Modern Marketing Blog

5 Lessons to Learn Early in Your Marketing Career

December 27, 2011 By: Michelle McGinnis

Today's guest post comes from Geeta Sachdev, Senior Vice President of Marketing at SolarWinds and a contributor to the Real World Marketing Syllabus. She oversees the company’s Web, marketing and corporate communications functions. A former Executive Director at Dell, she has experience in a variety of global roles – from marketing to e-commerce to call center.

In marketing, there are all the basics you learn in school, and then there’s everything else. When it comes to continual education, nothing beats the knowledge and resources you can access within a healthy, forward-thinking enterprise.

Nevertheless, there are lessons any marketer would do well to learn early in their career. Here are the five best pieces of advice I’ve gathered working in the field over the years.

1. Move into a P&L role as soon as you can.
Learning how to keep up with the rapid pace of your company’s market and being accountable for hitting revenue targets will supply you with an early advantage. Accountability expands your understanding beyond a particular skill set to understand how a business works across a variety of functions. That earned agility is invaluable within today’s enterprise.

geeta-sachdev-solar-winds2. Get experience outside of marketing.
There are very few marketeers in the world today. Instead, we have General Managers residing within the marketing function. As you move up the ladder, you need to establish trust with senior leadership. The only way to do that is to gain proven experience with various functions. Volunteer for rotations within customer service or product support. Approach the sales leaders and let them know you’re available for projects. This will establish trust and a common vocabulary that will serve you throughout your career.

3. Think quantitative, not just qualitative.
Marketing no longer lives or dies by stories of anecdotal success. If you’re going to thrive, you’ll need a solid grasp of what makes up quantitative success. It’s important to understand and assess return on investment (ROI) and to be able to communicate that analysis internally. Senior leaders will take a shine to your results if you can produce numbers.

4. Communicate, communicate, communicate.
In direct mail’s heyday, you had a proven formula for success. But now A+B=C formulas are harder to come by. That means your ability to communicate your value and track record with senior leadership is more vital than ever. There are always issues impacting your business that you haven’t considered yet. The more you communicate with senior leaders, and across departments, the more these issues are revealed.

5. Find a company that will invest in you.
There was a time when many people got an entry-level job and worked their way up the chain. These days you’re more likely to work at multiple companies as you advance. The best thing you can do now is work for an organization that will invest in you by providing you with opportunities to progress in your career and master various skills. You can’t be an expert in a single space in a mere six months. It takes time. Career opportunities will come, but you need to ready for them.

For more marketing guidance like this, along with links to weeks worth of marketing resources, download our free Real World Marketing Syllabus by clicking the image

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