Experts Share What They Wish They Knew Before Working in Marketing
By Aaron Lawrence on 04/27/2015
You probably have a friend or family member working in marketing and have always been intrigued by the field. Now that you’re considering going back to school, it’s time to do some research about the career. You’ve seen every episode of Mad Men—but is that really an accurate portrayal of working in marketing today?
It’s logical to want the inside scoop on a profession before investing the time and money needed to acquire the proper education and training. Unfortunately, you can’t just test it out for a few weeks and change your mind.
But we have the next best thing: behind-the-scenes insight from seasoned marketing experts. We asked our panel of pros what they wish they knew before entering the field. Their firsthand advice will give you a sneak peek at what it’s really like working in marketing.
Before working in marketing, I wish someone told me …
1. Marketing involves creativity
When someone mentions creativity careers, positions like writers, graphic designers or illustrators are top of mind. But working in marketing requires a surprising amount of creativity, according to Shashwat Singh, co-founder of digital marketing firm Linx Digital.
“The whole process of figuring out a solution to a tricky problem is quite enjoyable,” Singh says. He explains that marketing forces you to think creatively and when you finally have that lightbulb moment, it’s very satisfying.
2. The industry is constantly in flux
"I feel like it is a journey and you will learn things every day."
If you’re looking for a job in which you can remain stagnant and never be required to learn new things, marketing is not the field for you. The industry is ever-evolving and marketing pros must adapt to developments in services, strategies and technologies. This is one of the most appealing aspects of the job, according to Jeanine Krzyzanowski, director of SEO at Teknicks.
“I feel like it is a journey and you will learn things every day,” Krzyzanowski says. “You just have to be open and willing to learn!” She recommends staying on top of industry news and trends in order to stay relevant.
3. Social media is a big deal
The emergence of social networks has been a game-changer in the world of marketing. This new focus has opened many doors for savvy marketers, according to Dana Haesemeyer, social media marketing manager at Collegis Education.*
“My favorite thing about social media is that you can try new things and pivot or adjust your strategy in real time – you don’t have that luxury in traditional advertising,” Haesemeyer says. She adds that there are drawbacks to this because social media is always on, so marketers have to be also.
4. Teamwork is essential
“Collaboration with your teammates is integral in marketing—you can’t operate solo,” Haesemeyer says. Whether you are employed at an agency or an in-house marketing team, she stresses the importance of working well with others.
Successful marketers build relationships across the entire organization—from the IT guy to the CEO. Haesemeyer encourages future marketers to be open to everyone’s ideas and never count out a team member because it’s not in their wheelhouse. “You never know who will come up with the genius idea that takes a campaign from average to extraordinary,” she says.
5. The importance of client interaction
You could be the most knowledgeable marketer in the world, but if you can’t establish good rapport with your clients, you may struggle working in marketing. Krzyzanowski remembers client interaction being one of the more difficult parts of starting out.
“All clients are not the same and sometimes certain ones will not be as nice or willing to try different ideas and strategies,” she says. She recommends maintaining an open line of communication between you and your clients, setting realistic expectations along the way so there are no surprises.
6. There are plenty of resources to make your job easier
"There are so many outlets to help you excel in your job. It's up to you to take the lead."
Education and experience will help you acquire a lot of the skills needed for working in marketing. But the good news is that you don’t have to do it all on your own. Krzyzanowski explains that there are a ton of tools available to make your job easier.
“There are so many outlets to help you excel in your job. It’s up to you to take the lead,” she says. From project management to collaboration to budget tracking, there are several assets that marketers can leverage, making it a great industry for individuals who are driven and resourceful.
Do you have what it takes?
Now that you have a better idea of what working in marketing is really like, can you picture your future in this field? If the answer is yes, use this expert advice to your advantage—they learned the hard way so you don’t have to!
There’s more professional guidance where that came from. Learn some expert tips and tricks for surviving and thriving in marketing.
*Collegis Education is the marketing vendor of Rasmussen College.