Marketing Masters: A Day in the Life of UBM’s Director of Marketing Technology

Want to discover what goes on in the life of a Director of Marketing Technology? UBM's Mary Wallace reveals all.

5:15 AM My alarm goes off. Getting up sucks, but I love the early quiet of the house. After stumbling into the shower, I head to my closet. I stick to business casual clothes and fun shoes.

I work from home but still get dressed for the day’s many video calls. I use either Skype or BlueJeans, which we’ve just started using. So far, pretty impressed.

6:00 AM I sit at my desk in the living room and glance at my email. The goal is to look for any urgent requests that came in overnight.

I lead a marketing tech team for UBM, a global events and media company. We leverage the various pieces of the marketing tech stack to better engage our audience and customers. Sometimes we’re fitting different tools together, and other times we’re trying to make better use of what we already have.

We do this through discovery sessions with marketers and other stakeholders—anyone from website developers to CRM programmers to data engineers.

Mary Wallace

6:15 AM I get my son up and we have breakfast together. I always have Special K. I love it, plus it’s low-calorie. My son goes through different must-have breakfast food phases. Last year, it was all about Cinnamon Toast Crunch, but right now it’s pancakes.  

7:15 AM I drive my son to school. These small gaps of time with him are so precious, whether we’re having a silly conversation or discussing something super important to a sixth grader.

7:30 AM My next stop is a local coffee shop. Saint Thomas Roasters has been around for 15 years and is actually a converted pharmacy. I drink a medium cup of whatever the coffee of the day is, which forces me to step out of my comfort zone and try new flavors.

This is my time to get focused work done—no calls or meetings. I usually have at least three very intense projects going at once. They’re often completely unrelated and support different parts of UBM’s business.

One of my current projects is to convert our various business units from non-standard marketing automation platforms to Eloqua. This is a pretty consuming process, requiring a detailed business understanding and project management skills. You need to lead teams through an evolution from an existing tool to a newer, more effective one.   

10:00 AM Cue the whirlwind of phone and video calls.

The power of video-conferencing is marvelous. I love still being part of our offices, from San Francisco to London. The visual participation helps with ideation. Plus it fosters relationships, which are tremendously important to me on a personal and professional level. I’m lucky enough to love the people I work with.

My colleagues and I consider ourselves change agents. It’s our job to leverage both technology and process to help UBM increase our audience and client engagement.  

For example, we might automate a previously manual process to free up an associate’s time, or create an improved structure for marketers to build and deploy more targeted emails. It’s all about looking for inefficiencies.  

12:00 PM Lunch is at my desk because my days are so packed. I grab something easy like pretzels or cookies and a bottle of water. I’ve tried so hard to eat more fruits and vegetables, but I just don’t like them enough to eat them daily.

3:15 PM My son gets off the school bus. I’m usually in a meeting, so I wave as he walks in the door. He goes straight to the kitchen to make himself a snack. Today is pancakes—again. I wish he’d eat something a bit healthier, but it’s hard to enforce the healthy food rule when I can’t follow it myself.

5:15 PM My day is winding down by the time my husband comes home. A global company means I work across different time zones, but I like the variety.

6:00 PM I check my son’s homework before we head off to whatever activity is on the calendar for the day. He’d rather be on his laptop or DS, but it’s important to limit screen time and actually play outside.

7:30 PM Dinner is served. Three nights a week, we eat at home and the rest of the time, we eat out. One of our favorite haunts is a restaurant called the PeachTree. We’re friends with the bartender, who has a great rotating beer selection—my husband considers himself a craft beer connoisseur.

My son and I stick to our regulars: milk and Amstel Light, respectively.

9:30 PM I check my email and tie up any loose ends. I’m the definition of Type A and have to know what’s on tomorrow’s agenda before ending the day.

I don’t watch a lot of TV, but if I do, it’s Lethal Weapon, Scorpion, or NCIS. Love the suspense.

11:00 PM Head to bed and do it all again the next day.