I have been blessed with being able to stay at the same company for 19 years. However, in the year 2014, being ‘stuck’ with one company for so long may be considered a stigma by some.
The reality is I have jumped around, just within the same company.
I have done different jobs from finance, planning, operations, manufacturing, purchasing and event marketing to marketing strategy. Looking back now, I am very grateful that I have had opportunities to do so many different jobs at Intel. It gives me perspective on how a company is run.
Being a marketing strategist, I set up strategies and offer guidance for different marketing functions and geographies to follow. To understand our audience and overall competitive landscape, I talk to our sales team, customers, read third-party research and conduct focus group testing with our researchers. I make sure that I do my homework and the strategy is backed with data and extensive research. This is a good start but it is not enough! In the past, I would read about Search Engine Marketing (SEM) but was not able to make connections as to how that impacted web traffic, content creation and user experience design of a web page. I have had a Twitter account, but I did not know how Twitter could be incorporated into the overall integrated marketing mix. Also, I did not know that different writing styles were needed for Twitter communications.
I asked myself: If I could not understand how everything was connected, how could I provide proper guidance to my fellow marketing colleagues?
In 2011, I decided to be a blogger, launch my own website and syndicate my blogs to different social media outlets. I wanted to understand how “things” work. Through the launch and re-launch of my website, I learned about user-experience, keyword search, web design, and web traffic tracking. Through e-mail campaigns, I learned that lead generation was incredibly challenging. Throughout blogging, I learned that having a point of view and the quality of content matters. Through syndicating blog content, I learned about various social media outlets. I needed to find which ones worked for me.
Furthermore, I even spent my own money buying Facebook ads to get a sense of how to optimize ad buying. I have learned so much in the past two and a half years. I still talk to my sales team, my target audience, and I still read secondary reports about trends and pundits’ opinions. Also, I still work closely with my researchers to conduct primary research for product and audience studies. These are still great ways to learn.
But I’ve come to realize that the best way to learn is to get my hands dirty.
Be in the trenches and just get things done any way possible. Get out your own shovels and start digging your own trenches. You will be surprised what comes out of it.
“…to learn and not to do is really not to learn. To know and not to do is really not to know.” ― Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change