5 Essential Tips To Jumpstart Your Marketing Career

July 25, 2008 at 6:12 am | Posted in Business, Communication, Generation X, Marketing, Net gens, Online marketing, Social Media, Tweens | 3 Comments
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Courtesy of jbhill via Flickr

Courtesy of jbhill via Flickr

My syndication through BrazenCareerist has made me think a lot more about my career path. In part, my vocation (online marketing) did not even exist when I was in college.

How did I get here? And how can I help others find success in their marketing careers?

I posed the following question to my friends in the WordPress Marketing Bloggers Network (WMBN): “What was the most important lesson that prepared you for your marketing career?” Their replies were insightful, honest, and practical. Here are 5 essential tips to help you on your way to a career in marketing.

I guess I would boil it down to two words: Don’t Stop. Don’t stop writing, thinking, learning, meeting people, whatever. Once you stop, you’re done. Try something new or different and if it doesn’t quite work, don’t stop, just try it a different way. Marketing is about constantly tweaking, even when it’s working.

-Rick Liebling, eyecube

As a creative guy (copywriter), it was sometimes frustrating to see the client change something that I’d worked really hard on. But then a creative director sat me down, explained that my passion was admirable, but it was their money. It’s important to state the argument, but if they don’t agree, it’s their money.

Then, we went for a beer.

-Matt Hames, Share Marketing

Continue Reading 5 Essential Tips To Jumpstart Your Marketing Career…

Why Innovation Is More Important Than Expertise In Your Marketing Career

April 23, 2008 at 5:27 am | Posted in Boomers, Communication, Generation X, Generations, Heath, Chip and Dan - Made To Stick, Marketing, Net gens, Online marketing, Tweens, Web 2.0 | 6 Comments
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I didn’t know what I wanted to do for a living until I was almost thirty. I knew what I didn’t want to do: the same repetitive tasks day after day, anything that involved lots of numbers, and in a place where I didn’t learn new things.

For me, the answer was marketing. But I can’t help thinking about the college student unsure of how to get paid for their odd smattering of talents.

I imagine that starting a marketing career these days is daunting. I would venture that more has changed about the business in the last 10 years than did in the 50 years proceeding it. How can a college student compete with elders with decades of experience behind them?

Continue Reading Why Innovation Is More Important Than Expertise In Your Marketing Career…

How Politics is the Perfect Training for Marketing

January 16, 2008 at 5:54 am | Posted in Advertising, Communication, Decision making, General, Jaffe, Joseph - Join The Conversation, Marketing, Online marketing, Politics, ROI | 1 Comment
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I never knew what I wanted to be when I was growing up, so I picked politics because at least that was something I was. And now that I’m in marketing it seems a perfect fit – it’s all about persuasive communication which is where I excelled in politics anyway. But I also feel like I missed out not having a background in marketing. I don’t speak the language (I’m not ashamed to admit that I didn’t know what ROI was until a few months ago).

Yet, as I begin to read Joseph Jaffe’s Join the Conversation, I am beginning to think that that lack might not be such a detriment after all. Jaffe cites the five (old) rules of content which are:

1) Content is created by corporations (“professionals”)…

2) Content is consumed by consumers…

3) And the two shall never meet.

4) Consumers will pay for content. (That’s not a belief – it’s an order!)

5) Content is an end unto itself.

I don’t care to speak to these point separately, but rather the entire gestalt at once. I am also thinking of politics in the way I experienced it – something of an idealized version, perhaps, but worth working towards. This post is essentially geared to a college kid who has strong skills and strong beliefs, but doesn’t know how to translate that into a career.

Persuasion through human contact

Cutting my teeth in politics (rather than marketing, say) meant that my “product” (the candidate) was required to connect with consumers/voters. A case could be made that this connection was on a shallow or expedient level, but the better the product, the better the connection. It was a rough and tumble game of persuasion. Imagine if the entry-level marketer had to figure out not how to push their message on people through established mediums, but rather had to persuade people to turn on the television in the first place.

It is the third of Jaffe’s points that is the most salient to me and in some way, it is a crux of his book. In politics, the content/product and consumer/voter engage all the time. Sure, I’m jaded too. I don’t believe that candidates always listen at those forums as much as they ought to. But I have been to enough town hall meetings and church lunches and rallies to know that those meetings do have an effect on the people, and likely an effect on the candidate (the better ones, at least).

An army of advocates

In addition, one cannot forget the mass of employees and volunteers out there advocating on behalf of the candidate. That is marketing in it’s purest form – person to person, heart to heart (if you’ll forgive the schmaltz). I went from knocking on doors, making phone calls, driving voters to the polls, and holding signs outside of polling places to eventually running a modest field campaign. While the candidate can and should be making personal connections, the vast armies behind them definitely have the human touch.

Career planning

So this is why politics was a good entry to marketing for me: because I spent time in the trenches. While I read polls, I was also talking to people in their driveways. While I watched focus groups, I was also training groups of volunteers. Politics offers a human perspective and an opportunity to listen to the consumer that (I sense) a background in traditional marketing does not. (Maybe I’m not so behind – marketing language be damned.) In this new media environment, I would venture that politics is the perfect way to start a marketing career.

Yeah right!

Then again, Jaffe says, “The heat of passion, mixed with diversity of opinion, makes for an original exchange of viewpoints, attitudes, and perspectives” (pg. 133). Are marketing and politics too different? Am I wrong about persuasion and communication commonalities? I would especially love to hear from anyone who went the opposite route: marketing first before switching to politics.

Is there a connection? What would you recommend to a college student trying to find a career path?

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