Building a successful career in marketing, media, or advertising is an exercise in making smart choices by anticipating constant change.
Technology, business processes, and economic conditions will be in continuous evolution or flux for the next fifty years. As the year winds down and many of us re-evaluate where we are and where we’re heading, accept this premise and prepare yourself to move ahead. Ask yourself three critical questions.
What do you know? Take a hardcore skills inventory. Don’t cheat. Figure out what you know, what you’ve been exposed to, and what you can do, even if you haven’t done it yet. Think about the kinds of skills and the subtle nuances that separate top-notch players from also-rans.
Be critical and honest with yourself, but don’t limit yourself. Most of us can easily stretch. And most of us, who are paying attention, can probably do the jobs of those around us and possibly even our managers. Decide what you know and use it as a springboard for your next job search.
What do you think? If you don’t have an operating hypothesis about where things are heading, you are flying blind. Everybody knows that things will get smaller, faster, more mobile, more social, more complex, and more competitive. Find your own true north and have a point of view about what’s next. It’s about how people change their thinking, their habits, their movements, their rhetoric, and their behavior. It’s not about new technology.
Mine your experience. Talk to friends. Read everything you can get your hands on. Participate in industry forums. Keep your eyes on the horizon and skeptically separate the endless hype from practical reality. A handful of new things will really make a difference. Most won’t. Figure out what you think is going to happen and then align yourself and your skills or experience to capitalize on things as they develop. Don’t be hesitant. There are so few people with a considered perspective that having a POV, even a wrong one, is a competitive differentiator.
Who do you know? Contacts and serendipity play an outsized role in most careers. It’s the random person in your network who cues you about a great new job, invites you to become part of a promising start-up, or tells you when to bail out. Make friends. Collect acquaintances. Join groups. Be visible on Linkedin. Help as many people as you can. Be open to friends of friends. Track down people you hear about or admire. Follow opinion leaders on social media.
Don’t be bashful. Tell people what you’re looking for, what you want, and what you can do. Nobody likes a braggart, but few of us read minds. Judiciously share your outlook and your requests with the people around you. Don’t be subtle. Be direct and explicit. You’ll be surprised at the general willingness to help or to scout things out for you. You never know who knows whom or who will think about you at the right time or the right place.
Danny Flamberg, EVP Managing Director of Digital Strategy and CRM at Publicis based in New York, has been building brands and building businesses for more than 30 years.Prior to joining Publicis, he led a successful global consulting group called Booster Rocket, as Managing Partner. Before becoming a consultant, he was Vice President of Global Marketing at SAP, SVP and Managing Director at Digitas in New York and Europe and President of Relationship Marketing at Amiratti Puris Lintas and Lowe Worldwide.
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