Discovering One of the Key Traits of Today’s Successful Marketer: Be an active learner

Jennifer Riegert

Account Director

Friday, July 22, 2016

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By the time I moved into my second marketing job, I thought I knew exactly what it took to be a successful marketer. I was working full-time, having success in media relations at a small Cincinnati agency, achieving goals for my clients and winning new business for my integrated team. I was even so bold to write a short presentation for college seniors about everything they needed to know after graduation.

As far as I could tell, a combination of tenacity, fearlessness and the ability to ask good questions was all a person really needed to stand out as a marketer.

Up until that time, my experience included a few internships, some great practical experience in graduate school and one marketing job that mostly relied upon my skills in project management. Eventually, I realized that I needed to teach myself how to be a copywriter so that I could effectively complete the project I was managing. That action – teaching myself something completely new – should have been my first clue to the importance of ongoing education in marketing.

Since my first position, I’ve taught myself or actively learned quite a few things that were definitely not covered in my college coursework. Besides copywriting, I learned some basic traditional and digital advertising principles including website coding languages, SEO/SEM, the tenants of advertising, photography, videography and more.

In addition to everything I had to learn to be successful, I’ve seen tremendous changes in marketing, caused by shifts in technology and culture. Do you remember the fax machine? I actually faxed (gasp!) news releases at my first PR job for about six months before we started testing email as a method of communication. We’ve also lived through the changes caused by the evolution of mobile phones and social media. What about changing consumer shopping behavior and the shift in the delivery of traditional media?

If I’ve learned one thing, it’s that one of the most valuable traits a marketer can have is the desire to be a life-long learner. To be successful and relevant you have to understand the basics of marketing strategy, but you must also be willing to try something new and learn about a new tool, a new industry or a new approach.

I consider those of us in marketing to be lucky. Every day is different – even unpredictable - and we get to try new things all the time. Those marketers that approach business with an enthusiastic attitude and demonstrate they are eager to learn will go farthest within this profession.

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