Ask a Marketer series: Pentesec's Josh Barnard

3rd July 2020

At The Marketing Pod, we work with in-house marketers across a wide range of industries, and we’re always intrigued by how their roles are so similar in some ways, and yet so different in others. We believe there’s lots we can learn from our fellow marketers, so in our ‘Ask a Marketer’ series we’re striving to gain some insights that everyone can benefit from.

This week, we spoke to Josh Barnard, Marketing Co-ordinator at Pentesec. We’ve been working with Pentesec for several years now, but in recent months we’ve been particularly impressed with how they’ve pivoted their marketing activity due to the challenges the coronavirus has thrown at them – so we thought this would be an ideal time to catch up with Josh.

Here’s what he had to say…


Describe your job - what do you do?

I head up the company marketing function and coordinate all the different elements of our activity. I own the strategy and oversee how the different parts are implemented across our collateral, digital presence, events and our training centre. 

I manage the relationships with external agencies, vendor and distribution marketing teams, and work with them to implement targeted campaigns to drive lead generation and course attendance, through a number of different channels.

What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role?

Organisation - I still get caught out if I haven’t labelled my notebooks correctly. You need to be determined, confident and know your data or you’ll come unstuck. You absolutely have to be prepared to be told, “No, you can’t spend that money.” And, most importantly, you must have a sharp suit.

What's been your career highlight so far?

My absolute highlight has to be performing with my band to Robert Plant and Keira Knightley at a private brewery opening in London. But, as we’re discussing marketing, it would have to be when I was interviewed by ITV News at 10 in my previous role, that was a cool experience.

Tell us about a typical working day…

Everyone knows the day does not truly start until the third cup of coffee. 

I normally go through emails and organise the social posts in the morning, then I will read through the industry news sites and see if there’s any notable news involving any of our vendors. I’m always working on at least three or four things at a time, whether that’s a vendor campaign, an internal campaign, a piece of sales literature or analysing data.

How do you measure your success?

I measure a range of metrics that feed into the data we use in our decision-making. The activities I’m involved in drive additional leads into the business and help to promote our Authorised Training Centre to the industry community, and those are both measurable in our revenue.

I want our customers and our course attendees to have a really good experience when they deal with our business and our Authorised Training Centre. Everything I do is geared towards providing that – so I take our customer feedback very seriously.


What do you love about working in marketing? What don’t you enjoy as much?

I love the people and the buzz that tends to come with marketing. I love seeing something I’ve worked on coming to life on paper or screen. I love the strategy and planning that goes into it.

I don’t enjoy being surprised with something at the last minute, that’s not so much fun – but I used to be a chef, so I can take the heat.


What are your favourite tools to help you to get the job done?

Microsoft Teams has been a blessing in recent months. I use Planner in Teams to co-ordinate my tasks and keep myself organised with the vendor activities. 

I don’t know if many people still do, but I handwrite all my notes in dotted Moleskine notebooks…and I write in pencil a lot of the time. A good labelling system is a must though - otherwise it’s a lot of page-turning to find the right thing!


What has been the biggest change in marketing that you've witnessed during your career?

There have been too many to count if I’m honest, but I’d have to say that the growing popularity of content and taking a data-first approach have to top the list. The focus on the customer journey has become a lot more important too.


What do you think will be the next big change that marketers should be looking out for?

I’m not really sure on this one - there are going to be a few. Aside from the shift away from conferences, exhibitions and physical events due to COVID-19, we’re going to have to find new ways to network and meet people. It’s a lot harder to cultivate relationships in a digital world – there’s too much room for misinterpretation. 

My second guess would be AI - I am intrigued to see what that does for our ability to analyse data and learn about our customers.


What's your top marketing tip for 2020?

Hold on tight. It’s going to be interesting, and you’re going to have be prepared to adapt.


Do you have any advice for other marketers who want to work in your sector?  

Pay attention to everything. Consume as much information as you can. Handwrite your notes, you will retain more information. And come up with a system to keep on top of all the partner activity.


We’d like to thank Josh for sharing his insights with us – some of the questions were probably particularly tricky to answer right now, but he’s certainly given us food for thought!

What did you think about Josh’s answers – is there anything you really agree with, or would like to share your own views on? If so, we’d love to hear from you – email us at to have your say!