Updated: May 23, 2022
Congratulations :) Welcome to the world of marketing.
A career in marketing is exciting, it can give you an outlet for creative expression, and bring you immense satisfaction when you see customers/clients brought in for brands you manage. It's important to know that while this is a very rewarding world to be a part of, it's also a highly competitive space to work in. Which is why it's important to start your career in marketing with intention. Begin your marketing journey with the right people, and environment.
What is Marketing, really?
Marketing has a foundational basis in psychology and understanding how the human mind conceives value, and responds to a certain pain point. Which is why to be a good marketer you need to understand how to communicate value through multiple perspectives. Research is a very big part of a marketer's life, but so is execution.
This is why, whenever I mentor others to help them get started in the marketing world, I always recommend starting in a fast-paced marketing agency. I know it sounds scary, but I'll tell you why this is the best way to start your career.
Get a more definitive overview of what marketing is with this article by HubSpot called: "What is Marketing and What's its purpose?"
1. Only the strongest survive at an agency
An agency often employs a Darwinian approach to marketing. Anything at play within a high-level marketing agency is there because it has survived. At most agencies, the cost of a service or deliverable is dependent on the time or resources required to complete it. Which is why if something works best, its what stays. The strongest/best solution, idea, or strategy wins because it works, and it works now.
This theory also applies to the peers you'll have around you. Agencies have a high turn-over rate, however, the quality of team/talent around you will always be impressive. You are exposed to marketers who are the best at what they do.
2. Gain a competitive edge as a marketer
Unlike a corporate environment, the fast-paced agency environment exposes you to the true chaotic nature of marketing. Where you are introduced to all facets of the delivery process and are likely to be called in/trained to provide support. Whether its development, advertising, analytics, or strategy - in an agency you see it all and you do it all. You will end up building a repertoire of skills which will guide you on your journey as a marketer.
In other words, if you do your job right at an agency: you will gain invaluable analytics, strategy, design, and even development skills. In today's competitive job market, this will help set you apart and give you a unique edge against other candidates.
3. Find your industry & specialization
If you decide to embark on a career in marketing and want to start in an agency - choose one that is specialized in an industry (for example: tech, medical, retail etc.) that you enjoy. This will allow you to work with a diverse range of businesses/clients in that industry and you'll be able to build a deep understanding of niche pain points, client particularities, specialized strategies, and finally how to navigate in the industry overall.
Additionally, working with an agency that specializes in a specific industry will allow you to discover how you as a marketer bring value to businesses within that industry. It could be that you're really good at building high-level digital marketing strategies, doing advanced analytics, or helping the web development team with an optimized design strategy for that niche client. Whatever the case, working in an agency will allow you to discover your hidden specialization as a marketer because you end up being exposed to all the facets of the service delivery process.
My last advice to you: Just go for it.
However you decide to get started with your career in marketing, just remember to have fun too! A career in marketing will teach you a lot about yourself as both a professional and individual. You will learn why people/consumers/businesses are motivated to act as they do in terms of value exchanges (purchases or selling goods/services).
It's an incredible journey and while how you start it matters, the most important step is starting somewhere. Whether that's an agency, as a freelancer, in a small business, or a large corporation - my advice is just go for it and follow your passion.
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