I receive a lot of inquires through my website. Recently, ChangHyun Park, who is a 9th Grader at Dongtan Global High School in South Korea, sent me a very special email.
Dear Pam, I am a student in Dongtan Global High School. My dream is and has been [becoming] a marketer for a long time. Recently, I have read your book and have been deeply impressed and motivated. The reason I e-mailed you is because I would like to interview you through e-mail to reach my dream. I would be asking eight to ten questions, if you would allow me to interview you. I believe that the interview would work out as a great stimulus to achieve my dream. Please reply through my email. Sincerely, Park ChangHyun*
A 15-year old high school student whose native language is not English actually read my book and wrote to me. I am deeply impressed. How can I say No to a student whose dream is to become a marketer? I immediately responded that I am more than happy to answer his questions. Below are my answers to his questions. Feel free to add your comment to my answers! I am sure that ChangHyun will also benefit from your wisdom and experience.
*Editor’s note: Koreans sign off with their last name first.
1. Could you give me a brief introduction of yourself?
As a starting point, feel free to check out my website on Global Content Marketing. In summary, I worked in various positions from planning, operations, purchasing to marketing at Intel for 20 years. I left my corporate job last year and published a book, Global Content Marketing. I have been speaking, conducting workshops and working on marketing projects. I also started teaching an online grad-school course at West Virginia University.
2. What kind of department major and what kind of certificate or license is required [to hold such positions and roles]?
Clearly, if you are determined to enter the marketing field, you should take marketing courses offered in your high school and eventually in college. That will help get a first job in marketing but the path isn’t always direct. In fact, you may find that other courses you take or other opportunities that present themselves over the course of your career have greater appeal to you. I had finance and accounting degrees but I eventually ended up in the marketing field unforeseeable twists of fate. My husband had a marketing degree, but he has been an IT manager for over 20 years. The important thing is to learn an area well but be open and looking for new and interesting opportunities when they present themselves.
3. Your book, “Global Content Marketing: How to Create Great Content, Reach More Customers, and Build a Worldwide Marketing Strategy that Works,” was selected as one of the Top 10 Marketing books of 2014. Do you think there were any requisites or factors that differentiated your book from others?
Unlike many others, my book is really a ‘how-to’ book. I targeted marketing professionals who are interested in building an internal process to scale their content marketing across regions. I don’t think there are a lot of ‘how-to’ books out there.
4. I have always thought that marketing is a type of psychological area since it always requires the marketer to think about how the consumer will think and how they will react. What do you think about my opinion? Do you think marketing is a type of physiological area?
I agree with you. Frankly, studying psychology can also help your marketing acumen and understand of human behavior. Knowing how people behave and act is vital in order to be able to shape a company’s marketing messaging and to align that messaging with their emotional needs. Behavior drives marketing.
5. During your speech, “The New Rules of Marketing & How You can Use Them to Your Advantage,” you stated design as an important part of marketing and defined design as the overall experience you create online and offline. Do you think the ability to design is necessary to accomplish the job Marketer?
I don’t think marketers need to be good designers. As a marketer, you don’t really need to “design” your company’s products or services. However, it’s important to be able to see which designs work or which don’t work, especially if you are responsible for mobile apps or websites. Marketers also need to work closely with designers. As a marketer, the important thing is that you need to understand how a design will impact your marketing strategy, messaging and executions.
6. Was there a certain project or situation that motivated you in your career as a marketer?
I fell into marketing almost by accident. But becoming part of a high functioning, well-run team excited me and made me want to learn more about marketing and become better at it.
7. What do you think will happen to the role of a marketer in 20 years (considering the development of technology after 20 years)?
Technology is always changing. It’s hard to realize now but Facebook and Weibao weren’t even concepts 20 years ago. A marketer needs to keep abreast of technology trends and figure out how consumers are using, interacting and being affected by new ways of communicating. The function of a marketer will not change but the landscape that he or she is a part of will continue to evolve. The best marketers will anticipate trends and be able to use them to reach potential customers.
8. Will it be necessary for me to start studying about different types and strategies of marketing through books?
I’d actually advise that you read less, do more. Walk into a marketing agency and ask them if they can hire you as an intern. Don’t worry about getting paid (if you can afford to spend your time) as the experience of working will be valuable to you. If they say ‘no’ ask them to keep you in mind but then try another agency. You have nothing to lose but potentially a great deal to gain. Start “doing’ marketing tasks by promoting yourself through content creation. Create a podcast, a short video clip or a blog. You need to do it regularly though. Trust me, I know it’s a lot of work, but you will learn so much from doing it. You will learn how to talk, how to write and how to promote. Here is an example: Why don’t you do a short podcast or a video review of my book; what you found useful and what you think could have been better. If you read another book, do the same thing by sharing your thoughts. Then start promoting your content to your friends on your own social media channels. Start with baby steps. You learn more by “doing.”
9. Are there any specific marketing strategies that are becoming a trend other than advertisements?
To name a few:
- Mobile marketing (marketing on mobile devices)
- Social media marketing
- Data-driven marketing (using data to optimize your marketing efforts)
- Search marketing (organic search and keyword buy)
- Omni-channel marketing
It doesn’t matter what kind of marketing it is, the bottom line is to connect your products and services with your customers.
10. Is there any last advice you would like to give to students like me who are dreaming to become a marketer?
Discover what topics you are passionate about. Use those topics to create content and learn to promote it. Through these activities, you will learn more about marketing. You will also learn more about yourself.
Thank YOU, ChangHyun! It means a lot that you read my book. I’m confident you will do very well in your life and career. I hope to meet you one day. Best of luck! Pam