What does a marketer know? What do people expect a Marketer to know?
In my experience, people have expected me to be: an expert in every social media platform (including the new one that launched recently!), an excellent public speaker, knowledgeable about digital marketing, a graphic designer, a sales person, and more.
Here is the truth:
I tried SnapChat and didn’t like it. I’ll likely never be a user, and therefore will probably never be an ‘expert’ at it.
I don’t like public speaking, and I don’t think I have to.
I don’t know much about digital marketing.
I’ve never done graphic design, but I know what I like when I see it.
I don’t get excited about closing a deal, but others can do that for me.
Marketing is an ever evolving field. So, when you have marketing behind your name, does it mean you know all there is to know about the field of marketing? No. Marketing is a huge subject, with many areas in which to specialize, not to mention continually emerging trends to keep up with.
Think of it like this: If you call yourself a hunter does that mean you have to own a bow, a rifle, .22 and a muzzle loader? Probably not. Do you know how to hunt a variety of game – like geese, deer, wild boar… an elephant? Probably not. As a hunter, you’ll likely be an expert in certain aspects of hunting, and those areas will likely be your favourites. You may expand as you develop your skills, but rarely would someone be an expert hunter in all types of game and hunting methods. This is why I cringe when I hear the term ‘expert’ in any field.
So, back to marketing. You’re in the marketing field, and you’ve been asked to tackle a new project you have limited experience in. What then? What if you went to work tomorrow and your boss asked you to integrate digital marketing into the operation. Where would you start? What is digital marketing, and should your boss expect you to know, just because you are the resident ‘marketer’? My answer is no. But, as a smart employee, you need to know where to go to learn.
I chose to write about this because when we started planning 1450MC’s 2017 event schedule, Jill mentioned Bryan Tomie. He’s a mobile specialist from Calgary and an international digital marketing professional. I didn’t admit it at first, but I didn’t know exactly what digital marketing was. I kept quiet. I’m sure that’s happened to many of us over the course of our careers: we keep quiet. But I don’t think we should! By first admitting to myself, then to my colleagues, my uncertainty regarding digital marketing, was the first step in expanding my knowledge. Since then, we three have discussed digital marketing at length, and I’ve reached out to others, done more online research, and we have booked an amazing speaker from Calgary to expand my knowledge base and yours!
Bottom line: If you don’t know, ask. Marketing is an ever-evolving profession. New trends emerge, unique skill sets are needed, and learning is constant… not an option. You don’t need to be all things to all people (didn’t our mothers teach us that a long time ago?), but someone out there is good at whatever it is you need.
For instance, if you’re not sure about bit.ly links and Instagram stories, or Facebook Live, that’s ok – someone is, and that person might not be knowledgeable in your area of expertise. At 1450MC, we are building a strong collective community of marketing and creative professionals.
Through this entire process I’ve learned I don’t need to know or do it all. I don’t need to know everything about digital marketing. I don’t need to be a graphic designer. I don’t need to be a brilliant public speaker… or a tightrope walker. I know what I am skilled at. I know where my talents lie and I can expand my network and learn from those who are excellent in their field.
About the Author
Penny Manners is co-founder of 1450 Marketing Collective, and an alumni relations and marketing specialist with Lakeland College, Vermilion & Lloydminster.
Penny has lived in Lloydminster most of her life. She volunteers her time helping start-ups with marketing, and in her free time, she enjoys playing board games with family.