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HERstory: Ranjani Nagarajan

Marketing Manager, Email & Automation @ HubSpot
Ranjani Nagarajan Headshot

Welcome to another edition of HERstory, where we celebrate the incredible journeys of women making a mark in the marketing world. Today, we get a glimpse into the life and career of Ranjani, a powerhouse in PR, digital marketing, and email marketing.

Hailing from Chennai, India, Ranjani’s early fascination with social media blossomed into a passion that took her to Dublin City University for a Master of Arts in Social Media Communications. Embodying the spirit of resilience and determination, she overcame challenges to secure her place at HubSpot, one of the industry’s hottest companies to work for.

Ranjani opens up about her nonlinear career path, sharing invaluable insights on embracing transitions, mastering new skills, and striking a harmonious balance between work and her lifelong love for dance. She also offers sage advice on leveraging LinkedIn, obtaining certifications, seeking internships, and the art of proactivity.

As an added bonus, get a rare behind-the-scenes look at Ranjani’s typical workweek and discover her go-to tools and resources that have helped shape her successful career.

Before we dig into what you’re doing today, I’m really interested in who Ranjani was when you enrolled in the Master of Arts program at Dublin City University. As you pursued your degree in Social Media Communications, where did you imagine you’d be working when you graduated?

It all started with Orkut when I was 15 years old, when social media was just about to take over the world. The teenage me was fascinated, to say the least, about the logistics behind how social networking works and helps people to connect with each other. I spent plenty of time exploring Orkut, Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms, not only posting funny “statuses” but also building my personal brand. Social media gave me the power to write with ease, helped me hone my language and writing skills, and most importantly, made me think and have an opinion.

Right after my first Masters in Media Management, I landed a role as a PR Executive in India. Even though I loved working in PR, I couldn’t let go of my passion for social media. I pictured myself being a social media strategist managing online reputation for global brands. This was my motivation to pursue my second Masters in Social Media Communications.

Coming from a suburb called Tambaram (in Chennai, India), I was never a city girl. I hadn’t traveled much, didn’t have my passport, and wasn’t used to “city life”. I finally found the course that I wanted to pursue, but the university was based in Dublin, Ireland. It was a daunting process to get an educational loan, move out of India, and travel abroad for the first time. I had four goals in mind when I left India to pursue Masters: Complete my Masters, land a social media job, pay off my educational loan, and buy a home for my parents in India.

Social media was all I knew and I had some PR experience from my previous jobs in India. So I was hoping to end up in a role that would offer me both worlds. As a foreign student, I also had to keep in mind the type of jobs that would qualify for a work visa in Ireland. Unfortunately, organic social media and PR skills alone didn’t qualify for a work visa. So I had to upskill myself in areas like paid advertising, SEO, and data analytics, to name a few.

One thing we often don’t talk about is that careers don’t always follow a linear path. You started in PR, then digital marketing, and now you’re kicking ass in email marketing. How did you navigate those transitions, particularly learning the necessary skills from one vertical to the next?

When I started my career in 2014, I wanted to grow into my PR role. I took this growth slowly and steadily. I started off with PR management for just one client. I made a lot of mistakes when writing press releases and copy writing in general. The “digital/social media” me was a confident writer. But writing seemed difficult in the world of PR.

One exercise I started doing was pretending to write as if I’m writing a social media post and that trick worked. Bringing my social media writing skills into the world of PR not only made it easier for me to write, but also had an impact in the copy I wrote. My copy was engaging, interactive, and to the point. Eventually, I ended up handling PR management for four big corporations.

After completing my Master’s in Ireland, I landed a role as a Digital Marketing Executive at the Irish online education platform, Alison. I began my role looking after Alison’s social media presence which was definitely my comfort zone. Within a couple of months after joining Alison, there was an opportunity to work on the email marketing side of things. I had no clue about email marketing. It was particularly scary because the emails were built with HTML and CSS coding, and I had zero experience with coding.

It was challenging to learn HTML, leave alone learning how to write marketing emails. I had to simultaneously upskill on various aspects of email marketing – understanding email basics, monetization through emails, copywriting, and coding technicalities.

Fast forward a year, I managed to grasp the fundamentals of the world of email marketing and was driving business growth and monetization through email campaigns. In my five years at Alison, I grew into the various areas of digital marketing, including social media, email marketing, landing pages, campaign management, CRM, and product marketing.

I think the key to my growth was determination and having the urge to learn and upskill. I believe it’s important to step out of your comfort zone and put yourself in a challenging position. Comfort zones lack the power to enable you to explore the unexplored. Getting out of your comfort zone and doing the things that scare you enables you to discover yourself and your potential.

Dance plays a huge role in your life. We often talk about work/life balance, but it’s elusive to so many people. What are ways that you ensure you’re getting what you need to be your authentic self both in and out of the office?

I come from a background where girls were not allowed to dance. A lot of conservative families see it as a taboo career and they make sure their kids don’t end up in the entertainment industry. I was constantly demotivated from taking up dance lessons so I had to teach myself to improve my dance techniques. So it was a mission for me to build a dance career.

I started performing professionally with dance teams (in Chennai, India) when I was as young as 16 years old. When I began college, I had to manage two things in my life, both studies and dance. This is where I took my first step in balancing both aspects of my life. And I continued doing so as I pursued my Master’s in India, worked as a PR Executive, moved to Ireland to pursue a Master’s, and even after I landed a job at Alison.

I’m so used to the routine of:

  • dance rehearsals in the morning
  • attending college or going to the workplace
  • rehearsal or performances in the evening
  • then getting back home late night

I was committed to this routine for a very long time.

Dance is an important part of my life. I had to fight for my place as a dancer as I dealt with societal norms. So I don’t hide that side of me. I bring my authentic self to work by not shying away from talking about dance. I share pictures, videos, and even invite my colleagues to my performances. It’s such an integral part of me and over the years I’ve embraced it so much.

Getting to work in email marketing at a company like HubSpot is a dream for so many people interested in this career path. How do you recommend getting noticed when you’re just starting out?

I have five tips for those who are interested in building a similar career like me.

  1. Boost your LinkedIn profile:
  • LinkedIn has been a vital tool for me in getting noticed. It’s powerful when it’s used the right way. The ‘About Me’ section on LinkedIn is very important. The description you share here should make you stand out from the crowd. Convert your story, passion, and experience into small digestible bites and paint a picture for companies and recruiters to get to know you.
  • LinkedIn Recommendations are also important. Reach out to your peers, ex-colleagues, teachers, anyone you’ve worked closely with and request them to write a recommendation for you. These improvements to your profile boosts your searchability.
  1. Enhance your CV: The key to having a perfect CV is showcasing the impact you’ve driven. A lot of people list out all the things they have worked on. But it doesn’t paint a picture until you share the impact you drove with those efforts. The impact can be about the percentage of sales driven for your company, or getting a kudos from a customer, or how you went an extra mile for a coworker and the outcome of your action. Highlighting that impact is the key to getting noticed.
  2. Get certified: Consider earning certifications in digital marketing such as Google Analytics, Google Ads, Social Media Blueprint, and HubSpot CRM. These certifications will help demonstrate your urge to learn and upskill.
  3. Apply for internships or Co-op positions: I did two PR internships before landing my PR Executive role in India and one digital marketing internship before landing my Digital Marketing Executive role in Ireland. Internships give you the opportunity to gain hands-on experience and highlighting these experiences gives you an additional boost.
  4. Be proactive: Don’t wait for opportunities to come to you, be proactive and reach out to companies or individuals that you admire. It’s okay if your favorite company doesn’t have a role advertised. Send them an email about your interest in the company and how you could make a difference in an X role. This could lead to potential job offers or contracts. You’re the champion of creating your own opportunities.

As we look for jobs, it can be difficult to tell what we have to know and what we can learn in order to be hired. What does a typical week as an email manager look like?

Here’s how my typical week looks like 😄:


  • Develop comprehensive email marketing strategies based on team and business goals
  • Review performance data from the previous campaigns and adjust future campaigns as necessary
  • Update segmentation strategy based on new data or changes to subscriber preferences 


  • Plan and launch A/B tests on subject lines, email content, or other variables to optimize email performance
  • Work with other marketing teams to ensure consistency and coordination across all marketing channels
  • Set up automated email campaigns such as trigger emails


  • Analyze performance data to identify areas for improvement and make recommendations to management
  • Troubleshoot technical issues related to workflows, lists, or campaign performance
  • Develop email marketing strategies and plans for upcoming campaigns or quarters


  • Collaborate with sales or customer support teams to create email plan that supports their initiatives or addresses common customer questions
  • Attend team meetings or cross-functional meetings to share updates and collaborate on new initiatives


  • Review any pending performance data and create reports for management or other stakeholders
  • Work on longer-term projects, such as improving personalization or integrating new email marketing tools

We all love some good tricks of the trade. What are some must-have tools and/or resources that you regularly use for work? 


  • HubSpot is by far my favorite platform. I’ve been using HubSpot even before my current role. HubSpot is intuitive and very easy to use. HubSpot Academy lessons are a great place to get familiar with HubSpot tools and also Inbound Marketing methodologies.


  • As an email marketer, your numbers are your best friend. Performance metrics are the key to telling an email success story. I’d recommend learning to use Google Analytics, Looker, and Supermetrics which are among the most commonly used tools.

Social Media:

  • YouTube and TikTok are great at presenting you with the most popular and current trends in digital marketing. Digital marketing content creators are constantly posting tips and tricks on various important tools. So keep an eye out on these platforms.

Before we wrap up, could you share some of your favorite resources?

Yes, absolutely! I’d love to share a few resources.

  1. My LinkedIn profile: My LinkedIn profile is optimized to a good extent and I constantly post on LinkedIn for visibility. I’d also love to help women starting their career by boosting their LinkedIn profile.
  2. HubSpot Academy and Google Digital Garage courses: These two learning platforms are a great place for beginners to start. The courses are extensive and cover digital marketing holistically.
  3. Google Chrome Plugin: This Chrome extension helps discover fresh and high quality marketing content curated by a community of long-time marketing experts. This plugin is such a cool way to start your morning where you get to explore so many trending topics and learn from industry experts.

Free 1:1 Consultation: Be it boosting your LinkedIn profile, reviewing your CV, or just having a coffee chat, I’d love to be of help in any way I can. So please feel free to reach out to me on LinkedIn. 🙂

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