Confessions of a Marketer
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A year ago, exactly a week before to this day is when I joined Skcript as a Marketing Manager. And since, I’ve already started with the word confession, I’ll let you in on a secret: I knew Marketing only by textbook definition - to me, it was something that organizations did to make sure that they were getting enough customers. But that’s not all and I was in for a surprise. This is how I learnt to be a good Marketer at Skcript over the past year - this could be also be how your career pans out too, so you’ll be hearing a lot of confessions (with lessons learnt from them), strap your buckles because we’re starting off at the very beginning!
I only knew the dictionary definition of Marketing when I joined, not the Wikipedia definition.
Now the dictionary definition of marketing goes like,
The action or business of promoting and selling products or services, including market research and advertising.
Whereas the Wikipedia definition says,
Marketing is the study and management of engagement of exchange relationships. Marketing is used to create, keep and satisfy the customer. With the customer as the focus of its activities, it can be concluded that Marketing is one of the premier components of Business Management - the other being Innovation.
Now read the second definition again. Yes, I did not know how to do any of that! And I even told my bosses that during my interview! But they remained unfazed and asked me to use my three-month internship period to learn the same - and that is exactly how much time I took to learn about the fundamentals of marketing. Now, within three months you cannot learn everything about marketing - it is a continuous, comprehensive learning process and goes on throughout. Every year, every day the marketing trend or method changes and you’ll have to be willing enough to learn and quick enough to adapt the new trend (or method) in your next marketing venture.
Remember, it’s okay to be clueless about trends, terminologies, hacks and principles - as long as you’re willing to learn and implement them.
The subjects you take during your undergraduate studies don’t prepare you for marketing.
That’s the long and short of it - your undergrad, the subjects you take then, the papers you present, the debates and events that you take part in might prepare you for bigger challenges in your career, but they don’t really prepare you for being in the field of marketing. More often that not, marketing is usually about instinct - you spread the word (about the things you love) in a way that you’d like to read about them. Constantly calling you to talk about promotions, sending you multiple emails (let’s say even after unsubscribing to them), pinging you on chat applications, persistently throwing their products at you - all of this annoys you and it will annoy the people you market to i.e., your customers.
Marketing is essentially about spreading the word and sharing something that will prove to be useful. You just need to talk and tell people why you love it - seeing how much you love it and seeing how it’s changed the way you work or function, people will definitely want to check it out.
Every marketer need NOT have a technical background.
Now I’m an electronics and communications engineer. I spent most of my time studying about networks, cellular communication, electronic equipment sprinkled with a little bit of computers and code during my junior year - because of this little exposure I had, I know a bit about coding, computer languages, trends in tech, apps, and so on. So if I’m asked about what apps we made or what platform we develop our products on, I can give you an answer without sounding too lost. Now every marketer isn’t like that. Some marketers have a liberal arts, economics, or business studies background - they are exposed to tech as well, but it might not be on par to what an engineer or developer is always exposed to.
To be a marketer in this era, you just need to get your basics straight. Nobody expects you to be a walking, talking, breathing marketing and selling machine.
You’ve got to to super social media savvy - said no one.
This is a speculation that has to be addressed. Social Media marketing is a facet of marketing that most marketers rely on. Potential customers can convert into leads by,
a) Attracting them with specific, targeted ad campaigns on Facebook - Marketing on Facebook usual caters to the audience at large. One way of getting the right amount of attention, is by creating a small ad for the right target group - so if you’re posting about an app that boosts productivity, send out emails and links to the blogs pertaining to that app - so we’re talking CXOs, developers, designers, marketers, bloggers, gamers, reviewers and so on.
b) Tweeting about your products - Twitter probably has the largest user base in terms of tweets and the number of followers it has amassed since it’s inception. And nothing gets more attention than a Tweet. Tweet, retweet and keep retweeting relevant information and now you can share your thoughts as much as you want, thanks to Twitter increasing it’s word limit!
c) Hosting Instagram product campaigns - Instagram is one among the apps that has the highest conversion rates. With the unique feature of only posting pictures to drive traffic, Instagram has risen to the top of the table in recent times. But there are some things to be wary about in Instagram, posting just about anything isn’t going to work. (Like say you put a picture of puppies when you’re a tech company; yes, puppies are cute, but you’re a tech company so posting about puppies is off your track) Post pictures about your workspace, your team, the new things that you’re working on and customer appreciation gestures such - now that is guaranteed to get you some good traffic.
d) Writing blogs on your site or on Medium - Blogs are the best thing to happen to the tech space. There’s a blog to help you out if you’re stuck during development, there’s a blog for design hacks, there’s a blog for marketing cheat sheets and there are are blogs on how to run a company. These blogs can be hosted on your site (to drive traffic directly) or on Medium (via which traffic is redirected to your website). The more you write, the better reach you get.
e) Sending some really good emails that are crisp and to the point - Nobody has the time or wants to spend more than a minute or two reading an email. Let’s face it, long emails are really, really boring - nobody wants to even look at them, much less read them. According to HubSpot, if you’re email is longer than 250 words, it classifies as too long to read and will go ignored. Keep your emails short, precise and always leave in a hook, just to invite them and continue the conversation.
f) Posting business relevant blogs on LinkedIn - LinkedIn is like the Facebook for professionals in their respective fields. A marketer can use LinkedIn to his or her advantage to post about business, productivity, leadership, best practices, company culture and values. LinkedIn is also probably one network where CXOs and managers are likely to come across your work and contact you for future partnerships. LinkedIn also has a blog feature on which you can write on professional topics of your interest.
g) Holding discussions on forums - Discourse and Quora are great platforms to have discussions on. All you have to do is post a question that you want answered and invite others to answer it. Having a discussion about a particular topic broadens your knowledge while also boosting the number of contacts on your list. And as a marketer, you need as many contacts as you can get, eventually it will help you grow your audience. Let’s not forget Reddit which is yet another platform to experiment with.
Content for the win
When it comes to marketing, especially in the online digital and print media space, content always takes the cake. These are places where you have to read to know things. Content can also be through the form of pictures and videos which talk about a product or service. Now, choosing the right kind of content marketing depends upon the audience that you want to cater to - Written content works well for tech companies making apps or digital platforms, whereas picture or video content works for retail and e-commerce platforms. Blogs and adverts are also a great way of spreading word and gaining more users. There’s no such thing as too much or too less content, any amount of content is still worthy content.
Every year, marketing trends may change and one marketing tool can upscale another, but content cannot and will not go out of style.
It is possible to run out of ideas.
After all we’re human and our brains have only that much space. In a constantly evolving field like marketing, even if we keep our coffers filled, it is entirely possible to run out of ideas. You can post links on Facebook, tweet the latest picture you posted on Instagram, share a business tip on LinkedIn, cross post on your blog as well as on Medium, have multiple discussion on Discourse and ask many as questions as you want on Quora but even after doing all that the following day, your brain will ask ‘that’s done, now what next?’ (I confess that I’ve asked myself this on many occasions 😉)
It’s only natural that every marketer has encountered this question because we’re constantly looking for new ways to improve and expand our reach. If you’ve burned out on one trend that you we’re doing, look up the internet and find out a new one to try out! When I felt that I’d had enough of doing social media and content marketing, I looked up product marketing, read blogs on how to carry it out (wrote a couple myself) and went ahead and did it. On the days you feel burned out of work, wing it and try something completely new (and random 😝 ); you never know, there might be a new facet to marketing that’s waiting to be discovered and tried out.
The internet is your football field.
You have to believe in this mantra. As long as you’re in this field, or even in tech for that matter, hold this mantra with you till the very end. The internet is basically, at this time and age, your answer to everything. 50 years ago, we had to read books (actual big, fat books) to get our answers. Now with the onset of the internet, everything is literally one-click away. We’re in the era where the internet can predict our next move and our smartphones can be used to host multiple business meetings. I scourge the internet everyday to try a new type or trend just to test see how it works and if it can be scaled upto bigger teams - without browsing and doing my reading, I’d never have known about product marketing, viral marketing, marketing research or analytics. Like I said, the internet is your football field, take as many free kicks as you want!
Many a times you might feel left out, even then know just as much.
This has happened to me on numerous occasions. Being the only marketer in a team of 10, where half the team is design strong and the other half is development strong, I have felt outnumbered and outwitted. That’s where your advantage lies - your team keeps you informed. In my case, I know a bit of tech, the ones I don’t know about, I ask my team and they help me out in understanding the stuff that I have trouble with. One important skill a marketer must acquire and accumulate as he or she goes forward with their career is, to be informed. As a marketer you’ll have to talk, read and constantly communicate, so know as much to say as much.
Having a small, close knit team has its perks.
In many cases, working with a small team has paid off. Thanks to the closeness it offers, even when you haven’t got a clue on certain things, you’re team is there to help. In larger organizations as well, there’s a small, dedicated team for marketing - your team is there to give you ideas when you’ve run out of them, some of them might even suggest some things for you to try out and if you’ve got a bout of marketers depression (there is no such thing, but it sounds good!) they’ll get you out of it 😂
You’re only as strong as your team, always remember that.
Marketers like to talk, so their blogs will (most) definitely be long, bear with it!
Doesn’t get anymore truer than that!