What does a marketing career look like today? Post COVID.
While ‘post COVID’ is a little premature, the current sentiment in the market really lends itself to thinking about what a career in marketing looks like today.
In the past, there was almost a sure ride from marketing intern to marketing graduate, then depending on which direction you decided to head, a slow ride through from Marketing Executive to Marketing Manager. For the lucky few (those who worked the hardest), Chief Marketing Officer or as we like to call it, CMO.
The marketing industry has evolved at an alarming pace, mostly because of technology and the changing needs of the professionals who work in this field.
Those reluctant to change have fallen behind, while those who embrace (or should it be invented) change find themselves ensconced in this virtual world where you can be anything you want to be, you just have to be prepared to make it happen.
As a person who hires marketers in my businesses around the world, I am always interested in the journey in which a marketer takes. If they sit still for too long, they tend to rust. If they move too quick, they never get their hands dirty enough to be “employable” and so on.
But over the past 12 months or so, there has been change.
For those that hopped from one job to another, “we all understand”. Our thoughts go straight to how tough the market has been.
The marketing professionals who took up marketing consulting, are admired immensely, if only in name, waiting for the next opportunity.
Then you have those marketing professionals that have hung tight, knowing that the grass is not greener on the other side, and in ‘bad times’ it’s important to hold on to what you have.
Mental health issues are on the rise and for anyone who has been stuck at home and not able to get on with life, it’s been a struggle. The fast education that many managers and business owners have had with understanding mental health and showing compassion, has led to a lot of days away from the office, often affecting productivity.
What business leaders know now, is something many just didn’t understand in the past and were perhaps less forgiving. Hindsight is a beautiful thing.
To climb the ladder today in marketing, marketers need:
Know what you want, when you want it and how you are going to get there. Without a clear vision and plan in place, you might find yourself underwhelmed with choices, and not in a position that you feel like you deserve.
I’m not talking about a degree qualification. Some marketers believe it or not, have risen to the highest positions without a piece of paper. Marketing is a career that is robust, always changing and that quite simply requires constant learning and development.
Curiosity killed the cat, but in marketing, it does the opposite. How curious you are as a marketer and how willing you are to experiment, will literally make or break you. Be curious. Know the ‘why’, the ‘how’ and the ROI.
If you are not data driven and you are in marketing, don’t expect to rise up the ranks. Data is everything, and matched with good creativity and content, can turn an average brand into an extraordinary one. Using data to develop marketing strategy through Robotic Marketer or knowing how to read Google Analytics or data from any marketing related campaign – is imperative to your success as a marketer. Every manager loves nothing more than a marketing professional that can back up their ideas with data.
Marketing consultants or anyone that peers past being a junior need to understand psychology. It isn’t just about the psychology behind why people buy from your company over a competitor, but also about your peers, suppliers and alliances. Knowing how to read people and adjust accordingly is a game-changer for any buddying CMO.
It’s one thing to say you are competent and another to show it. Being competent in marketing is doing an exceptional job every single time without others making changes to your work. It is having a thirst for marketing and being able to read the market, understand the best strategy going forward and collaborate when need be. Competence is the hardest thing to find in marketers because it’s a career where there is a lot of ‘faking it until you make it’. Someone good at sales, sells. Someone great at public relations, gets stories written about the client. Someone who is good at digital marketing, has a strong following on social media and can produce email marketing campaigns that result in sales.
Sometimes realizing that marketing is changing so fast that we can’t possibly keep up, but need to, is the best lesson you can learn. It allows you to prioritize your work and life at every stage. The minute you think you know everything, is when you actually don’t know anything at all.