For many marketing professionals today, the world of marketing they entered just a few short years ago, or many years ago, most likely does not fit what they expected.
On-the-job learning has become the norm. Different industries and markets can take marketers down different career paths. Depending on their experiences in consumer marketing or business marketing, marketers find themselves living in cultures with their own set of norms and lingo. Jumping to a completely different industry or market then can become a scary thing to do.
Role Definition Is Limitless
If you never heard of marketing and you find yourself at a party with a hundred marketers, you are bound to get fifty different answers to the question of “what do you do in marketing?” The possible answers can seem limitless.
Think about it: product marketer, content marketer, campaign marketer, marketing copywriter, social media marketing specialist, marketing analyst, field marketing, public relations specialists, and solutions marketer – to name just a few. As technology invades marketing, we will see even more possible answers, such as marketing technologists, marketing data scientist, and marketing automation specialist.
The possible degrees of specialization can make for marketing professionals a dizzying array of choices yet finding roles in “general marketing” becoming scarcer.
One of the consequences of specialization is marketers can become knee-deep in processes, technology, data, automation, and other areas of specialties. Failing to draw connections to the dots that bind them.
Losing sight of the bigger picture can be a real problem. What is the bigger picture? The bigger picture relates to understanding customers. Marketers can find themselves living in a world of deadlines, tasks, campaigns, and the likes. Becoming consumed in an area of specialty with little opportunity to engage in the bigger picture.
In the ever-changing world of marketing, one of the best things marketers can do to advance their careers is this: have a relentless focus on understanding customers and buyers. This is what pulls you out of the quicksand of your specialty.
Yes, jobs can become like quicksand. Struggling to stay afloat. Never really getting the chance to pull yourself up and out so you can see the world where customers and buyers live. This applies to whether you are a marketing manager or the Chief Marketing Officer. You have to find a way to pull yourself up and out of the quicksand.
What a relentless focus on understanding customers and buyers can do for your marketing career is be the spark of creativity, which I am sure drew you to marketing in the first place. What marketers need to be wary of is expending all this creative energy on making process or automation better but it draws no connection to customers.
When you focus in on the customer relentlessly, then this pent-upped creative energy is focused on how to meet the goals of customers and buyers. The creative energy then is spent on how to draw closer to customers. This is where all the good ideas and suggestions live. Want to get noticed and contribute? Find ways to suggest and recommend how your company can draw closer to the customer. Draw the connection of what you do to how it draws the organization closer to customers.
Whether you are just starting out or you are leading the marketing organization, leading with putting customers first makes for a successful career.
This then is the secret to a successful career in marketing – to be relentlessly focused on customers and buyers.