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Swatek Joe 2013-11

3 Ways to Improve Your Career as a Professional Marketer

What are you doing to develop your professional marketing career?

Typically, when you read my blog posts, you see me tell you how to improve your marketing campaigns, give you examples of marketing ideas you can adopt, or I comment on events in the marketing world.

But today, I’m addressing your position as a professional marketer.

Recently, I attended a seminar about personal branding. In other words, how to promote yourself using social media and other opportunities. The American Marketing Association Lincoln offered it and the speaker was ACTON Marketing’s own Mark Zmarzly.

During the seminar, I thought about the blog readers and the work they do. So now, here are some personal pointers for your career that were sparked by Mark’s presentation and my own thoughts.

I see three areas where you can improve your standing within your own marketing department. Give these suggestions some attention and you should strengthen your reputation and expand your talents, knowledge, and experience.

1. Take Advantage of Opportunities to Say “Yes.” If there’s a need for someone to lead a committee or gather information, volunteer. That’s an obvious example where you can build your status within the company. You’ll be known as a doer. But don’t stop once you walk out of the office. There are probably local advertising and financial organizations you can join. Become an active member. Join a committee. Volunteer.

Saying yes has another aspect to it. Keep your eyes open for outside opportunities that come your way. As an example, years ago, word went around the creative community that someone was looking for a writer to pen a book about sales. No one else seemed interested, but I thought, why not talk with the guy? It led me to write a book that was partly about sales techniques and part biography about a man who led an interesting and challenging life. If I hadn’t said yes to meeting with the man, I would have missed a great experience. (A book looks good on your resume, too.)

You never know where or when the next interesting, career-enhancing opportunity will come along.

2. Educate Yourself. In the corporate world, it was once easy to have your company send you to seminars and conferences all across the country. Today, with budgets tight, you need to take the initiative to look for educational opportunities. Convince the higher-ups you can bring back ideas that you’ll apply to your job and that will help improve the work you do.

But don’t rely on travel alone. Read. There are thousands of marketing books that apply to your niche or are about general good marketing practices. Since you’re reading this blog, you’re obviously interested in good marketing techniques and topics. Look for more resources.

Your resources can include marketers who have more experience than you. Use someone as a mentor. It can be very rewarding for both of you.

3. Take on More Tasks and Duties. You think you’ll become overworked, but likely, you can squeeze in these extras without much inconvenience and you’ll find ways to streamline what you do. Here’s another upside to this idea. The greater variety of duties you handle, the more you’ll be seen as a resource within your company. People will come to you to ask how to run projects, what vendor to use, and more. You become a valuable go-to resource.

I know from experience this works. When I was with an insurance company, I accumulated enough knowledge about aspects of the company’s projects and systems that people regularly asked me questions about printing requirements, how long-ago campaigns were set up, where to find certain information, and so on.

As Mark Zmarzly said in his seminar, your career is not a steady progression of breakthroughs. There will be bursts and slow times. Peaks and lulls. But his most important advice is this:

Have a Plan. Be Ready to Change It.

These pointers can help you become better at your job, gain respect, and become a key person who others seek out for advice.

You can start the process today. Good luck.


Mark Zmarzly has his own blog: ihelpbanks.com. (Yes, it’s for credit unions, too.)

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