Marketing is a career that requires continuous professional development.
You have to stay up to date on current trends and developments in the industry while simultaneously working to advance in your role.
Here, 12 marketing professionals discuss how they ensure they’re getting the professional development needed to excel in their roles and grow their careers?
Never Stop Growing Your Network
Learning from other marketing professionals, especially from those who have been in the industry for much longer than you have, is one of the best ways to develop your own skills and knowledge. But, don’t ignore the other professionals at your level as well. Many of them are seeking development too and together you can find opportunities and help each other to grow.
Earn New Credentials
Earn new credentials through online courses, webinars, or other types of professional education courses. Not only do you learn new information to help you better perform in your career, but you also earn something to share that proves your dedication to improving. Certifications are available almost anywhere and many can be done from the comfort of your own computer.
Read. Read. Read.
I think it is incredibly important to be a lifetime student. With markets, trends, and strategies changing constantly, it’s imperative to stay up to date and refine your skills. I take classes on Udemy, read newly released books on best practices, and watch tutorials on new tools that come onto the market.
Stay Up-to-Date On Industry Trends
With Google, Facebook, and other digital platforms making changes almost daily, professional development can not be a once a year activity. Gone are the days where attending one marketing conference a year will suffice. I make sure that I am staying up to date through email newsletters (MarketingProfs), monthly networking events (American Marketing Association and Digital Marketing Topics and Trends), and staying involved with marketing slack channels.
Audrey Hutnick, Marketing Manager
Create a Professional Plan
It’s crucial to create a 5 Year Professional Plan to help you achieve your goals. Not only should you outline what you want your professional growth to look like but also include the skills you would like to master to help guide your own professional growth. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t “achieve” a certain step on time. You may have to make a seemingly lateral move to achieve the next step in your plan.
Rita Winiecki, Brand Strategist
Expand Beyond Your Area of Expertise
I am constantly attending local meetups to connect with other marketing professionals and learn more about their journeys. I especially like to attend events where the speakers work outside of my area of expertise. Listening to social media gurus and email marketing experts helps me learn about activities outside of SEO marketing, and it helps me guide my clients as they expand their marketing activities.
Creatively, I like to always be exposed to new types of dynamic content. Not everything new will work with your branding and voice, but being aware will make you adaptable and constantly thinking of new ideas. Be cognizant of the kinds of ads you are being served in your personal life. Technically, and especially for social, how can you always be improving the accuracy of your supporting data? Every positive step in that direction creates more certainty that marketing is driving real revenue.
Jaclynne Mulligan, Senior Digital Marketing Strategist
Attend Conferences and Training Programs
I devote a certain amount of time and budget each year to professional development. This includes attending conferences and training programs that cover both general and targeted marketing topics. In addition, I follow a number of different organizations online to stay on top of trends, case studies, and best practices.
Expose Yourself to New Ideas
Never underestimate the power of cross-domain pollination as true innovation is usually the result of someone applying a concept from one domain to another in a unique or novel way. To continue to excel in marketing or anything for that matter, it is important to constantly expose yourself to new ideas and concepts that you can absorb and apply in practical ways.
I ask questions and stay connected with people I respect. I do my best to learn from people I don’t necessarily agree with and I always ask people what they’re reading. I’ve never met someone I can’t learn from – no matter their age or station in life.
Meagan DeMenna, Head of Marketing and Communications
Go Back to School
Recognizing that need for continuous education is the first step. I went back to school to get my master’s degree in integrated marketing communications more than a decade after completing my undergraduate studies; it was one of the best career decisions I made. Research extensively the myriad marketing education resources available and pursue those opportunities to become a better marketer, rather than for a shiny title or financial gain.
Rennie Leon, Director of Marketing and Communications
Find a Mentor. Be a Mentor.
There are many ways to stay agile in the market, all of which take work, time, and quite frankly generosity. I talk a lot about free classes through partners like Coursera, which offer ivy league courses for free in a variety of subjects. But I think another really important one is mentorship. If you’re lucky enough to have great leadership at your organization then take advantage of that – ask for time, set up coffee, volunteer for work, build relationships. If you aren’t lucky enough to have mentorship available at your place of work then ask for it elsewhere (hi Linkedin). And when you’re in a position of being able to help someone else, do it, you might be surprised to learn that you benefit as well.
Sydney Stern Miller, Growth Marketing Lead