Futureproofing Your Marketing Career
Our resident marketing guru (also know as our Associate Marketing Director) Ewan Anderson recently visited Robert Gordon University to discuss the future of marketing with some post graduate students, in conjunction with the Chartered Institute of Marketing. In advance of his talk we had a long discussion about the current state of the market, what skills employers are looking for, and what continued education should look like for this generation of marketeers.
Perhaps the most convoluted area of discussion, and one that we are frequently asked about by our candidates, is specialisation. Are you better to pick particular area of marketing and becoming very, very good at it? Or are employers more keen to have candidates with a wide range of skills? Most importantly - what offers the best chances of future employment?
As in every discussion in recruitment, our final conclusions were quite nuanced. Below is a general guide to what we think are the right choices to make and how to future proof your career as you progress.
Where are you now?
Figuring out exactly where you are with your career, and therefore where to go next, is something the most difficult part of planning your future. Introspection and self-analysis is tough, but they’re important skills to develop. Some questions to consider are:
- What do I do now on a day to day basis?
- What have I added to my skillset from the last time I moved job?
- What soft skills have I improved on?
- What do my colleagues think are my strongest suits?
- What would my colleagues think are my weaknesses?
By answering these questions you will start to develop a fairly clear of whether you have become a generalist guru, or have developed a laser focus in one area.
Where do you want to go next?
Figuring out where you want to be in the long term can help you decide what your next role should look like. This is where specialisation becomes an issue you need to address.
If you want to be a Head of SEO or PPC, or Head of Insight, then it makes sense to really narrow down and become an expert in those particular subject matters. However, if you want to look at being the next Marketing Director of a big FTSE 100 company, or if you want to eventually run your own business, then you need to develop a broad base of skills. This can vary slightly if you see yourself in a role such as Head of Digital - in which case you still need to be more generalist, but across the entire digital marketing spectrum .
Once you have decided this, step back and look at Step One. Identify the gaps in what you want to do versus what you can already do and then move onto Step Three.
What do I need to learn?
Successful people tend to all have one thing in common - continually pursuing professional development. No great leader or innovator in any field has ever assumed that they know everything - strength lie in knowing your weaknesses and focusing your learning on the areas you need to improve. Look at the gaps in your knowledge you identified in Steps One and Two, and then develop a plan to improve those areas. This process can often involve questioning whether or not your current employer can offer you opportunities to improve these skills, or if you should consider a new role if you want to move forward.
Do it over and over again
This may seem laborious, and to an extent it is, but it is an essential part of ensuring that your career is futureproofed. Resting on your laurels can lead to five years slipping past while you stay on the same salary doing the same role, falling behind your peers and without the breadth of skills opportunities you require to be on a parr with them.
At its very core, the question of whether or not to specialise comes down to what you enjoy doing, what the demand in your industry is, and what your talents best lend themselves to. Whatever route you take, success follows those who constantly push themselves upwards and out of their comfort zones and who never stop learning.
Eden Scott is always happy to provide career advice, to help you figure out what your next move should be, and to advise on what skills are required and in demand in the marketplace. If you would like to have a chat about futureproofing your career, please get in touch on Claire.firstname.lastname@example.org or 0141 410 1009.