12 Industry Leaders Share Advice For Marketers Just Starting Out

Surprisingly, a decent portion of this site’s community is made up of those new to the marketing and PR industry. I say surprisingly, as we tend to cover subjects from an insider perspective and with a lot of opinion.

We’re not like HubSpot or Social Media Examiner who cater to marketing newbies with lots of 101-type content.

With that said, we get a lot of pings from students and those just starting in the marketing industry seeking advice. I’ve done so in the past, but as the question is recurring I wanted to add some fresh perspective from others to help all our readers.

After all, it has never been a more exciting time to be a communications professional but at the same time increasingly competitive.

So I asked some friends to answer the question: if you could offer 1 piece of advice for new marketing professionals entering the industry in 2012, what would it be?

Their responses follow:

Rand Fishkin, CEO & co-founder of SEOmoz

Enter the world of digital marketing with an entrepreneurial focus. Marketers in the web world need to be CEOs of their job, creative in their pursuits and their execution and charismatic in their abilities to persuade others in their organization (or their clients’ orgs) to enable success. Barriers of ignorance, resistance to change and constant shifts in the landscape and best practices will throw up daunting walls. An entrepreneurial focus is your only hope to defeat these challenges.

Stay hungry. Remember that “no” simply means “find another way.” And maintain a passion for progress.

Peter Kim, Chief Strategy Officer at Dachis Group

Be prolific in participation. More people are creating more content in more channels that change more rapidly than ever before, so it takes a lot of writing, responding, and engaging to succeed in today’s environment.

Joe Chernov, VP of Content Marketing for Eloqua

Prove to me you have sound judgement. Anyone can learn tools and processes, but judgement can’t be taught. As blogs and social networks turn every employee into a company spokesperson, official or otherwise, I want to know that you are in control not only of the medium, but the message as well.

Mitch Joel, President of Twist Image

Box in your weight class – understand both your limitations and your capabilities. It’s easy to present compelling content and add values without chest beating. Take the time to learn and grow but always remember that experience comes not from ideas and creativity but from the years of hard work putting programs into market that gain traction.

Daniel Scocco, web entrepreneur and blogger

Always create win-win-win situations. Suppose you were hired to promote the latest model of an auto maker. The traditional PR approach would be to create a press release and to email it to all the owners of sites and blogs related to cars. However, the buzz such a campaign would generate was likely to be small, because only two parts would have something to win out of it: you and your client. The site and blog owners were left out of the equation. What if instead your launched an online contest where the 10 most creative reviews about the car would get featured on the website of the auto maker? This would create a win-win-win situation, and the result would be a much more effective and broad marketing campaign.

John Boitnott, VP of Business Development at Hasai

OK so here’s what might happen to you in 2012 (It might have happened to you already).

You see a news post telling you that “‘Fill in the blank’ social network is now among the Top 10 drivers of referral traffic.” Then you realize you haven’t heard of the network in question.

Advice: Don’t be hard on yourself when this happens. Check out the site, learn what it’s about, and think about how to increase your presence there or even use it to drive traffic to your site. Pinterest and Tumblr, among many others, come to mind here. [The online landscape is moving so fast now that it’s a full-time job just keeping up with what’s happening each day.]

TL:DR – Don’t be afraid or ashamed to pivot, pivot and pivot again. Stick to your guns as much as possible but be ready to move on or add new platforms to your marketing efforts.

Gini Dietrich, CEO at Arment Dietrich

If the companies you want to work for are on social media, connect with them there and get to know them. Because we’re in the communication business, we won’t even entertain your resume if you haven’t first networked with us online.

Ian Lurie, CEO at Portent Interactive

Learn to manage your time! You’re going to be deluged with requests, ideas, tools, demos and who-knows-what-else. You need to be able to stay focused. If you can’t you’re going to spend a lot of time doing very little. That’s the single biggest cause of burnout in our industry.

Valeria Maltoni, Principal, Conversation Agent LLC

1. Focus on writing copy that is specific, fresh, and uses clear language to convey messages in many kinds of media and is appropriate to the audience and circumstance it addresses.
2. Learn to listen actively and aggressively and from the point of view of the many (more) audiences you need to serve.
3. Understand how to analyze data to spot trends, find opportunities for your clients, and ask better questions.

Steve Farnsworth, Chief Digital Marketing Officer at Jolt Social Media

“Marketing automation is the way of the future, and it’s here now. It will have a deep and lasting impact on all marketing professionals over the next five years. Understanding what it is, and how the metrics of what you do affect the marketing and sales alignment is imperative to finding and keeping a growth job in this new reality. “

Corbet Barr, blogger and web entrepreneur

Consider your ultimate goals and make decisions that support your long-term strategy. Are you trying to drive clicks and make more sales, or are you trying to connect with humans, impact lives and create a better world? Pursuing one of these sets of goals will make the other easier to accomplish, but the reverse isn’t necessarily true. Choose wisely.

Tamar Weinberg, digital and social media strategist

Dedicate someone to your marketing initiatives, especially if you are just joining and want to put a lot of emphasis on social media. In 2007, when social media was in its infancy, it was easy to get enmeshed in the culture and become well-respected. In 2012, you’re competing with millions of others who saw gold and came chasing after it. You need to be truly dedicated to online marketing in order to see success, and you need to give of yourself because trust is just so hard to achieve if you don’t truly invest yourself and give it your all.

The comments are yours: what piece of advice would you add for new marketers entering the industry this year?

image credit: Shutterstock

*Disclosure: I have provided consulting for Eloqua, mentioned in this post.