Developing your marketing skills is like working out your muscles - you need to do it continuously. So in this blog, I’m going to go over 8 ways to develop your marketing skills faster.
1.Look for a Culture of Learning and Growth at Your Workplace
No matter where you are working, there is an opportunity to learn. But once you stop learning, it’s time to move on.
The worst thing I think you can do is stay at a job where you are in the status quo where there is no growth, no progress, no learning.
It’s very easy to get comfortable in a job. It's easy to stay and hard to leave. But let me tell you. I made this mistake. I stayed at a place way too long and it 100% hindered my growth. I would have advanced so much faster had I not taken the easy way out and stayed there. The biggest sign that you should start looking for a new job is when you aren’t learning anymore. And obviously if you’re being disrespected.
Signs that there are opportunities for growth:
New projects coming up
A manager that can also mentor you
Every week you feel like you are learning new things at your job
If you’re in a situation where you really cannot find another job here are 3 ways to stimulate learning in your current job:
Ask your superiors if they are willing to finance in a marketing certificate that you find online. Just make sure it's aligned with the projects you're working on
Another way to stimulate learning in your job is to take 2 hours a week to research how you can build upon the projects your marketing team is already working on.
And the last way to stimulate learning in your job is to ask to start different projects. Align the project with the goals of the company and tell them why you want to work on this new project. I did something similar in my job in 2018, I pitched upper management that we should hold a conference. Now, I don't recommend just jumping into event management. I had prior experience and it was still way too wild for me to have done by myself. However, a benefit I did not foresee of this event was building my network which helped me start my podcast that you are listening to today. By giving yourself more opportunities you never really know what you’re going to learn, it might be way more than you think.
All this to say is that learning is so important in marketing. Things are always changing and we need to stay on top strategies and trends. Look for a culture that supports career development to help you develop your marketing skills faster.
2. Learning During Your Free Time
Another way to develop your marketing skills faster is to learn on your own time. Consume content outside of your 9-5. I put together a list of 5 books to help your marketing skills if you're not sure where to get started.
But if books aren’t your thing, watch YouTube videos, podcasts and there are so many free resources online like certifications that are free.
I do want to put a disclaimer that not every YouTube video about marketing is good so definitely find a good source to watch videos before committing so much time to it.
Personally, I read books, attend webinars and watch YouTube videos to exercise skills on a weekly basis.
Reminder: Your marketing skills are what get you better opportunities. Marketing is your career now. Developing your skills faster benefits you first. Then it benefits your job.
Now before you start consuming every piece of marketing content you can find, I would recommend consuming the content that is relevant to your niche. For example, I work as Assurance IT and we offer cyber security solutions. So when I am consuming content, I don’t listen to or watch video about e-commerce. Not only would I be spending a lot of time on subjects that aren’t relevant but I won’t be able to apply it.
3. Apply What Your Learn
Apply what you learn. This is an important part of points 1 and 2. Without applying what you learn, you won't develop your marketing skills as fast or as well.
I want to give you an example. In university, I volunteered on a marketing association. We held events to bring the real world to the marketing students.
So when I would learn something in class I would try to apply it to this association. How do we let people know about the event? How do we make our event stand out from all the others? How do we build a reputable brand?
We ended up winning an award for most improve association and we held the most events that year. So in your case, you want to apply what you learn.
Now I'm going to take it one step further. Another great way to apply what you learn is to start a side hustle. Just exercising the application of what you learn is super important and you can do that if you have a side project.
For me it was this podcast. It helps me learn about marketing every day. If not a podcast, it may be an Instagram page or ecommerce store, or building your skills by offering freelance services. Applying what you learn is just as important as going out and learning it.
4. Find a Mentor
The thing about finding mentors is that it's hard. It's hard to says hey can you mentor me for free. Ideally, you have someone within your organization to help you advance your career. That would be the best because you have easy access to them every single day.
But it doesn't always happen that way. And what I learned about mentors is that obviously the best mentors are the ones where you can communicate to them and call them and see them maybe on a weekly basis. But not everyone can afford that.
So I want you to think about mentors a little bit differently. I want you to think of them as people that you can look up to that you can learn from but aren't necessarily people you know personally.
I'll give you an example. Throughout my marketing career I never had a one-to-one mentor however I always consumed content from Vanessa Lau, Mel Robbins and Gary Vaynerchuk.
Although I never met them and they don't know who I am I would still consider them mentors. I consume their content every day and rely on them to help me make decisions. Vanessa Lau helps content creators. Mel Robbins motivates everyone and Gary Vaynerchuk is all about business and marketing.
I would like to recommend this kind of mentorship to you because 1) it's accessible and 2) you start looking to one source of truth for everything that you do, which is necessary when there is endless amount of information out there.
Mentors pose as a guiding light of inspiration and continuous source of knowledge. You don't need to have a one-to-one mentor if you can't invest in one right now. And I hope this alternative helps you in your journey.
5. Embrace Rejection
The 5th way to develop your marketing skills faster is to embrace rejection.
Let me explain. If you work on a team with more than one person, meaning if you work with anyone else, there will always be many ideas floating around. And your ideas might not be chosen. That’s just how it works.
In a team of marketers, everyone will have great ideas. But the reality is that only one idea gets chosen at a time. Which means all other ideas will be rejected. My advice is to not take it personally.
If you take it personally, you will back away from offering ideas and that’s only a detriment to you.
A while ago, I had someone on a team I managed. When we were going our separate ways, she told me she thought I hated her. When in reality all I was doing was telling her to correct posts because she wouldn't review her work and there would be typos. Had she listened instead of taken is personally, she would have improved her writing skills.
And I was in a similar position. I did an internship where my manager told my school that I can be more proactive. Instead of accepting that because she was right, I could NOT believe she said that behind my back. Had I taken her advice, I would have fueled my efforts to be more proactive and been a better marketer for it.
6. Ask for Feedback.
This one is hard to do. Because once you open that door where you make someone comfortable giving you criticism, it can turn on something awful.
However, it can also turn on something amazing. And you need it for your growth. You need it so you can push yourself to be better. And also getting feedback from the beginning of your career to desensitize yourself for anything harsher that comes your way.
And that’s just a superpower. Being able to view feedback as fuel for growth. Superpower.
7. Never settle on your first idea.
Back to when I volunteered in the marketing association, we needed to come up with ideas for a lot of things. But even when we came up with an idea, we kept brainstorming.
And then we would always come up with a better idea.
Push yourself a little harder than you what you're used to. Similar to when you're at the gym, you don't want to do that last rep but you do it anyway. You have to do the same with your ideas. If it takes a little longer, so be it. If you need to ask a few more people, do it.
Exercise this habit and you'll come up with a sharper idea.
8. Join a Marketing Community
The last way to develop your marketing skills faster is to join a marketing community. Eventually I hope we can create one here for Marketing Bound because they are so valuable.
You get to bounce ideas off of your peers, you get to ask questions when you’re not sure about something. You get the opinion of many people all at once. You get to help others and you grow your community.
It might take a while to find a good community to join and that’s okay. You want to make sure it’s aligned with your goals and the skills you want to develop.
So that’s a wrap on the 8 ways to develop your marketing skills faster. Let me know if you have any questions.
Stay in Touch:
To get Marketing Bound Resources in your box twice a month, subscribe today.
About the Marketing Bound podcast:
Helping new B2B marketers look good at work. Tune in to the Marketing Bound Podcast to develop your marketing skills, navigate the corporate world like a pro, boost your confidence in your role and access the greatest minds in B2B marketing. Join Laura L. Bernhard every week to fast-track your career in B2B. Subscribe to the Marketing Bound Podcast on Spotify or on Apple Podcasts.