I thought it would be interesting to create a marketing technology landscape reflecting my skills and experience, in the same fashion as Scott Brinker’s marketing technology supergraphic, which shows the boom of marketing technology organizations and platforms over the years, and which he started producing about the same time I transitioned into marketing.
One of the my most-asked questions I get is: Tell me about your career. And it comes with a sort of confusion of how I got from A to B. Or, in my case, A to B to C.
In brief, I started off in engineering, moved to education (eventually reaching my goal at the time of becoming a college professor), and then to marketing. I make sure to reassure whatever recruiter or hiring manager that I don’t plan on any career changes in the foreseeable future (or hopefully ever again).
To me, my move into marketing makes sense. I’ve taken my background in engineering and (health) education, and use it in a field which takes advantage of both. Marketing is education, understanding target audiences and past programs, building programs and creating materials, and utilizing technology and problem-solving to make things happen and optimize.
The skillstack infographic above is by no means complete (nor will it ever be). There are probably tools I’ve forgotten to add and, by the time you read this, I’m likely to have picked up more.
Here’s the thing about marketing and why I’m likely not going to switch careers again: marketing is a huge range of things. It’s a range of different activities, responsibilities, and skills. There’s web, content, advertising, social media, communications, events, mobile, public and analyst relations, sales enablement… There’s strategy, operations, analytics, design, writing, editing, photography, videography… It is constantly evolving with the times and technology. There is no end to learning in this field. There is no monotony, at least from my perspective, as one who tends to manage and execute in multiple areas.
Over the years, I’ve learned that having skills in the tools, understanding data and its flow, and being able to execute is invaluable for this line of work. I’ve worked in different settings as a marketer– both as a single-person team and as a member of a team focused on a single area– and what I find interesting is when you have strategists (so-called marketing managers, perhaps) and executioners (marketing ops) as separate entities, and when most of the tools are black box to the strategists. Because when that happens, there is a lack of understanding of what can be done, what data can be collected, how that data can be used, and ultimately, that blindness can hurt both strategy and performance.
Likewise, over the years, I’ve learned, accepted, and now appreciate marketing operations as a vital part of the marketing organization, despite its value often not being recognized within both the marketing and overall organization. But it is the engine that keeps marketing running and even extends beyond marketing to help sales, service, customer success and beyond. As one manager consoled me, at a time when I thought strategy was a more valuable role: without operations, strategy is nothing. You can dream up all the possibilities of things you could do, but if you can’t execute on your ideas, then what does it matter? (All roles are important, of course, but operations and execution is no longer ‘lesser than thou’ in my book).
Within the past couple of months, I’ve already added two tools to my belt, and am curious to see how this ‘skillstack’ expands over this next year. What does your skillstack look like? Curious to see it.