Finding Your Future In Marketing
Do you feel lost or concerned about your future in Marketing? Do you worry that you can’t make it in a highly competitive field that is as dynamic as it is uncertain? If so then you are not alone. I have been involved in Marketing now for about 13 years, and I have experienced every emotion and gone through almost every situation you can think of when it comes to marketing and business.
My name is Chris Giarratana, and I am a Digital Marketing Consultant in Orlando, FL. I help national brands make more money by implementing comprehensive marketing plans that utilise my expertise in copywriting, SEO services, and PPC management. Last year I made my clients $11,629,751.94 of trackable revenue.
Along with running my own business, I also volunteer full-time with my church, Mosaic Church, and I am the Deputy Commission of Communications for Kappa Sigma Fraternity. I also mentor start-ups with a local incubator in Orlando, where I help about 6-8 startups each year grow their business and reach their goals.
Now that the intro is out of the way to let’s start talking about you and how you can grow as a marketer.
1. Find & Dominate A Niche
My background is in Environmental Studies, where during my time at the University of Montana, I studied biodiversity and ecosystems. If nothing else during my five years as an undergraduate, I learned that the only species that survive and thrive are the ones that find a particular niche and then dominate that niche.
The same holds true for businesses and marketers. If you want to excel as a marketer then you need to be able to survey the business landscape, interpret massive amounts of data to understand your target audience (or the audience of your clients), and then find a way to meet the needs and wants of those individuals.
You will not get far in marketing if you try to be everything to everyone. Instead, it is much easier and lucrative to find a particular niche and then establish yourself as an authority in that area. Often it is better to find a small niche, dominate that niche, and then move on to related or associated areas of focus.
You can do this by looking at your interests outside of marketing. What are your passions and past experiences? If you are an avid traveler, then you can look at marketing for the travel or hospitality industries. If you love video games, then you can look at marketing for influencer networks or emerging technology start-ups.
The first step to succeeding as a marketer is to identify the Industry you want to reach, and the only way to do this is to refer to your marketable equity and leverage your related experiences to get a leg-up on your peers.
2. Choose 3 Marketing Platforms Of Focus
The next step to succeeding as a marketer is to consider the platforms and channels that you want to work on. There are many different channels that you can find, and each one is more relevant depending on your industry and area of interest. You should consider the area you want to market in before you choose a channel.
For example, Facebook marketing is perfect for almost all B2C industries, but it is not too ideal for big niche industries like construction CPM Scheduling. Think about who uses your target product, and base the platform you choose around your target audience. This will help you establish a base to begin building value from.
I have worked in about a dozen different platforms, and while this approach has helped me develop a breadth of knowledge, it also required a lot of time and energy. During the time with the various channels I also realised that not all platforms offer the same value for clients, and thus, they don’t provide the same amount of potential revenue for me.
It was only recently that I shifted my attention to three main “umbrellas” of services: Copywriting, SEO, and PPC. Within each channel, I offer several services, but I have found that focusing your attention on only a limited number of offerings allow you to carve out your niche and isolate the highest producing services.
3. Build Value For Your Clients
Marketing is all about building value for your customers. Whether you are a freelancer, run your agency, or work for a large organisation, the only goal of a marketer is to increase revenue. Vanity metrics need not apply- Likes, Clicks, and Open Rates are worthless if they don’t contribute to the essential point or align with the overall strategic goals of the business.
This means that you need to identify the channels that matter to your industry and target audience, and then devote yourself to those channels. Learn the metrics that matter, how to influence those metrics, and why those metrics matter to your clients. These things will allow you to show that you offer value and drive their goals and revenue.
Once you can start telling a story to business owners and clients, you will begin to offer additional value. In turn, this will make you a valued partner and not just a production machine. In a world where automation is impeding in several areas of marketing and business, the one area that has not been touched yet is storytelling. This means, no matter what industry, channel, or capacity you market in, you need to be able to tell a story based on metrics while driving the metrics that matter to your clients.
4. Get Involved, Network & Give Away Your Best Work
So, now you have a list of industries you want to work in, platforms you want to market on, and you know the metrics that matter and how to tell a story around them. Now what?
I will be the first to tell you that it’s hard to find clients willing to pay you unless you have both experiences and you can prove to them that you know your stuff. This is because Marketing is a crowded space, but if you become an expert at the channels you market in for the industries you want to be involved with then, you will have an easier time selling yourself and landing your dream jobs.
The first step is networking and gaining experience. If no one wants to hire you at first, then you need to get involved by giving away your best work. This came in the form of starting a nonprofit, volunteering at my church, and taking leadership positions with my fraternity.
While none of these opportunities resulted in direct payment, they did open the door to get experience and hone my craft. You should take the same approach if you want to gain a competitive edge as an early Marketer.
This might look different for you, but you can consider:
• Volunteering at your church or religious centre.
• Reaching out to local nonprofits about the opportunity to be part of their marketing team.
• Identifying intern opportunities with leaders in your industry of interest.
• Attending Meetups and networking in your community.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to network and gain quantitative marketing experience- even if that marketing experience is with nonprofits or volunteering.
5. Start Marketing Yourself
Unlike other professions like lawyers and doctors, many companies don’t care about the degree or accomplishments you have. In fact, my college degree is in Environmental Studies, yet I am hired by several industry-leading brands to help them grow their business.
You know why? Because I work my butt off to market myself.
- I run and business website and blog where I post at least one post each week discussing marketing and business-related information.
- I am the lead Copywriter and Marketing Director of several small blogs where I lead all content efforts and outreach efforts.
- I offer great content to other blogs and websites to inform their user base. This means that I contribute about 20 posts each month to leading blogs just like the one you are reading right now.
- I am a featured contributor to important industry publications like Search Engine Journal, where I dedicate myself to write 2-3 blog posts each month.
- I write for SEMrush and other business/marketing blogs several times a month.
- I co-host an Orlando Meetup for small businesses each month.
- I mentor startups through an Orlando startup incubator. This requires me to invest about 30 hours a month to helping startups grow their vision and achieve their goals.
- I volunteer full-time with the Kappa Sigma Fraternity as the Deputy Commissioner of Communications.
- I volunteer part-time Mosaic Church, where my wife and I both attend and give back by helping to shape the communication strategy of the growing church to impact the community.
- I present as a speaker to at least three state and regional conferences a year that deal with marketing, business, and personal branding.
- I present at least twice a year at national conferences to talk about marketing, business growth, and startup marketing.
- Guest speak three times each year at conferences and other larger events.
- I want people always to see my brand and company, so I have built a strategy to be everywhere all the time on social media:
- 15 Tweets a day.
- Five posts a day on LinkedIn.
- 15 posts a day on my personal Google Plus account.
- 15 posts a day on my business Google Plus account.
These are just a few of the things that I can name off the top of my head, but I can assure you that I also do other outreach opportunities to expand and solidify my brand while also working full-time and maintaining a healthy marriage.
Don’t get me wrong- I am not sharing the things I do as a cheap way to get your respect or make you feel sorry for the lack of stuff you’re doing. I am sharing these to show you the extent you will need to get involved and get out there if you want to grow your brand and excel as a professional Marketer.
The essential point: start doing something for 20 minutes each day that builds your brand and helps establish you as a leader in your market. Start a blog or begin contributing each week on LinkedIn Pulse. Start engaging with Private Influencer Networks, attend Meet-ups, and start reading/sharing a lot of industry-related news.
Not only will these steps help you grow in your knowledge and build experience, but it will also quickly help you increase your exposure and increase your chances of landing your dream job.
The road to entering the Marketing field is filled with lots of dead ends, emotional turmoil, and failure. But once you figure out the basics and stick to your plan you will find that Marketing and business can result in increased revenue and allow you to achieve personal and professional success.
Be comfortable with being uncomfortable.
The only way to grow in life is to take on new challenges that are just a few inches outside of your comfort zone. Get used to not knowing if you can fulfil your tasks because just like physical fitness, the only way you can grow is if you step outside of your comfort zone and build endurance.
Use the above five tips to help dominate a marketing niche, excel in a limited set of marketing channels, and build your brand. You will have to test and refine your results and change your approach, but these tips will help you find success no matter where your career in Marketing might lead!
Time to kick start your career. If you want to have gain more digital marketing experience, sign-up to take our training to see if it’s something you enjoy.