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Real-Life Lessons You Learn While Working In Marketing

A Career In Marketing Will Teach You…

Do you remember walking into your first day at your new marketing agency job?

I do. A lot has changed since then.

Progress has been made, lessons have been learned, but it didn’t come without a period of serious self-reflection and a thirst for self-improvement.

Whether you’re a seasoned veteran, or you’re just beginning your career in marketing, these three real-life lessons will resonate with you:

Real Life Lesson #1

Congratulations, you’ve been assigned to a team responsible for creating a pitch to entice a new client.

The client is big, landing it would greatly benefit the health of your agency as a whole and more importantly, this is an opportunity to prove that you belong in the big leagues.

Your team has a flash meeting detailing the expectations of the project and the guidelines of the deliverables. You disperse, eager to reconvene to present your ideas the following week. As you meticulously scale your ideas from individual pieces to full-fledged lead generating machines, you realize you find yourself attached to one idea in particular. You spend extra time fleshing it out, confident that your team will react positively to it.

It’s presentation day. When it comes your turn to speak, you present your favorite idea with pride.

To your dismay, it’s met with half-hearted encouragement and blank stares. Someone in the back asks if you have any other ideas, you shift your eyes down your paper as you read off other concepts you had already written off as worthless in your mind. They stop you on one, imploring you to elaborate.

You realize the more you speak about your scrapped idea the more the team is drawn to it. You attempt to rationalize any way in your mind that they could possibly find value in such a half-baked plan. But you fail to understand that oftentimes an idea you deem as your worst can actually end up being your best.

Your Worst Idea Can Be Your Best Idea

Whenever I’m presenting ideas, I try to eliminate my own personal bias from my presentation. That way, I ensure all my ideas have a fair chance to be critiqued as opposed to presenting the one I feel most strongly about.

It’s extremely important to do this, especially in a brainstorming session. Sometimes, you just miss the bigger picture of what your idea could become. The best projects are ones where bits and pieces from everyone’s ideas come together to create something spectacular. Never hold back your ideas, what appears to be silver to you may be gold to others.

Real Life Lesson #2

Many people working in marketing are perfectionists.

That’s a double-edged sword. On one end, it allows them to meticulously attack things from all angles, ensuring everything exceeds their standards. On the other, when things fail, the burden weighs on them harder than most. Feelings of doubt, questioning one’s ability and skill, these are all common when something you’ve invested so much time and effort in collapses in front of your face.

That’s the ultimate price we pay working in a creative industry. Sometimes, no matter how many tests you run, no matter how many times things were discarded, revised & reborn–you will still fail. We’re in the business of data-driven decision making. But sometimes, no matter how many signs point to success, failure is inevitable.

Let me tell you a little secret–if anyone in marketing achieves great success & tells you that they were absolutely certain their efforts would succeed, they are lying.

You Will Fail, And It’s Okay

We cannot predict reception. All we can do is infuse as much creativity and passion into a project, reinforce it with a bulletproof strategy and release it into the world. That’s it. Confidence is good, but nothing in life is certain. This rings especially true in marketing.

For every Dilly Dilly! campaign, there are thousands of others with equally as much creativity and effort put into them, washed away by mixed reception and a negative return on ad spend. This isn’t to dissuade you from putting your absolute most into something and being confident. If anything, you should be motivated to think outside the box to create something spectacular.

Failure shouldn’t stifle your ability to achieve. It should motivate you to keep pushing to achieve something spectacular. If you’re truly talented at this, your number of failures will be vastly outweighed by special times in which you hit the ball out of the park.

Real Life Lesson #3

When you first start working, you may envision a job where you are the end-all-be-all of everything accomplished. A job where everything goes without a fault. All your ideas are accepted, everything you touch turns to gold. All your tasks are completed without any assistance from others. This is not reality.

The reality is clients who question your skill, a barrage of “no, that idea won’t work”, and staying late to push through last minute deadlines. The fast-paced agency environment can be brutal. Without the support of your team, you will be crushed by the weight of all that around you.

Your Team Is The Only Thing You Have

Your team, without exaggeration, is the only thing you have in this industry. When push comes to shove, they are the ones who will have your back. Always motivating you to accomplish things, even when your spirit is damaged. Releasing your ego, understanding that you are not the hero of the story is crucial to achieving success within the industry. Behind every good marketer is a great team that works with them in tandem to accomplish all goals.

I struggled, and learned from, each and every one of the above life lessons during my initial few months working in marketing.

Trust me, having a solid grasp on these three things will only help further your career. The landscape of marketing is ever-changing. Being the best version of yourself possible, ensures you can accomplish any task laid before you.

For your next big marketing push, utilize our free marketing checklist to ensure the best chance of you crushing all expectations. 

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… And if you happened to find this blog interesting, you may also like our “Tell-Tale Signs You Work For A Marketing Agency” blog!