Marketing Career Direction
True Blue Marketing is proud to announce that its principle marketing consultant & owner Chris Mellor-Dolman has become a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (FCIM). Chris has been a Chartered Marketer (MCIM) for over two decades, and he’s honoured and delighted to now be awarded the top class membership by the CIM.
Fellowship status recognises marketers achieving the highest level of commitment and credibility within the profession. It demonstrates a pledge to keeping up to date and is awarded on a combination of senior level strategic experience, qualifications and an exceptional track record.
With his lifelong commitment and experience in mind, in this blog Chris provides advice for anybody looking to develop a career in marketing.
start with honesty
Is your perception of marketing right? If you’re thinking of starting a marketing career because it seems like an easy option with heady days spent filming in glamorous locations and endless client lunches then think again. The bottom line is that marketing is constantly changing and thus challenging. It has to drive commercial success, and in the digital marketing era it’s more accountable than ever, and rightly so. We should all want to know how our efforts are contributing to the success of the organisations that we’re working for, otherwise, why invest in marketing activity in the first place? By all means aspire to become a top marketer at Apple or Nike, but recognise that you’ll have to do the hard graft by gaining lots of varied marketing experience and proving your worth with outstanding results to get to those heady heights.
All of that said, my own decision to follow a lifelong career in marketing has never been in question. Through college and university I had an initial interest that quickly developed into a passion for all things marketing. For me, this early self-awareness of what drew me in and fascinated me has been the key to a long-lasting love for my profession.
So is marketing right for you? Without getting too philosophical (bear with me, I’m trying hard here!), the best method I’ve ever found for defining ‘your thing’ is the Japanese concept of ‘Ikigai’, which means ‘reason for being’. It’s about your direction and purpose in life and the things that make it worthwhile. Ultimately, it’s one of your main reasons for getting up each day. Quite simply, Ikigai asks four key questions:
1. What do you love doing?
2. Are you good at it?
3. Could you get paid for doing it?
4. Does the world need it?
If you’re considering a career in marketing then this ‘being honest with yourself’ technique is a great place to start. Answer the four questions truthfully and you’ll get a good idea of whether it’s for you or not.
Everyone has knowledge and wisdom to offer, and most want to share it. In my experience good advice is always on hand. The key is to seek out the right people who can offer it, and then ask for it.
Networking amongst professional marketers is your ‘must do’ starting place, and it’s best done using a variety of approaches:
- Start with everyone you know amongst your family, friends, colleagues and general contacts. Ask them about where they work and what their marketing function looks like. Is there anyone you can get in touch with to learn more about what they do, and is there a current marketing vacancy that you could be considered for, or perhaps the opportunity to do a short stint of work experience?
- Make connections through online channels such as LinkedIn, and find out who the leading marketing thinkers are to follow on social media. Make a conscious effort to get involved in conversations and ask questions to increase your knowledge.
- Join professional marketing bodies; the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM), the Institute of Direct & Digital Marketing (IDM) and the Digital Marketing Institute (DMI) have been invaluable in my career development. They provide extensive resources and support for marketers at every level that’s second to none to ensure that you stay up to date with all things new. Best of all you’ll have access to their membership, ensuring 100% accuracy in targeting like-minded professional marketers to discuss and share ideas with.
- Sign up for webinars and attend seminars & events (when we can again!) to learn ‘live’ across a wide variety of marketing topics. They’re a valuable source of expert thinking on current practices and they’re usually free.
Above all else, remain ever curious and never stop learning!
Marketing is fast paced and ever-changing, so I’ve always aspired to keep my skills up to date throughout my career. It started with the CIM Diploma, which I’d argue is probably the best all-round qualification for giving you a solid grounding in marketing, but as recently as this year I’ve used the time spent in Lockdown productively to study and take the final exam (a strange experience - 3 hours face-masked in an isolation booth!) to become a Certified Digital Marketing Professional with the DMI.
Whilst qualifications aren’t the be all end all they show potential employers that you’re committed to your profession and you have practical knowledge that can be applied to help grow their business. Just make sure that you choose the right course to get you to where you want to be; do your research, probe the professional marketing bodies for answers to any questions you may have and then go for it. Investing in your self-development can only be a good thing.
A common mistake made by new marketers is to think that they have to choose an industry to work in for the rest of their lives, such as fashion or food & drink for example. It’s an option of course, but a varied industry career is at least as valuable and rewarding. Many of the most proficient marketing professionals have plied their trade across a multitude of different sectors. Marketing skills are transferable, and using successful techniques that have worked well in one industry can often work even better elsewhere, which is a win-win for you and your new employer or client.
Having worked in several industries including petro-chemicals, food retailing, motorcycle apparel, construction products and workwear, I’m now applying the knowledge and experience that I’ve learned along the way to run my own marketing consultancy. I specialise in providing marketing direction, management and advice to SME businesses that want to accelerate their growth and success, and the skill set that I apply to my clients is all the better for having worked across different sectors.
So there you have it - an established marketer’s take on pursuing a career in marketing. My one piece of takeaway advice above all else is to do what you love. Whatever you choose, your work life is meant to be rewarding and enjoyable, and you’re supposed to have fun.
I wish you the very best of luck in finding your Ikigai.
True Blue Marketing provides affordable outsourced marketing services to SME’s. For more information call 07900 812391, firstname.lastname@example.org follow @TrueBlueMarketing on LinkedIn and Facebook.