What is one thing you wish you had learned in school for your career in marketing?
To help you prepare for a career in marketing, we asked marketing experts and successful entrepreneurs this question for their best insights. From mastering the art of sales to understanding data-driven marketing, there are several areas to focus on learning outside of the classroom.
Here are 10 things marketing professionals wished they had learned in school:
- Become Familiar with Psychology and Sociology
- Practice Writing Persuasive Digital Copy
- Learn How to Create a Well-executed Branding Strategy
- Become Comfortable with Failure
- Research Current SEO Tools
- Niche Down and Hone Your Skills
- Learn Content Marketing Software
- Prepare for How Quickly Things Change
- Understand Data-Driven Marketing
- Master the Art of Sales
1. Become Familiar with Psychology and Sociology
“I wish there had been more focus on psychology and sociology in my school’s marketing curriculum. Though there were a few classes that touched on these concepts, a full exploration of mental and social processes would have been priceless for understanding consumer and producer trends. Human behavior is a critical insight for marketers to know, and learning ahead of time instead of on the job would have been beneficial.”
Dan Potter, CRAFTD
2. Practice Writing Persuasive Digital Copy
“I majored in marketing at a top business school in the United States and there was very little coverage in terms of how specifically to word content for ads, websites, or other digital platforms that converted. I wish I had learned how to write persuasive copy that encouraged readers and potential customers to perform a specific action, such as buying a product.”
Kristine Thorndyke, Test Prep Nerds
3. Learn How to Create a Well-executed Branding Strategy
“One thing I wish I had learned in school for my career in marketing is the value of a well-executed branding strategy. Too often, brands focus on developing clever marketing campaigns without taking the time to develop a strong brand foundation. A well-developed brand creates customer trust and loyalty, which can lead to increased profits in the long run.
Another thing I would have liked to learn is how to use data analytics to drive marketing decisions. By understanding what customers are buying and why, businesses can create more effective marketing campaigns and products that appeal to their target audience. “
Natalia Brzezinska, PhotoAiD
4. Become Comfortable with Failure
“Don’t be afraid to fail. We all graduate from business school with a head full of steam, and the desire to be wildly successful with everything we do. While we may eventually achieve great success, it’s a simple fact of life that not everything we do is going to work.
To succeed in marketing in particular, it’s necessary to come up with a wide variety of ideas that are bold and innovative, and it’s impossible to constantly innovate without at least a few failed attempts. The Wright Brothers would not have successfully flown the first plane without having built a few models that didn’t work. If you are not afraid to fail, you have the opportunity to be wildly innovative and as successful as you can dream of becoming.”
Marcus Hutsen, Patriot Coolers
5. Research Current SEO Tools
“When I was in school for marketing, we learned a lot about consumer psychology and messaging. Yet we learned less about hard skills and I feel that search engine optimization (SEO) has been the most major self-taught skill I’ve pursued. Search engines are a staple of modern life — most of us run at least a few Google searches every week.
Understanding how to rank at the top of a Google search is essential to virtually every business with a digital presence. In learning SEO, you also learn the essentials of creating good, useful, and engaging content. A college course in SEO alone would be so useful to so many people.”
Shawn Plummer, The Annuity Expert
6. Niche Down and Hone Your Skills
“While it’s essential to be highly adaptable, you must strengthen your core offerings and provide consistency to build success. Marketing is a creative field that will have you inventing new strategies for building customer relationships and increasing brand awareness. However, if you spread yourself too thin trying to do it all, you won’t establish yourself as a reliable marketer. When you niche down and hone your skills, whether in content writing or SEO management, you can give your clients consistent results, improve their brand, and attract new clients for yourself.”
Ankur Goyal, Coterie
7. Learn Content Marketing Software
“Content marketing platforms are an essential part of marketing yet are not taught in school. Learning how to automate systems, build sales funnels, and configure CRM software are just a few examples of critical skills that require self-education outside of the classroom.
Technology is rapidly improving and making it easier for marketers to learn on the job, as well as spread knowledge with others one-to-one and through workshops, seminars, and on-demand learning platforms. Thanks to innovation, by the time marketing platforms make it to the syllabus they could already be obsolete. Education is important, so taking personal responsibility for lifelong learning means adapting to and adopting new technologies as they come.”
Tommy Chang, Homelister
8. Prepare for How Quickly Things Change
“One thing I wish I had learned in school for my career in marketing is the sheer number of options available to marketers, in every avenue of marketing. During my short career within the industry so far, I have encountered endless marketing strategies within platforms such as LinkedIn, with each one claiming to be ‘the next big strategy’, or ‘guarantee results.’ In reality, however, they are not, but that doesn’t mean they don’t hold value, and a process of trial and error of these strategies can enable you to stumble toward a hybrid strategy of your own.
This is an area often overlooked within education. In reality, there is not one fixed successful strategy for each area of marketing, or a cornerstone method that will never change. Instead, it is a case of weighing up numerous options, borrowing aspects of various strategies, and employing what you think is a successful plan.”
Luke Smoothy, Get It Made Ltd
9. Understand Data-driven Marketing
“One thing I wish I had known in school is how to use data to inform my marketing decisions. In the ever-changing landscape of digital marketing, data is king. Collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data is essential for success in the field. Without a strong understanding of data, it’s easy to get lost in all the noise and end up making poor marketing decisions.
While many resources are available to learn about data-driven marketing, I believe that having this knowledge from the start would have saved me a lot of time and energy. Using data effectively can help you make better-informed decisions about where to allocate your marketing budget and which strategies are likely to be most effective for your company. As someone who works in marketing, this is a skill that I believe would have been extremely helpful and that I continue to work on honing.”
Brian Hong, Big Easy SEO
10. Master the Art of Sales
“The one thing school didn’t prepare me for in my marketing career was how to sell. Through trial and error, I eventually learned to not take a cold call rebuff personally. I realized people have a set priority list and I needed to move my way up the list.
When you graduate and join a larger marketing agency, sales may be handled by a different department from your own. But at smaller agencies, you may need to handle sales calls as part of your responsibilities. Had school prepared me for how to sell, it would have offered a secondary bonus. Getting a prospect to buy either on the phone or in-person provides valuable insights which can be added to your marketing mix. By improving in one area, the other would also experience a boost. Making sales calls less intimidating would have made the start of my career much smoother.”
Jerry Han, PrizeRebel
To get FREE instructor access to Stukent’s courseware and groundbreaking simulation schedule a demo with a course consultant today.