseas adventure or taking time out to be with friends, family, and of course, my dogs. I will most likely always be able to tell you about what’s been happening in the latest Netflix movies and shows as well.
You have built an impressive career for yourself in a relatively short time, what advice do you have for early-in-career professionals and uni graduates?
The biggest thing, which may sound cliche, is don’t be afraid to experiment and abc yourself with research if you really believe in something. There is always a right time and place, but having a genuine passion for what you do, and taking the time to really learn and hone your craft is what is going to help make you stand out. You need to have the confidence to pitch yourself and your ideas, and stand behind their results – good or bad. Yes, there will be times when your idea is a failure, but acknowledge it, learn from it, and grow from it.
I have been very lucky in a number of organisations to be trusted to really develop and deliver strategies and campaigns in ways which have never been done before within the company. They have trusted me as the expert to take a calculated risk. It is about being able to find the right organisational culture that is going to support and nurture your inquisitiveness and allow you to experiment, fail, and try again.
Back to your days in Premier Campbell Newman’s office, how did this opportunity come about?
I was incredibly fortunate during university to be able to take on multiple internships at once. One of these internships, someone happened to know Campbell was looking for a staff member and recommended me for the role. The rest is history!
During my university days I was very much into politics, so much so it was one of my majors – Political Communication. Having a keen interest in this, and wanting to work in politics, is one of the big drivers that enabled me to be able to pursue this kind of role.
What has been the most challenging part of your career?
Some of the most challenging things within my career may come across strangely, but it has been about learning not to take on too much and when to say no. It can be really tough holding yourself to such high expectations, and feeling the need to do everything perfectly all the time – something I am sure a lot of people struggle with.
I have had to learn to say no, to push back, and to accept that not everything I can do is perfect. If I wasn’t able to overcome this I would never have been able to get where I am today.
What tips do you have for other Marketing Directors about growing and developing a high performing team?
One of the big things you really need to know when you are building your team is to have a vision of where you want to be, and an understanding of how soon you will be able to get your team there. If you know you are going to be able to grow a team quickly, it is worth taking the time to sit down and think about the various different kinds of tactics and strategies you want to try.
It is okay to not hire the junior people out of the gate and lobby for the budget to hire the experts who have already spent years honing their craft.
When it comes to selecting the right team members I have always taken the personal philosophy that it is not just about skills, it really is about the culture fit. Someone may be a perfect skill set but if they aren’t going to meld with the team, compliment the team, then they are not going to really achieve their best with your team. Hiring someone who isn’t going to fit well isn’t just going to hinder you and the company, it is also going to hinder that person’s professional growth.
What is something that not many people know about you?
I am a complete nerd about far too many things. Marketing being one of them. I truly love the way you are able to take so many concepts and ideas, and bring them together to create something truly amazing and creative, and turn it into something that resonates with your customers and helps solve their problems and fulfil their needs.
What is next for you?
Being with Tiny is such a great experience – working with the team to create software which truly makes a difference in the world of Open Source. I cannot wait to continue working to redevelop and redefine the marketing arm at Tiny and deliver a world-class experience.
It is too hard to say what will be next for me as I continue to explore marketing!
A big thanks to Elise for sharing her insights and valuable marketing tips with us. We are so impressed with all you have achieved throughout your career so far and appreciate your time chatting with us. Be sure to connect with Elise on LinkedIn and Tiny.