I’ve been very fortunate to have great mentors and resources made available to me early in my career and feel a responsibility to give back (and pay it forward). As a life-long learner, getting involved in the AEF is another opportunity for me to continue my own learning by engaging with future leaders in our industry, meeting bright and talented young people and building my own cross-generational fluency.
It’s an exciting time to be in marketing. The purview and responsibility of marketers has grown dramatically over the past few years and many more companies understand that brand value goes well beyond the traditional definition of marketing. Marketers now have the opportunity to contribute more broadly and deeply across the business — from employee experience to customer experience, from product to sales to retention — versus being siloed into the “department of painting and drawing” as one of my former bosses used to call it. Strategic marketers can play a role that touches nearly every aspect of a business and it’s exciting to know the impact we as marketers can have across the business. Additionally, with consumers today demanding more of brands, especially younger consumers, we have an opportunity and responsibility to contribute more to society beyond what is measured by the balance sheet. Marketers have led the charge on ESG, diversity and inclusivity and many other important societal issues and I hope we as an industry continue to lead on these fronts.
Most of the best tips I have weren’t explicitly told to me but have come as lessons learned and/or through watching others I admire. One I think that’s helpful for those early in their career is to build your personal “board of advisors” – a trusted network that can help you see and address your blind spots, challenge you and be your cheerleader and advocate, especially to others and when you’re not in the room. That said, this board of advisors is useless if you are also not coachable. You must have a growth mindset and be willing to take constructive feedback to learn and grow. Remember if it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you!
Marketing plays a central role in our culture. The work we create, especially the advertising we produce, is a mirror of our society and often has been at the forefront of societal norms. Our industry therefore must lead when it comes to living, modeling and reflecting diversity. Finally, we all know that diversity fuels innovation and creativity, both of which are the lifeblood of marketing.
I love that I can be analytical and creative in marketing; it’s truly a discipline that is both art and science. I love the creative aspect of my job — the words, the visuals, creating an experience, a feeling — but also appreciate the data-driven logical aspects of marketing. Ultimately good marketing is about building connections with people and telling impactful stories that drive towards a goal, both of which I enjoy doing! At this stage of my career, I also very much enjoy managing and leading teams. As much as I give to support the personal and professional development of my team, I gain even more in terms of the reward of seeing them succeed and grow. All of these are what excite me about the work I do.
While marketing has become very complex and multi-disciplinary and the functions that fall within marketing have grown, make sure you understand the fundamentals – know your audience, the marketing problem and how to develop a differentiating brand positioning. It’s easy to get focused on the next shiny thing (social media, AI, etc.) but the basics still matter as they make the difference between activity and impact.