Naomi Walkland, Bumble's Director of Brand Marketing, on the key to a successful marketing campaign

Naomi Walkland is a powerhouse, she's currently Director of Bumble's Brand Marketing in EMEA. She let us in on what a day in life looks like for her, how she ended up in marketing and some key tips for a successful marketing campaign. Enjoy!

naomi walkland bumble

If you had a song to define your life, what would it be?

I wouldn’t say it defines my life, but it’s in my Spotify songs every year - Happens by Sampha. It’s such a beautiful song, and I have a real emotional connection to it.

What's the biggest change you've seen in online dating since the beginning of the pandemic?

Lockdown restrictions have drastically changed the way that people are dating and everyone has a different approach to this. Over the last year, we’ve spent a lot of time helping our community navigate this new world of dating. This includes learning how to use our in-app video, voice and audio note features to add to your virtual dating or introducing new features to help people easily communicate how they are comfortable meeting: virtual only, socially-distanced, or socially-distanced with masks. Beyond the logistical requirements, we’ve also seen lots of ways in which the pandemic has changed how people are thinking about dating: they are more intentional, clearer in what they want, and not willing to spend their time with someone they know isn’t right.

How did you get into Marketing? What are your tips for womxn who don't have a 'traditional' background to enter the marketing industry?

I studied Social Anthropology and don’t have a ‘typical marketing background’. I actually don’t think that exists as some of the best marketing ideas come from beyond the industry. I started my career working at creative marketing and public relations agencies before moving in-house to work for a company. Agency work is focused on coming up with big, creative ideas for a number of clients and executing them with speed so the transition to an in-house role for just one brand was a significant one. When you’re in-house you’re working for just one client (the company) and it’s all about accountability. It’s not just about your work and execution, you are measured by impact and the outcomes on the business. For those who are looking to get into marketing, I would say do your research and make sure you clearly understand the different positions and what you're passionate about. For example, I love tech because it’s innovative and fast paced so I always sought out agencies and brands that have a tech profile.

Secondly, seek mentors. Having mentors in the industry helped me get a step in, and they don’t always have to be the most senior and experienced. Mentors can help with guidance and how to navigate identifying and applying for marketing jobs. There are great networks and initiatives for mentoring, like OK Mentor where I am an Advisor. Thirdly, work on your story. Even though you do not have the ‘traditional’ background, you will have experience working on projects or in previous companies that could be transferable to a marketing role.

What does a typical day in the life look like for you?

I typically get up around 6 am, I have a new puppy so he wakes me up by whining around 5:45 in the morning. The first thing I do is get out of bed, feed him, and take a sneaky look at my emails. I’ll then go for a run - I’m one of those people who needs to start the day with a bit of exercise to clear my head, particularly during lockdown. My working day starts between 8am and 9am. The first thing I’ll do is review our business insights to see what is happening in the region and how we’re performing. Following that, I’ll have calls with my direct reports to discuss current projects, strategise brand campaigns and our priorities for the week. Then I’m in more meetings. I’m typically in back to back meetings all day but always make time for a lunch break and play with my puppy. I finish around 7pm, cook dinner and then have a relaxing evening with my husband. We normally watch an episode of a TV series, we’ve just started Lupin and then I’ll read a few pages of my book. We have a team book club and this month we’re reading, Ms Kim-Joyoung Born 1982 by Cho Nam-Joo.

What do you look for when choosing people or brands to partner with?

Good partnerships need to be built around:

  • Shared DNA and similar values – there must be some sort of synergy to really ensure that it’s culturally relevant.

  • 50/50 – there’s got to be a mutual benefit for both brands as well.

  • Trust and transparency – you’ve got to be very honest about what you’re trying to achieve and being clear with your communication.

  • Putting the effort in – you can only get from a partnership what you put in and vice versa.

  • Relevance – it needs to be adding value to your audience.

3 key tactics for creating a successful marketing campaign?

1. Consumer-first – if you want your brand to succeed, you need to put your users first. That approach will always mean you have empathy towards your community. The consumer-first strategy is a combination of research, user insights and market trends, but also gut instinct.

2. Relevance – is it relevant, will people care? One question I always ask myself when building campaigns is “Why would anyone care?” It provides me with a framework to evaluate whether our work will cut through the noise. It challenges me to understand whether we understand our consumer’s emotions and whether the work we plan on creating will create conversation, driving word of mouth growth.

3. Impact and growth – every campaign should drive growth and be aligned to both the business and commercial objectives.

You work in such a global company! How do you keep tabs on local trends and cater to them across the different regions? Does your approach change?

We take a local first approach to marketing Bumble in new territories. We always use a combination of cultural research and user research and insights to make sure we’re responding appropriately. We then take the essence of our brand values and DNA to ensure it makes sense for the local market. For example in Berlin – which is the base for most of our German activity – we’re a little bit more bold, daring and full of attitude compared to some of our other markets in Europe. We’re also quick in listening to what our local markets want and need to respond, and that really sets us apart from other global brands – I think that can be seen in the work that we’ve done around virtual connection right now.

As you know, community is everything to us. How has your community helped you navigate your personal and/or professional life?

My community have provided me with a positive space, both professionally and personally. My community is no just made up of professional networks like HON, formally HER, but also friendships and family. My community provide me with guidance, growth, and empowerment in all aspects of my life.

My community have helped me in all aspects of my life, both personally and professionally. They have provided me with guidance, growth, and empowerment.

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