Marketers need to adapt and grow

Attn: Marketers

You’re going to have to adapt and grow…

I wonder if you’re like me in this regard: you have an identity crisis a few times a year.

I know you’re now thinking that this guy is nuts. Not going to deny it. But it’s not a disease – it’s from a deep desire. Let me explain.

Before I begin, though, just some key points about me for context. I have five, yes, FIVE children (at the young age of 36). And I’m on my 3rd job since July ‘12. And in 10 years of marriage, we’ve lived in 6 different houses. There are other major transitions I can cite but those are the biggest.

What is up with this guy? Is he truly nuts?

I’ve been wondering the same. 😉

But, really this is just life being life – presenting its myriad of challenges. Homes get mold and you’re forced to move. Landlords evict you to renovate and make more money from new tenants. Wives get pregnant and babies are born. Again and again (and again and again). Jobs end up conflicting with your ethics, beliefs or goals.

I’m not unique in the challenges I’ve had, they are the same as many (and mild compared to others), just seemingly high in repetition. These recurring challenges are simply the same lessons repeating themselves in slightly different ways so I can learn from them and grow. They are the most important lessons I personally need in this lifetime.

And that goes back to the deep desire I have. All these life changes, especially jobs, are not because of impatience. The changes are more so because I love to grow; I strive for it daily. I read voraciously, (and recently got hooked on podcasts),for business, personal development and leisure. And, more importantly, I do the work: setting,striving for and measuring goals, meditation/reflection, journaling, application of new skills, etc.

That’s been my way for a long time, but not forever. And this is important to note. You’ll see why soon enough.

Because of my pursuit of continuous improvement, I often outgrow things in my life, like jobs, and need to move on. While I believe this has served me very well, others don’t always see it that way.

As a fellow marketing professional, this willingness and ability to change has been absolutely critical to my career success. But it’s not the only reason…

In reality, I’ve been in the right place at the right time more times than I can count. Yes, my persistence, focus on growth and extra effort all have helped, but my knack for timing is rather uncanny.

First, I consider myself a digital native. I remember using a Mac computer back when I was single digits in age. That early and consistent experience throughout my childhood led me to choose to get my undergrad degree in Information Systems (back almost 20 years ago).

My college education was diverse, studying everything from Accounting to Cobol (programming language), English to Java and so much more. (Not to mention minoring in “extracurricular activities”.)

And then I look at the work I’ve been fortunate to do since college. Starting with eCommerce in ‘00 (yes it was around then), I moved into B2C Digital Marketing in ‘03, Online Education in ‘05, B2B Marketing in ‘08, Marketing Agency in ‘09, Marketing Automation in ‘12 and Mobile Commerce in ‘13.

Clearly my work continues to form a career path that has positioned me to be a leader in the huge shift occurring in marketing.

Because of this dramatic shift, a new role has emerged: marketing technologist. (There are other terms for it – here’s a reference for you). This role is becoming front and center in the marketing world and is a huge need for most businesses.

And I’m a deeply skilled marketing technology because of many positive choices I’ve made and opportunities I’ve been given since I was a kid.

So, I’ve been incredibly lucky. But, you may not have been nearly as lucky.

You, on the other hand, might have chosen a different degree and a different career path early on. You may have chosen marketing but they were likely not teaching much about marketing-related technology in college. Or you serendipitously ended up in marketing, like me. (I was more techie, but doing tech for marketers so I got direct and long-term exposure on both sides of the coin.)

You, however, also have an advantage over me. You are surely more creative than I am when it comes to marketing. I have no design skills and I tend to write too formal and matter-of-factly.

But now the tides have shifted away from creativity alone winning the day. Marketing has become absolutely consumed by technology.

If you don’t know that, instead of fearing for you, I’m going to share something very daunting but hopefully, eye opening. Check out this “Marketing Technology Supergraphic” published this year.

This is totally insane, even to me, and I literally have direct experience with 1 or more products in 27 of the 43 categories listed.

I assert to you now that you need to use that massive creativity you have on something more than just marketing. I think you need to creatively adapt and grow your skillset so that you can infuse your creativity with many of these marketing technologies. Marketing needs it. Businesses need it.

So, you and I, friend, are on opposite courses. I have the technical know how with much of this landscape and just enough creativity to get the tools working properly. You have the creativity to craft great strategy, tactics, content and messaging for your marketing. Now you need to really learn how to use all these new tools to put that creativity to work.

And, if you take my advice:

  • You will be able to leap and bound in your career in marketing, growing your salary, reputation and longevity in the industry
  • Feel a new sense of confidence and purpose in your work

Start now. Don’t delay. Check out that image above, pick out something you know little to nothing about and learn about it – the resources are there for the taking. Creative marketers like you have helped pave the way. Now it’s your turn.

Before you go, you might still wonder why I mention having an identity crisis multiple times a year…

It’s because I’m having one as I write this. And I alluded to it above. I’m on the path of becoming more creative. But I’m having a difficult time cracking myself open and trusting in my creative work.

You tell me, is it possible to become more creative? I believe you can become more proficient with marketing technology, so I’m hopeful the same is true for becoming more creative.

Leaving an inspiring comment would be deeply appreciated.


Michael Shearer

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