Meet Jonathan Gandolf, Director of Marketing at Springbuk
Job Title: Director of Marketing
Degree path: BS in Business Management, Purdue University
Hometown: Greenwood, IN
Current City: Indianapolis, IN
What led you to your getting into tech and this occupation? What was your first job in tech?
I always thought I was going to work in Sports Marketing. As a junior at Purdue, after internships with Pacers Sports & Entertainment and the Purdue Athletics Department, I thought it’d be a good idea to diversify my resume.
I stumbled into an internship opportunity at ExactTarget. This opportunity on their outbound marketing team changed my entire career path. I loved the fast-paced environment, the flexibility and the people that made it all happen. I was fortunate enough to then take part in their catapult (rotational) program after graduating and learned so much across the entire organization. I truly experienced a career’s worth of experience in the 4 years I was there.
What has been your career path so far?
It’s been a pretty classic career path!
Marketing Technology > Craft Brewery Entrepreneur > Healthcare Analytics
While I was loving everything at ExactTarget/Salesforce, I took on a passion project on the side with a few friends. We wrote a business plan for a craft brewery that we thought could be a fun side project. This side project became very real, very fast. After running a record-setting Kickstarter project, we figured it was probably time to become a full-time project. Braxton Brewing Company opened in Covington, Kentucky in March of 2015.
After some “hockey-stick” growth in the beer industry, I decided it was the right time personally and professionally to get back to my roots in Indianapolis and specifically, in the tech industry. I couldn’t have found a better company and team than Springbuk. I join in July of 2018 as a Product Marketing Manager and am now serving as Director of Marketing. I’m fortunate to be surrounded by people much smarter than me that challenge me every single day.
When you think of a day in your life, what are the main work activities you do or responsibilities you have?
I get to work with an incredibly talented team of experts. I try to set the vision for the team, work with other teams, and make sure everyone is set up for success. Get everyone on the right path and then let them run full speed ahead and I’ll work to remove any barriers along the way.
Help us picture your work environment.
Springbuk has an open office work environment. My calendar tends to be meeting heavy with some travel. Sometimes meetings get a bad rep but I never feel like time is wasted in the meetings that we have. Everything is very digital heavy from emails to shared documents, spreadsheets, etc.
What do you love about the work you do?
The people. I’m surrounded by highly talented people. I have to bring my “A-Game” every day to ensure that I can work alongside them. It’s a very healthy, very rewarding challenge every single day.
Which personality traits, interests, and abilities are important or common for a person to succeed in and enjoy this occupation?
You have to be collaborative. You should be willing to stand up and fight for your ideas, while also being able to intently listen to feedback and be flexible when necessary. Marketing is always tough to prove ROI but there are ways to do this. Relying on data to prove your successes and learn from your failures is one of the most overlooked skillsets for marketers.
Which tools/technologies or technical skills are particularly important for a person in your job to be proficient in?
I’ve always thought of myself as a little bit of a generalist. I know a little bit of a lot of things, and then if I found out I need to go really deep on one skillset, I am happy to learn on my own. Now, managing a team, knowing a few different aspects of the business is very valuable as I can empathize with the team while letting them be the experts of their domain.
Which soft skills (aka general business skills or employability skills) are particularly important for a person in this occupation to be proficient in?
Time management and prioritization are always very important. Striking the right balance between urgent projects vs. important projects is an ongoing challenge. Our industry, in particular, can be very confusing and changes often. You have to be willing to learn and admit when you don’t know something.
From your experience with new grads applying for and beginning jobs in this occupation, are they missing any particular knowledge, skills, or experiences that hold them back? Please describe.
Internships are key. A great internship experience can lead to a great first role which sets you up for quick success early in your career.
Which resources, people, books, websites, etc. would you recommend to those who want to learn more or advance their skills in this occupation?
Just plug-in to the local community. There are so many amazing people, events, and resources locally in Indianapolis within the marketing community.
What encouragement or advice would you offer to others considering this occupation or wanting to stand out amongst others?
Someone once told me the difference between good and great is three words: “And then some.” What is the “And then some” that you bring to every day of work, every project, every relationship?