Ahhhh, the first day of school. As I walked into my third post-secondary institute, I was ready to take on the world! I figured I knew it all, I had diplomas and certifications already under my belt, and my thirst for knowledge was not quenched. Fast forward 14 months and I am graduating with Honors with my BBA in Marketing and a minor in Business to Business Sales. I was ready to begin the process of taking over the world, metaphorically speaking.
When I got into the real world of marketing and business, I came to a significant realization:
I knew nothing.
Nada. Zilch. Zero. The real world of marketing was bigger than the 4Ps, or dichotomous research survey questions. It was about the age of digital, social media, building your brand both in a company sense, and a personal sense. These were things that were never taught by your 1993 international business textbook. These were things you had to learn as you gained experience.
During my first year in a marketing-centric role, I learned more than I did in the past 7 years of school combined. I learned how to adapt to my surroundings. I learned how to use all this amazing software right at my fingertips. I learned the difference between saying you will do something and actually delivering. These are things that never cross your mind as you study your International Business textbook from 1993. These are the 3 key differences that I experienced between being taught marketing versus doing marketing.
Learn about Marketing Tools
A huge aspect of marketing that was never spoken of in the classroom was the plethora of marketing tools available to help marketers these days. Everything from automating social media, creating compelling calls-to-action, virtual meetings, and possibly most important —optimizing your content marketing.
Learn to adapt to your surroundings and strive to be the best you can! This was such a huge skill that I learned in the workforce, and something school skips over. When you hear adaptation, you think, “Oh come now Tyler, everyone adapts!” It's true, we always adapt, however in the workplace you need to do it quicker, and be confident in what you do. I just recently began my career at Uberflip, and without the skill of adaptation, I would still be coyly looking through documents instead of diving into projects. Adapting is key for marketers, we need to be able to pick up and go with it!
You are always being measured in school, and your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are based on what grades did you get, did you make the honor roll? In the world of marketing, these KPIs are very different. They can be any number of things whether it is based on gaining followers on social media, reducing churn, or upselling existing customers. The key is to make yourself an integral part of the organization and really make yourself invaluable. In school you are your student number, in the workplace you are a member of the team and you need to make sure that you do not let yourself or them down.
If you walk away from this post thinking that I mean do not go to school, you are wrong. School did teach me lots of things the business world could not. Time management, working in teams, learning to take criticism on your work and making changes for the better. My post-secondary education gave me the chance to be a marketer, it also gave me the chance to continue learning forever. Without that BBA hanging on my wall at home, I would not be typing this out from my desk, at an amazing company that is helping marketers across the globe. School does warrant you opportunities, it is just up to you to convert those opportunities into business.
CTO TV (@cto_tv) — Full of information white papers and ebooks for the technology buffs.
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CMA (@CdnMarketing ) — Canadian Marketing Association - Finding out about trends, current events, and relationship building events.
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