What got me into Marketing.

When you don’t have anything interesting to talk about, tell a story. That’s what I’ll be doing in this post as I have kind of stalled on my motivation and interest in writing about something fresh and up-and-coming (Hopefully that will change soon). With that being said, I figured that it would be a good time to do a little story telling. After all, story telling has been proved by psychologists to be effective in helping people conceptualize topics.

I would take some time to share how I got into marketing as I think it might be interesting to some readers and helpful for others who might be exploring getting into the field themselves. My interest in this vocational field stretches all the way back to my days as a high school student. Throughout most of my high school career, I was strongly leaning towards studying pre-law when I got to college and then going to law school to become a lawyer. This was because I found my American history, business law, and political science classes to be the most compelling.

At the same time I was working at the local Chipotle Mexican Grill 4 days a week. There I developed a passion for guerrilla marketing. While I worked there (2004-2008), the only kind of marketing Chipotle would do in the Indianapolis market was to give their food away for free in the form of free food cards and event sponsorships. As a side note, they’ve since realized that at least 50% of the people who redeemed their free burrito cards were free loaders who didn’t have the financial resources to go to Chipotle twice a week for lunch. Consequently they’ve opted to pursue the buy one get one free (BOGO) route. Anyway, the local marketing manager for the central Indiana market would often entrust me to pass these free burrito cards out to people on the streets. I was energized by the relationship between educating people about a brand and getting them to become regular customers. I knew that this was something I could pursue in the long run.

Needless to say at this time becoming a lawyer was my greater preoccupation. But as time went on I began to gain a more holistic view of the legal profession. To put it as nicely as I can, I discovered that the industry was full of jerks (that’s not to say all lawyers are like that of course). Consequently I decided to pursue business when I got to college instead. I picked up a marketing minor my sophomore year of college and the rest has been history.

If you are someone who is interested in pursuing marketing as a profession, I do have a little bit of advice for you.

  • Know that marketing is an extremely dynamic term. Everyone has their own definition of what constitutes marketing. Formulate your definition in a formal manner and then figure out what you need to do to learn about it and gain experience in the field.
  • Learn to do a lot of different things. One of the things that has really helped me is to develop as wide a range of skills as possible. I’m certainly not perfect in any area, but I am capable of doing a wide range of things like marketing mix modeling, graphic design, presentations, sales, press releases, account management, and client service. There are a lot of people who would disagree with me and say that you should specialize in something, but those are the people who are institutionalized and end up working for someone else their entire lives. (Zing!)  The people who love their marketing jobs the most are the ones that have learned to do multiple things to keep their jobs fresh and interesting.

2 Comment

  1. Thanks for sharing your history Steve, it was helpful to me as i m pursuing a career in Marketing. I ll keep the things you have noted in mind.

  2. You’re welcome Raj. Good luck on pursuing your career!

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