We all remember our first job. No, not the Saturday shift in your local supermarket – the first time you received financial compensation for doing something you really wanted to do. Today’s guest writer is George Robson, who is but a few weeks into his marketing career and has already learned loads. If you’re similarly at the start of your journey, here are some tips from George to make the most of that first step.
Over to George…
After only one month in education marketing, I’ve undergone a transformation from an inexperienced and clueless English Literature Grad to a marketer with some idea what he’s doing (occasionally). I’ve already learned one heck of a lot, after a baptism of fire, which I’ve condensed into three lessons for the fresh-faced marketer.
One: Think, don’t react
Being keen and eager to impress right from the get go, I’d rush into activities without giving myself time to think. My manager, who is the only other person in the Marketing department here but has a wealth of experience, simply told me to stop, take it slow, and think about the end goal. This advice has been invaluable.
Thinking the task through, by weighing up all the options and selecting the best one for the job, seems obvious. But so much of marketing is reactive; due to the speed of the industry, thanks to the internet and ever-changing trends, there often feels like a constant need to react instantly. Fortunately I now know that being reactive often just wastes more time. You usually have to go back to square one because your rushed attempt at a solution did nothing to meet the goal at hand, as you didn’t take the time to sit back and think about what it was and how best to approach it. Once you’ve sussed out all angles, then it’s time to attack.
This leads nicely into the second, equally important lesson.
Two: Scrutinise everything
Look at past work, look at your work, and look at the goal with the eyes of a cynic.
In an educational setting, the material produced and campaigns run are often cyclical as they happen year on year. From the creation of the prospectus, organising the open evenings, and managing conversion activities for applicants, it has typically been done before. But just because it’s been done before, it doesn’t mean it can’t be improved nor that it was the best, most effective way to achieve the goal. True, past work may not need fixing. But, producing innovative content is the best way to beat your competitors – doing the same thing every year certainly won’t do that.
Also, look at what you have done and scrutinise that too. I’m not saying to be overly self-critical. Just look at your past work, from your now more experienced and knowledgeable perspective, and decide what you’d do differently going into the future.
Look at what went before, look at the competition, and improve your campaign/ product/ collateral in any way you can as a result of this scrutiny.
But, how can you just improve things, if you’ve literally no experience?
Three: Be a sponge
Finally, and perhaps most importantly (otherwise I wouldn’t be able to write this), be a sponge and soak up as much knowledge and experience from as many people as you can.
This is so easily overlooked. I am always looking to my manager for knowledge and advice, asking questions and doing as many different tasks as I can to gain more experiences to draw upon.
But I am also looking externally, keeping the question ‘Where else can I learn?’ in mind. Listen to all the people you encounter on a daily basis, make the most of LinkedIn, and digest all the online content you can. Just by putting myself out there on LinkedIn, forming connections with industry professionals I both have and haven’t met, I have already amassed a lot of knowledge from various marketing related posts and have an array of contacts to look upon for examples of best practice. On top of this, the amazing array of industry experts willing to expel their knowledge in blogs and podcasts means you’re never far away from a golden nugget of information.
With this in mind, I plan to just keep plodding along and doing what I’m doing. I will keep learning, keep thinking like a marketer, and always be looking to improve my practice and the work that has preceded me.
You can find George on LinkedIn