It’s the one question we all get when we meet new people: “So what do you do?”
For some folks, it’s a clear and specific answer — medicine, law, sales, etc. “I’m in pharmaceutical sales,” is an easy one for some people.
For marketers, though, there is no easy answer because it depends on a variety of factors that play into the type of marketing that any of us may do. There’s no single job description that could possibly capture it all.
“Oh, so you make commercials?”
“You build websites?”
“Do you do PR?”
Yes, yes and yes. But that’s not really all that we do. In fact each of those very tangible outputs is just a small fraction of what we do as marketers. It’s a lot more complex than simply creating an advertising campaign, although that is what most people see.
How do you talk about building a brand strategy? Or developing target markets? Or building social media communities?
There’s no one specific way to sum up everything a marketer does. I’ve almost given up trying. How can we possibly capture it all in one succinct, ready-for-a-cocktail party answer?
Try this on for size: “I’m in marketing, and I make decisions.”
Yes, there is in fact one thing that all marketers do, regardless of industry, regardless of size and regardless of whether we’re in a company that’s publicly traded or privately held. We make decisions.
We make decisions about how to create, maintain and grow our businesses. We make decisions all day long.
With a base foundation of a strong brand identity and strong knowledge of our customer, we make decisions that put out fire drills; produce immediate results; and create long term success. In fact, we have to decide on our brand identity and our customer before even get started.
We make decisions on pricing, packaging, communications, new product developments, employee relations – the entire gamut of running a business. These are decisions that are made by marketers.
We do that. We make those decisions all day long. Some are small and quick while others are bigger and farther reaching.
It’s the obvious stuff, like what customers see in the marketplace, but it’s also an entire range of work that includes how to handle a product issue or a social media snafu.
A marketer’s work is never done.
So next time someone asks you what it is that you do, don’t just mumble out an answer about advertising or promotion, tell them you make decisions all day long.
“I’m in marketing, and I make decisions.”