8 Signs You Might Be Destined to Work in Marketing
Are you a natural at highlighting the positive? Do you think about the best way to communicate what you have to say? Do your friends all think you’re the creative one?
These abilities all seem to play a substantial role in a marketing career for the casual observer. But with any big decision, it would be foolish to make a commitment based on a best guess. If you’re thinking of working in marketing, it helps to hear from those already “in the know” to confirm whether this career would be a good fit.
Would marketing be a good career path for you? To help you make that determination, we asked marketing professionals to share their perspective on what qualities are truly needed to work—and excel— in marketing.
You should consider working in marketing if …
Gleaned from marketing professionals, the following are traits and characteristics that the best marketing professionals share:
1. You’re naturally curious
Did you drive your parents up a wall by constantly asking “Why?” as a child? Has that spirit of curiosity stuck with you as you’ve grown older? If you love figuring out how things work and why people do the things they do, you might be well suited for a marketing career.
Eric Carrell, marketing advisor at Surfshark, believes that being open to innovative ideas and having the drive to learn about new topics are essential for effective marketing.
“A marketing executive should be inspired to explore some part of the market that is outside of their knowledge, just as an engineer could be driven to study a new bridge's construction technology to obtain a better grasp of how it operates,” Carrell says. “This kind of interest will cause a shift in the manager's perspective, which could lead to future breakthroughs.”
Being able to observe what’s working elsewhere, dig into how it works and adapt to your own situation is a valuable ability in many marketing roles—and curiosity is the spark for making it happen.
2. You have plans for everything
Are you the type to have a back-up plan for nearly any situation? Or someone who naturally has to think through every step ahead of them when starting a new project. This can come in handy in marketing. Marketing isn’t about coming up with creative ideas off the cuff and rushing to make them happen—it takes some serious thought to do things well.
If you’re the type who has a contingency plan for every situation, this is an advantage for you in marketing, says Daniel Foley, chief marketing officer at Scooter Guide.
“You may believe that those who work in marketing come up with creative ideas on the spur of the moment and rush to implement them,” Foley says. “However, in reality, it takes
considerable forethought and strategizing to ensure their message lands with the greatest impact.”
3. You’re adaptable
For some, there’s a sense of comfort that comes from a consistent routine. Marketing is not the field for these people. Marketers, particularly those who work for agencies with multiple clients, are constantly in a state of flux. This means you’ll need to be adaptable and comfortable working with different audiences, tactics and tools on regular basis.
“It is the most adaptable people who do the best in marketing,” says Caroline Hoy, head of marketing at Concord. “Established ways of doing things can be upended by a Google® announcement. At any point during a project, a skilled marketer can pivot, adapt and adjust their whole focus. They don't get too invested in a single strategy.”
4. You’re analytical
If something goes wrong in your life, are you typically able to quickly pinpoint the cause and correct it? Failure, when properly analyzed, can provide incredibly useful information if you know how to approach it. Every marketing professional will have their fair share of failures, but the best know how to grow from their mistakes.
“Being strong at analytics and reporting helps make sure you know what is working and what is not,” says Michael Shearer, director of marketing operations at SelectHub. Knowing this information means you can identify what to continue doing and what to stop. With so many digital marketing channels and tactics now, these types of analytical skills are necessary for success, according to Shearer.
5. You’re creative
There’s a ton of competition for people’s attention out there. One of the best ways for marketers to catch the eye of their audience is to provide them with something they’ve never seen before. That’s one of the ways creativity becomes a big help in marketing. If you’re always up for a brainstorm or like talking through big, sometimes wild, ideas, you might be a natural fit.
“Creative, unique personalities who are really able to recognize trends quickly do well in marketing,” explains Ryan Brown, marketing director at Kenra Professional. “They often have experience in or highly appreciate creative pursuits like film, theatre, visual art and music because these things help broaden a person’s worldview and understand the world through different perspectives. Plus, they are all centered around storytelling, which is super important as a marketer.”
6. You’re empathetic
Do you have an innate ability to feel what others are feeling? That’s a good sign if you intend to work in marketing. Marketers spend a lot of time and energy trying to get into the minds of their potential customers. A strong sense of empathy is a valuable asset for anyone looking to work in this field.
Being able to step outside your own mind and view a product or service from the perspective of who’s buying it is a big part of the job, according to Chris Nddie, marketing director at ClothingRIC.
“You're not the target audience, even though you share the same demographics and psychographics as the people you're selling to because you're too familiar with the product
or service,” explains Nddie. “Developing empathy for the end customer is critical to marketing to them successfully.”
7. You’re in tune with the latest trends and news
Do your friends tell you that you’re the one they consult for the latest fashions, fads and trends in the world? If you love to keep on top of what everyone’s talking about, reading or doing lately, this passion is one that’ll definitely come in handy as a marketing professional.
“Be a student for life,” recommends Paige Arnof-Fenn, founder of Mavens and Moguls. “Do you know which movies won at the box office? Books on the NYT best seller list? Top Billboard and Grammy songs? Oscar winners? Even if it is not your taste, you need to know about these things and have an opinion. A career in marketing and communications is about relevancy. You have to keep your antenna up, always looking for the next way to make something better.”
8. You’re a good storyteller
Are you comfortable with sharing ideas and relating anecdotes to a variety of different people? Do you find that when you tell stories at parties, people laugh, smile and ask follow-up questions? If so, you’re already equipped with a key marketing skill: storytelling.
“Storytelling does not only mean informing about a new offer or presenting the advantages of a brand,” says Karol Nowacki, acquisition manager at Tidio. “It requires the marketer to
understand human emotions and motivations to communicate with them even more
effectively in an engaging way.”
Do you have what it takes to work in marketing?
After learning more about the essential qualities of a successful marketer, do you think you’re a natural fit for the field? If you can relate to the traits above, you already have a great start.
If you’re ready to take the next step and pursue a career in marketing, a Marketing degree can certainly help. But what else will you need to succeed? Our article “How to Get Into Marketing: Advice for Launching Your Career” can certainly help.
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EDITOR’S NOTE: This article was originally published in 2017. It has since been updated to include information relevant to 2021.