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#GivingisCaring How can I Prepare for a Career in Marketing Strategy?

Interested in making better data-driven marketing decisions for B2C companies either in the entertainment or retail space.

#careers #givingiscaring #business #career-choice #career #marketing #marketingstrategy

i don't know what grade you're in, but study marketing in university, and try to do something marketing-related right now. some examples would be volunteering online as a social media manager, or find an internship somewhere. you can find stuff like that on VolunteerMatch. it's always good experience to have when applying to schools or jobs. Frank O.

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Wendy’s Answer

Making data driven decisions is a critical ability to have in marketing, as well as any business domains. It'll go a long way no matter which field you end up in.

To get ready for that, you can start with the foundation which is acquiring the analytics skills. Taking statistics class and practicing with data analysis will help. From there, it will be helpful to understand the broad set of data that will be available in the business setting. Often times, you'll have to deal with an overwhelming amount of data, and you'll need to decide what data actually matters. You can read some popular business publications and learn from the on how they use data to analyze the business situation. Once you have the right info, you can piece the data together to tell the story and help make the decision.

A few example of the publications you can check out are Think with Google, Harvard Business Review newsletter, McKinsey newsletter. They will give you some good examples of how data is used to analyze a situation and tell a story.

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Amanda, Becky, Magnus, & Owen’s Answer

Hi Aleena,

Unlike so many others out there who are struggling to narrow down their career options, you have the luxury of knowing exactly what field and industry you want to go into. With that valuable first stepping stone, you already have a major part of what you need to make meaningful strides toward your goal of becoming a Marketing Strategist.

Your next move should be to look up reputable, relevant programs or courses that you can take to improve your knowledge and gain the skills necessary to become a successful Marketing Strategist. Look out for any courses that specifically touch on data-driven marketing, B2C companies, and/or marketing in the entertainment or retail industries — the ones that touch on the interests you mentioned would definitely be ones you’d want to sign up for.

But education doesn’t stop at those programs and courses. You can also use this time to research companies in the industries you mentioned and look for the people who work in Marketing Strategist roles there (LinkedIn is a great resource for this). Similarly, research some strategies or campaigns in the real world that impress or excite you, and find out who created and executed them. You can always reach out to these real-world professionals via LinkedIn to find out more about what their day-to-day is like, how they approached and executed projects, and the Marketing career path in general. People are more approachable and willing to share than you might think!

Even if you don’t want to message them directly, you can check out their resume on their profile to find out what kind of academic and professional experience they had before landing their job. Doing this kind of research will help you identify common threads and give you an idea of the types of opportunities you should be seeking out yourself.

Amanda, Becky, Magnus, and Owen*
*Note: This answer combines input from a group of marketers with more than 40 years of professional experience — all currently working at a global tech company. We hope you find our answer helpful and wish you the best of luck!

Great feedback Judith Breen

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David’s Answer

I've been in strategic marketing for a while now, and there have been a few skills/exercises that i've found have really set me apart.

First, I research... a ton. Whenever a new challenge or idea is floated around, I go to Google and find every article i can about the subject. There is no shame in using what others have done, or taking their tricks and using them for yourself. In many cases, there is no need to redesign the wheel; go out and see what other people are doing and translate the lessons or tactics to your need. Not everything will be useful, but over time you'll have such a large book of knowledge that you'll be able to provide strategic input in real time.

Second, and this is the one that, while i'm not sure how "learnable" it is, has proven to be the thing that has the most value in marketing strategy work; learn to work in the "trees" will maintaining a view of the "forest". So many young people today get into the first marketing area that comes their way and then just continue down that path. They take the first social media analyst job they find and then try to grow to the next SM job and so one. What you end up with is a person who is really good at social media. What's wrong with that, right? Well, from my experience - and to this specific example - social media becomes strategic only when it is plugged into a larger strategy. Social Marketing becomes strategic marketing when it takes into account content, sales, lead generation, the website and other initiatives to fully support the overall marketing strategy. I find so many people that are good at what they do, but have no idea how the other parts work and that greatly limits their strategic value. I think the only reason I was able to grow this skill was because as a young professional I was forced to work in all different areas; I had to learn a lot about web and SEO and social while writing content and running campaigns. From those positions I was able to better understand how all the pieces fit together to make each piece more effective than it would have been on its own. So i guess what i'm saying is learn about all of the areas that surround your role and you'll be able to think more strategically.

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Grace’s Answer

*This answer combines input from a group of marketers with more than 40 years’ experience - all currently working at a global tech company. We hope you find it helpful and wish you the best in all of your endeavors.*

Great question!

Here's our advice:

1. Really ask yourself why you are interested in marketing strategy-- are you more interested in data mining elements, the opportunity to make a big impact, etc. Once you know that, it will be easier for you to focus on building skills in that area.

2. Preparedness involves learning on the job, not just what you learn in classes, so try to find internships in the field. Keep in mind that "Marketing Strategy" roles don't always contain that exact title, so keep your search broad. Also consider roles that allow you to be strategic and apply your learnings even if the team name doesn't involve 'strategy.'

3. Get a mentor. Leverage your networks (like your alumni network) or cold outreach to people on Linkedin to get a better understanding of they do day-to-day, industry knowledge, etc. Just ask, you never know! In addition to gaining knowledge, having a mentor widens your network exponentially. We've personally had people reach out to us and we've all been very open to it, so it's really not something to fear!

4. Research the field requirements. We don't necessarily recommend a statistics course as data analysis can involve more than just numbers. Research the field itself to get a better understanding of where you should focus your learning, and definitely get your mentor's input.

5. Learn about your audience. The most important element of marketing strategy for the industries you're interested in involves understanding your audience. If you are able to take a course that focuses on the demographics, psychographics, etc of those particular industries, it can make a difference in the skills you can bring to the role. Consider courses in behavioral economics (like sociology) and read lots of Steven Levitt.

6. Flex your critical thinking muscles. No matter the situation or data set, start getting into the habit of thinking critically and making strategic recommendations. Especially importantly, remember to ask yourself if you'd learn something else from the data if you asked a different question.

Hope this is helpful!

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Anam’s Answer

Data-driven decision making is huge! So take classes in data analytics and statistics. Also take classes in behavioral psychology and economics.

Think about what skills you want to bring to the table. Are you a writer with clever captions up your sleeve? Or are you artistic and would like to try your hand at graphic design? Or are you more of a people person and would excel at sales? Common roles associated with marketing include data sceintist, UI/UX design and product management, so try to understand marketing from a more hollistic point of view and then see where your interests fit in.

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Keith’s Answer

Marketing is a wide and expansive area of study and assisting in an organizations Marketing strategy is key role in obtaining success. In today's marketplace data is king, how to obtain this data, verify it's accuracy and determine the best use for making the most informed decisions is an extremely important process. My recommendation would be to take courses in analytics and statistics but most importantly how can you translate that data talk in a language that can be understood by the business.

There is an abundance of marketing positions that offer very exciting opportunities, what excites you most. Try to get exposure in as many areas as possible to understand what is the best fit for you as an individual.

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Alfonso’s Answer

Data driven decisions in marketing is a big ticket topic, which derives in many opportunities for you to explore. I would suggest you take classes in data analytics and statistics, this may guide you to understand how to leverage on data for extracting meaningful insights that helps an organization to adapt and better address their customer needs.

Entertainment vs. Retail space seems to be quite different worlds, try to find you inner motivation and what truly drives your passion and motivation.

Within the Retail space there are plenty of opportunities. I would also look into internships where you can be in the field next to the final customer (e.g. point of sales) to get a better flavor what the business essence is all about, and how to connect the dotes with a strategy proposition.

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Desiree’s Answer

Hi Aleena,

As part of a performance marketing team, marketing strategy is fundamental to our success. For me strategy comes together when one combines data with market knowledge. Therefore, I would think about how you can start to build your skill set to bring these two together.

First and most obvious, take marketing courses to understand how to segment a market, determine the needs and define the promotions and tactics. In my opinion, understanding the fundamentals can be applied to the skill set of how you break down a strategy. Second, dive into tuning your analytical skill set. I'd invest in courses on statistic, data mining and data analysis. Understand how you bring data together with quantitive studies and surveys to make informed decisions.

Last, being able to lay out a marketing strategy across an organization doesn't happen overnight. Think about the steps you can take to get you there . Maybe you start as a product marketing manager, campaign lead, or data analyst. Therefore, I'd say - start to get to know the various disciplines / departments within a marketing organization. Start with informational interviews - and be open to starting somewhere.


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Katrina’s Answer

Hi Aleena,

Marketing is a huge field and often lot of roles and responsibilities are mixed into one when they should be stand-alone positions. There is teh creative side of marketing (creating actual content) and the analyzing of that data. Since you mentioned data-driven, I would take some time to research all the branches of marketing to see what makes the most sense to you.

For example, when it comes to data

- Are you interested in how well social media campaigns perform? (Reach, liked, and pageviews, demographics of who is looking at content)?
-Are you more interested in how ads perform (Organic, paid,)?
-Does SEO (search engine optimization) sound intriguing? (Understanding the words that get more views for a blog post, best sites that increase reach)

Katrina recommends the following next steps:

Write down what interests you most about marketing.
Then research those different areas and what they entail (example job titles, skills required).
Look into internships where you can practice those skills. If not internships, try practicing on your own or connecting with friends and family who need marketing help.
Then start to niche down - reassessing what you like the most to point you in the direction you want to go

I agree with Katrina! Do lots of research and if you can, talk to people who are doing what you want to do. Good strategy also comes with experience and good teachers. Sign up for internships and start reading marketing publications that you find interesting. Erica Chun

Agree with Katrina too! As a data-driven marketer, leverage your experience in social media engagement by analyzing consumer behaviors, for example. Take those insights and translate them into an actionable plan. Identify the business problem you are solving for and how your strategic recommendations will make an impact. Always have metrics (Key KPIs) to measure your success. Include tactical solutions to reach those goals. Document your projects this way (whether in your current role, or volunteer work) When you meet with potential employers, show this work (no matter how big or small the project is). It will show you are a strategic thinker, that you can view data, identify trends and insights and put a well thought out plan together. Best wishes to you! Dina Lee