Google+ The Marketing Survivalist: January 2008

Tip #1 - Marketing is a profession and you should treat it that way.

As mentioned in my welcome post, I’ve collected a lot of personal tips to help me survive and excel in my chosen profession over the years. As I reviewed my list to try to determine which tip to start with, this one jumped immediately to the top of the list.

Marketing is a profession and you, as a marketing professional, should make sure to treat it that way.

I’m sure many of you have worked in organizations that just didn’t seem to respect the role of marketing. It is often typically under-funded because those in charge of funding don’t quite understand what is needed and how it translates into achievement of sales goals and other corporate objectives. (I am certain to blog on tips for getting funding at some point!)

I’ve met my fair share of math majors, engineers, biologists, ex-cops, promoted admin assistants, and former sales people looking for an easier life that now wear the title of marketing manager. To be fair to these people, many of them have become very good at the role. However, it wasn’t because marketing is easy. It is because they worked at it.

Finally, if you’ve spent any time in a marketing role you know that just about everyone else in the organization is full of advice on how you should do your job.

We can be the Rodney Dangerfields of the corporate world. However, I would contend that if you’re feeling this way, you have the power to change it. Respect isn’t bestowed in the corporate world. It is earned.

My cardinal rule for earning respect is to treat marketing like a profession. The title of doctor, accountant or lawyer comes with a certain amount of inherent credibility. However, these professionals also do many things to continue to earn this respect everyday.

  • Continue to learn. Most professionals are required to continue to take continuing education courses. Without this constant refresher, what they know becomes quickly out of date. Marketing is the same way. The world of marketing changes every day with advances in social media, new laws that govern what we do, and new methods for reaching new audiences. Even if your degree is in marketing, as mine is, what we learned in school is hopelessly out of date without constant refreshing. Since there is no one standing over our shoulders telling us that we have to earn a certain amount of course credits, we must develop the discipline to continue our learning on our own.
  • Marketing is a science. Back up hunches with evidence. Poor marketers go into meetings with hunches, gut feels, and opinions that aren’t backed with a lot of facts. Hunches can be outstanding, and for many scientists, these can lead them down the path to marvelous breakthroughs. However, hunches usually have to have a scientific basis before money is spent on them. If you have no evidence to back up any of your hunches, you won’t be taken seriously for very long and you will probably lack funding for your initiatives.
  • Marketing is a science. Collect the facts. Every campaign, every initiative, is an experiment that we can learn from. The metrics that you can measure on any specific campaign are almost limitless and really depend on what is most important to you. I focus my team on cost per qualified lead. When we test various campaigns, I may change different variables, but the metric of cost per qualified lead remains the qualifier for marketing methods we continue to fund vs those we discontinue.

    In my first blog post I’ve discovered something fascinating. It’s really difficult to keep your post to a reasonable length when you have lots to say. With this really light touch on marketing as a profession I will now turn it over to you. I welcome your thoughts on how you have earned respect within your own organization and career.
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Welcome to my blog!

I’ve been in a marketing role in one capacity or another for the better part of two decades. Over the years I have developed quite a list of personal tips for surviving and excelling in my chosen profession. Like many, I’ve thought, “Someday I will write a book.” Of course, like many of you, I’ve been too busy with my day job to find the time to pen said tome. I am hoping that blogging will allow me to vent some of this pent up urge to share my experiences and to give advice.

I’m not Seth Godin. I’m not Tom Peters. Frankly, I’m not even close. However, I have had some pretty good successes over the last twenty years. I’ve also had some really great “opportunities for learning” when things haven’t gone so well. Most of all, I’ve had so much fun that I can’t imagine doing anything else.

I hope that sharing some of my thoughts on marketing will help others relate and learn from my experiences just as I have learned from so many others.


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