Portugal-native Mário Costa discovered his passion for marketing while working in customer retention at a call center at Vodafone. This first job taught Mário how essential it is to really listen to both your customers and colleagues to create effective content. “Customer relations and content strategies are completely connected to business. It’s not just about branding, visuals and copy, it’s about business,” says Mário. And he has carried this lesson with him throughout his career, and stresses its importance throughout this interview. 

Later in his career, Mário became the senior global brand manager at German food wholesale company METRO AG. There, Mario coordinated global branding campaigns for 26 different countries, including Portugal, Spain, France, Japan, Kazakhstan, India and Pakistan. 

According to Mário, the key to adapting content strategies for so many different cultures lies in combining two sources of information: the analytical, cold side of data; and the warm feeling of knowing the people you’re trying to reach:

“If you’re in a global position, it doesn’t make sense to create a content strategy without knowing the reality of your target customers. You need to speak with your colleagues who are based in the local markets and really understand your local customers. You also need to work with research companies to get the right insights before creating a global content strategy with local activation.” 

Mário loves the marketing industry as it allows him to challenge himself and work in different areas every day. That’s why he recently jumped on the opportunity to join Portugal’s leading fitness and events company, MANZ, as director of marketing and communications: “In the morning, I was just approving fitness-related content, and now we’re thinking about the Christmas campaign for the Japanese pop culture events. And tomorrow we’re launching the Black Friday campaign for this wine brand. So it’s a little bit crazy, and amazing.”

Tune in to the full interview as Mário chats with Kyler Canastra about his career journey, marketing advice, role models and much more. 

“Be humble and be close to your customers and colleagues. Listen to people because this is the only way you can improve and be a better human and a better professional.” 

You can watch the full conversation in the video above or on YouTube, and listen to the podcast on Apple or Spotify.

Rapid-fire recs  

  • Daily habits: 
    • Read the news: “I start every morning reading the general news. It’s very important to be informed about what’s happening in the world. If you just do office work, you don’t know what’s going on. And how can you be close to people, if you don’t know what’s happening? So reading the news is very important for everybody, but especially when it’s your job to talk to people.”
    • Subscribe to websites, newsletters, blogs: “I subscribe to a lot of newsletters, blogs and websites to really understand what’s new, because things are always changing in the industry. I particularly like the newsletters from Social Media Today, Marketing Dive, Courier and AdWeek, and the blogs from Spark Toro and Neil Patel. I really like to stay up to date on the best practices and what’s happening in the marketing field.”  
    • See what other brands are doing: “I also pay a lot of attention to what other brands are doing, not only in my field of interest, but in different business areas. It’s essential to follow competitors, as well as big brands (with huge marketing power) and small brands with low budgets but high creativity.”
  • Role models: 
    • Former bosses and leaders, including Sílvia Lopes, Gisele Musa, and Rui Pi.: “My role models are my previous bosses—I was very lucky and learned a lot from all of them. If I’m in a leadership position today and have to make a tough decision, I always try to think about what my former bosses would do in a given situation. When you’re humble and you listen and talk to your colleagues, you learn and you improve.”
  • Best platforms: 
    • Having a monitoring tool is essential: “I use Mentionlytics, which is a very nice tool because you can easily adapt your pricing plan and features to the size of your brand and it gives a very good overview of the world wide web, and Socialbakers, a very powerful social media management tool. I’m always talking about listening, but having a monitoring tool is very important for all of us that work around customers and content, because you cannot be everywhere at the same time. We have so many pages and websites and different brands and different audiences that you need one powerful tool that can really help you to identify where people are talking about you. And talk to them. Talk back. Your brand should act as a person. For me, having a monitoring tool is mandatory.” 

Connect with Mário and Kyler on LinkedIn.

For more on the importance of listening to your customers:

To read the full transcript, click on page number 2 below.