I graduated from my undergrad with a BBA concentrating in Marketing; I knew coming out of school that I wanted to work in Marketing. I graduated in the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis. The job market had been devastated, and few companies were hiring at the time I first started looking for work. As a result, it took me a couple months, and a couple dozen applications, before a company was willing to take me on.
I love the storytelling aspect of marketing. When marketing is done well, it creates a story around a product or service that enhances a consumer’s enjoyment of it. Nike understands this implicitly when they market their performance apparel and shoes. That brand building and storytelling is the reason I got into marketing in the first place and continues to be the reason I enjoy it today.
I study karate in my spare time. As a martial artist, many of the principles of my training apply to the workplace and have made me both a better employee and a better leader. For example, in my training, we place a paramount importance on the fundamentals and basics. It’s amazing how often we forget this in the day-to-day of our jobs, as we chase the next shiny new object.
What every marketer needs to have
Today’s marketers need to be comfortable working with numbers. In our increasingly competitive economy, there’s an ever-growing insistence upon marketers to provide an ROI that justifies their spending. There’s also an increasing access to data that allows savvy marketers to make smarter decisions.
Another important trait is adaptability. Being able to pivot quickly and take a new direction is going to be one of the most important skills of the next decade, not just for marketers but for all business functions.
What I would say to someone looking to be the next “me” is, have an idea of the type of work that you’d love to do, but don’t fixate on a specific company or job title. So many people get hung up on title that they say no to opportunities that would offer them exactly the type of work that motivates them in the first place. By focusing on exploring what you love to do at work and then chasing positions that allow you to do more of that, you can stay focused on doing what you love while keeping an open mind toward new, unexpected opportunities.
New and emerging technology
Technological innovations like VR and AR will allow marketers to bring new experiences and ways for consumers to engage with their brands. Developments in Big Data are already enabling mass customization, where consumers receive offers, suggestions and messaging that is tailored to their specific consumption patterns; that trend is only going to continue in the future, as companies find their stride and begin building out the infrastructure to capitalize on their rich data reserves.
What is success
Success is such a subjective term. Some people define success by their title, salary, or other external reference that allows them to compare themselves to others. The reality is that, unless you’re Warren Buffett, there’s always going to be someone smarter or richer than you. I don’t look at work as some grand competition.
For me, success is about doing work that I love to do; work that makes an impact while also giving me the work-life balance to do all of the things I enjoy doing in my spare time. I’ll never be a CEO, because that goes against my personal definition of success.
Ultimately though, the fundamentals of business success haven’t changed over the years: treat people like human beings, begin with the customer need in mind, and as Simon Sinek says, start with why.