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Digital Marketing: Graduates, your learning is just beginning

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By Regina Gilloon-Meyer, correspondent

Marketing graduates, you may be saying goodbye to the classroom, but the real learning curve is just beginning. You picked one of the most dynamic careers in the business world, particularly those of you getting into digital marketing.

Your first job is just the beginning of your real education, and only those who can keep up will succeed.

On that happy note, here’s some career advice from a few marketing veterans who have experienced the total disruption of the marketing profession and lived to tell about it.

1. Get real — Real-life marketing will be a little different from the classroom. Well, a lot different, actually.

Be realistic. It’s unlikely that your first job will be your “dream job” and you won’t get to create that million-dollar campaign on your first assignment.

However, if you show enthusiasm, efficiency and tenacity for whatever project you’re on, you will build a resume that can take you anywhere.

2. Practice everything, specialize in something — The world of digital marketing requires skill sets in a number of disciplines. While you should have a good understanding and the ability to execute on a variety of digital marketing strategies, specializing in one area will help you standout and increase your value to the company.

3. Stay fresh — That means being able to create content — and lots of it. Today, businesses have to serve up fresh content on a smorgasbord of platforms — social, website, apps, video, traditional media, events, etc.

Once your content grows stale, the search engines move on and so do your customers.

4. Stay open and teachable — Yes, the world of digital marketing is full of fads and copycats. But even so, you can’t dismiss anything out of hand, no matter how crazy the concept may seem at first blush. Some trends die out quickly while others take two or three iterations to get traction. Dedicate a chunk of your day to keeping up with industry trends and tactics.

By learning what’s new and what’s changing, you can help your business keep its competitive edge.

5. Do the math — If you got into marketing because it was the least “math-y” specialty in the business school, well that was a bit of a miscalculation. In the digital age, your web analytics are (or at least they should be) the basis of every decision you make.

Don’t despair, though. Marketing math often tells a fascinating story, which makes it a lot more fun than, say, accounting. Regardless of your preferences, analytics rule in modern business so suck it up and dig in.

6. Be a team player — How you function within a marketing team will be as important as any individual skill you bring to the table.

Be involved and active within your team. Show support for a plan if you think it is great and speak up if you have an alternative suggestion.

In this collaborative role, know that the team may not accept all your ideas. Stay positive and be respectful, anyway. Share information, experience and resources.

Your willingness to collaborate will make a good impression and pave the way to your future leadership roles.

• Regina Gilloon-Meyer is a content marketing specialist for Fusionfarm, a division of The Gazette Company. (319) 368-8530, regina@fusionfarm.com, @Regiimary

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