Want to make it in marketing? Here's how

Updated: Aug 31, 2019

First published on Linkedin March 21, 2019

Just a scroll through my Linkedin network reveals the scores of people working at some level in the marketing industry here in Barbados, and I’m not connected to them all!

Besides them, there are many students or recent graduates who’ve contacted me and others on this platform, seeking advice on how to get an ‘in’ to a job in marketing in Barbados.

What does it take?

Well of course it starts with some knowledge, qualifications and or experience, a well thought through résumé, tenacity and a willingness to start somewhere. But brand and design strategy consultant Ann-Marie King of AEK Consulting puts into perspective what it really takes to succeed when you’ve finally got a foot in the door.

Be an effective collaborator

Ann-Marie relays the multidisciplinary effort it took to bring local agribusiness brand, Carmeta’s to reality both within her then team at the BADMC (Barbados Agricultural and Marketing Development Corporation) and externally. She makes this conclusion:

“I think probably the most important thing that I would say to anyone that wants to get into marketing is that you must learn to be an effective collaborator...you have to be able to work effectively with others who produce at a high standard in their particular area of expertise and you have to be functionally literate enough to speak their language and solve problems and discover and leverage opportunities.”

To achieve all that she also suggests the next ‘do’.

Find your area of focus

It’s easy to become a marketing generalist without realising it, many organisations who hire you almost expect it, but Ann-Marie advises:

“... it is better for you to focus and to become really really talented in that specific area that you’re passionate about and you’re good at and then learn to work with others and you can go far in a marketing career.”

Don’t give up

So much of marketing practice is task-driven, especially when you have a small team or you are entry or mid-level. Ann-Marie insists that you must persevere.

“There are going to be times in this career when... you have either a presentation or a launch or something that’s coming up and it seems virtually impossible the number of tasks that you still have to do, and I would just say to myself, ‘You know the launch is at x time on x day. You know what? At x time plus one minute, the earth will still be spinning on its axis and I will still be here.’ But perseverance is absolutely key.”

Don’t be timid

Many times as a marketer you work incredibly hard behind the scenes, especially because you know that there is often a lot of heavy criticism on your efforts when things go wrong.

Ann-Marie emphasises that it is critical to be courageous. She intimated that if you know your stuff there is everything to be confident about.

You’ve done the work, now speak and act confidently and invite success. If things do go wrong, learn from them and go forward again. Back to perseverance.

Love the people your brands serve

Let’s not forget that knowing your customer is half the battle, but Ann-Marie takes this a giant step further:

“Genuinely love the people you’re serving; the people your brand/your brands serve. If you genuinely love and understand them and feel comfortable among them, I think marketing that product/service just becomes easier, because [the brand and its customers] become like family to you…”

Listen to the full interview with Ann-Marie King where she reveals her thoughts on life as a marketer, the Carmeta’s brand and innovation, on the podcast Backstage with Bajan Brands’.

Read why Carmeta’s is one of my favourite Barbadian brands here.

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