- Marketing Is As Much About Math As It Is Creativity
Yes, I had to take business statistics in college but most of my marketing courses were geared toward the creative side of marketing – advertising, PR, etc. I was graded on my ability to come up with clever position and crafty solutions but there wasn’t nearly as much emphasis on measuring and analyzing results. But a marketer who can’t tackle the data and think critically about it will be incomplete professionally. This is why you need to have strong math proficiency and an analytical side. Basically, get your numbers on!
- A Successful Marketer Isn’t The One That Gets Results
Speaking of results, marketing courses that include real-world simulations emphasize the ability to use marketing efforts to drive sales. These courses look at students’ strategic marketing plans and simply evaluate the cost to execute such plans compared to the revenue they’ll supposedly generate. This is a step in the right direction because every marketing job that you ever have will require that you actually get results. However, the best marketers don’t just get results – they have the ability to show results.
Unlike a college course with a software program simulation that just reports your numbers to your professor, a job in the real-world will require that you take the data that you’re getting and be able to translate that into something meaningful for your boss or c-level personnel. This sounds like an easy enough task, but when it comes to various marketing channels, your superiors may be in the dark about what types of results constitute a success or what your KPIs (key performance indicators) actually mean. The ability to translate your world into theirs will truly make you a success!
- Pricing Is Not Actually Your Job
I don’t think a single marketing major graduates without learning about pricing strategies and being told that they need to take a shot at pricing a product or service as part of a marketing project. This is all well and good, but when you get out into the working world, you won’t actually be setting prices for anything. Pricing is a whole different role and the people responsible for pricing at major companies do it full-time. They’ll pour over more data than you even knew existed and do market research like crazy to determine this very important marketing mix component. So just be content knowing the different types of pricing strategies and rest assured that people with much bigger spreadsheets than you will probably be in charge of this when you get a job.
- You Can Always Find A Study to Prove Your Point
Former Prime Minister of Great Britain, Benjamin Disraeli, famously said “There are three types of lies – lies, damned lies, and statistics.” This is why stats from studies should always be taken with a grain of salt. With the internet at our fingertips I guarantee you that you can make almost any point you’d like by simply searching until you find a study that backs up whatever point you’d like to make. You can argue that Twitter is dying or that it’s thriving. You can argue that online advertising is the most lucrative marketing platform available or totally ineffective. So always be a little skeptical of what you read, even from reputable industry sources!
- Mobile Usage Has Turned The Traditional Marketing Mix On Its Head
The 4 P’s (product, price, promotion, and place) are like the bible of marketing majors but marketing course textbooks still stress the same old P’s as they did a decade ago. The reality though is that the rise in mobile usage has turned those P’s on their head. Smart phones now allow people to do product research and read reviews from strangers online while standing in an aisle trying to decide between various products or going to the bathroom at work or at a child’s soccer game. Purchase decisions are simultaneously faster and also better researched than ever before. With the plethora of online retailers offering all of the same products, pricing is more important than ever before. So instead of just studying what your textbooks say, talk to business professionals about their experiences with the changing landscape of mobile marketing.
- A Good Network Is Vital
In college networking is seen as the way to find a job after graduation but in the business world, networking is so much more than that! Having a solid business network means access to partnership opportunities for your business, like-minded professionals that you can bounce ideas off of, trusted people that you can go to for help in a bind, people that will challenge your way of thinking to help you grow professionally, and so much more! So make sure that you devote time throughout your career to building this network.
Universities across the nation have started back up, which means that collegiate marketing courses are in full swing. When I look back at my own business education at Bentley University I definitely learned a lot of important things that I took with me; however, when I think specifically about my marketing courses I feel like they missed a few critical things. So I’d like to take the time to impart some wisdom on future marketing majors:
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