Search terms that consistently bring people to my blog are “I hate marketing job,” “I hate marketing careers,” and “why apply for marketing.” It’s because of this post I wrote back when I was applying for any kind of writing job. That post recently received a comment:
Ah, the artist’s conundrum, working a job you don’t believe in. I’m doing the same thing.
I feel for you, man! That was me for many years, although it wasn’t so much that I didn’t believe in the work but that I was being pressured to do work I didn’t want to do. I was perfectly happy being more marketing operations than marketing marketing. It was a job that needed to be done, and I was good at it.
But it wasn’t valued, at least not by my last marketing boss. When I left the team, he wanted to give my projects to his secretary. First of all, FUCK YOU. Second of all, his secretary did not want to do that stuff. That was why she had chosen to be an administrative assistant. And what was extra stupid was that there was an administrative assistant who was interested in those sort of projects, but she had been shut down so often (by this same boss) that by the time I left, she had left too.
I was so scarred from my experience at my old job that I vowed never to do marketing again. However, I’ve recently realized that “marketing” doesn’t mean the same thing everywhere. At my old company it meant, “Do a bunch of stuff that costs a lot of money that may or may not increase sales of things that are unrelated to the stuff we’re marketing.” Our team was, shall we say, a special case, and because of this, I think some people felt the need to overcompensate and put on a show of doing a lot of stuff. There was a lot of stress and pressure to meet arbitrary deadlines, and freaking out over mistakes that only mattered to the higher-ups.
Luckily, three years ago I found a job that I love with a company that I adore, and so while I’m no marketing expert, I thought I’d try to think of some tips for those, like the commenter, who are currently in marketing and hating it.
Play to your strengths. Duh, right? At my old company, I had just one boss who told me it was okay to want to be in operations. “Play to your strengths,” he said. My strengths at that time were being highly organized, efficient, meticulous, and process-oriented, all skills you need in a field that involves multiple players per project (marketing manager, marketing agency, a review committee with several members, the actual marketing operations person, etc.).
Those four words made me realize it wasn’t me, it was them, those who were pressuring me to do stuff I didn’t want to do, and that I should emphasize those strengths while applying for new jobs. While I never got a job in marketing operations, I did eventually find a great position (at the same company) as a communications manager.
Your hobby, your job. Since I was 12, I’ve wanted to be a writer. But I was always reluctant to write for my nine to five because I thought it would take energy away from my more literary pursuits. However, after freelancing for six months, I realized that wouldn’t be the case.
(Full disclosure: I was able to quit my shitty New York corporate job, move to San Francisco, and write full-time because my boyfriend was supporting me financially. I know not everyone has that option. However, I also realize now that I had enough money saved up that I would have been okay without a full-time job at least for a few months.)
I applied for blogging gigs and writing jobs, part- and full-time. It was pretty discouraging at first. I guess without professional blogging experience, I couldn’t even get a bite. Finally, I expanded my search to outside San Francisco, spotted my current workplace’s job listing, and the rest is history.
In my current job, I’m technically part of the marketing team, but my job is more writer/editor than marketer. I LOVE my job. I can’t emphasize it enough. The strengths I use every day are my writing skills and creativity, but also organization and efficiency. I blog about almost anything I want, do some author wrangling, edit, and tweet. Keep in my mind that in addition to writing, I was already blogging and tweeting well before I got this job. I’ve had a blog in one form or another since 2005, and have tweeted for fun and to market my book and other writings since 2009.
Believe in the product. It really helps. And I don’t mean force yourself to believe in it when you don’t. I mean look for a job with a company that makes something you like. Easier said than done, sure, but at least look.
What marketing really means. Another post that comes up with those “I hate marketing” search terms is this post by Remarkablogger, who says it so well:
As a marketing channel, blogging and social media are NOTHING like traditional marketing. They are the opposite of it in almost every way. You don’t have to sound like a marketing brochure. In fact, it’s way better if you don’t. Just be yourself. You don’t have to sound like Crazy Eddie the Used Car Salesman or Precious Roy (bonus points if you know who Precious Roy is).
I admit I don’t who Precious Roy is but I love this explanation of blogging and social media as a marketing channel. This is why I love my job so much. I get to be myself and write about stuff I’m interested in (which happens to fit the brand of the product). Writing this way gets readers to our blog (and by extension, the products) and creates a brand and a voice.
I don’t know if these points will help people at all, but writing this post helped me understand marketing in a new way.