Marketing Career Path: How I Became a Brand Marketing Manager at Coursera

Written by Coursera • Updated on

Get an inside look at how one of Coursera's marketing managers launched her career.

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Iris Wu is a Consumer Brand Marketing Manager at Coursera. She has four years of professional experience, plus about three years of marketing internship experience, which she pursued while earning her bachelor’s degree in English.

“I've always loved reading stories (hence the English degree) and now I get to play a part in creating stories for a brand that I believe in,” Iris says.

Iris was drawn to brand marketing for its mix of strategy, creativity, innovation, and analytics. “As a consumer brand strategist at Coursera, I have the joy of getting to know our learners and their needs, goals, and challenges—and then figuring out how to collaborate with the right teams to address those challenges and generate awareness for the solutions that we offer.”

Marketing career path: Brand marketing manager

Although she considers her professional experience to have started with her first full-time position after college—at Coursera—Iris spent three years exploring careers in marketing by completing internships throughout her undergraduate program. During that time, she was a general marketer, “as in I did a little of everything: content marketing, email marketing, social media marketing, paid digital marketing, et cetera,” she says.

I started with just two key skills: strong writing and communication.

“As I was building my understanding of marketing tactics, strategies, and tools, I found that I learned best by just doing the work and through trial and error,” Iris adds. “I picked up skills along the way during my internships, but I started with just two key skills: strong writing and communication—plus a strong desire and willingness to learn.”

Advice from a marketing manager

“Start by building an understanding of marketing in general and build up foundational marketing skills, such as project management, effective communication, marketing analytics, copywriting, and knowledge in common marketing tools,” Iris says. “If there's something you don't know, Google, YouTube, and online courses will be your best friend!”

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Here’s a closer look at Iris’s marketing career path.

Digital marketing intern at a start-up

Title: Digital Marketing Intern

Duration: About 4 months

As a digital marketing intern at a crowdfunding start-up, Iris participated in the company's first dedicated marketing efforts and contributed to paid digital, email marketing, and organic social media campaigns. In this environment, she benefited from taking a proactive and independent approach when initiating projects and learning new technical skills, including Facebook Ads Manager, Mailchimp (and similar email marketing tools), and copywriting.

Digital marketing intern at an engineering institute

Title: Digital Marketing Intern

Duration: Almost 3 years

Iris settled into her next internship for almost three years, working at an engineering institute associated with her university. Here, she managed organic social media accounts; built evergreen email workflows, templates, and campaigns using HubSpot and Mailchimp; and developed paid marketing strategies with Google Ads and Facebook Ads Manager. She also designed some creative campaigns using Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. Over time, she witnessed her efforts driving growth across the organization’s blog traffic, and Facebook and Twitter followings, as well as an increase in customer conversions.

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Social media marketing associate at Coursera

Title: Social media marketing associate

Duration: 2 years

Iris got her first full-time position at Coursera after completing her bachelor’s degree. In this entry-level position, Iris leveraged the skills she developed through her prior internships to help guide brand marketing strategies. As her title suggests, she closely worked on Coursera’s social media strategy, managing campaigns at each stage from ideation through post-mortem.

Additionally, Iris furthered her product marketing skill set, by conducting market research and competitor analyses, securing stakeholder buy-in, supporting tech and product integration, and co-leading go-to-market strategy, among other advanced marketing skills.

Brand marketing manager at Coursera

Title: Brand Marketing Manager

Duration: 1.5 years

Iris was promoted to Brand Marketing Manager as a reflection of the increased scope and responsibilities she had taken on during her time at Coursera. In this role, she continued to oversee the brand’s social media strategy and lead marketing campaigns.

Iris worked cross-functionally on both national and global campaigns to align messaging across email, affiliate marketing, and paid ads and ran affinity month campaigns, such as Women’s History Month and Pride. She also helped to launch several national TV commercial spots, like this one.

Consumer brand marketing manager at Coursera

Title: Consumer brand marketing manager

Duration: 2 months (and counting)

Iris received her second promotion at Coursera in March 2022 and expects to continue using social media and brand campaigns to promote the mission she truly believes in. “I'm thrilled to be working on high-impact projects that help tell the story of Coursera and the power of transformation through learning,” she says.

Continue learning about marketing

There are many paths toward becoming a brand marketing manager, though if you’re interested in following a similar path as Iris, you may be interested in the Meta Social Media Marketing Professional Certificate. Through six courses, you’ll build the skills to get job-ready for an entry-level role in social media marketing. Start learning today for free!

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