Wondering what working in digital marketing is really like?Not that I walk around checking out my coworkers, but I work with some incredibly smart and talented people. The learning curve for many of the platforms we use is pretty steep, but once it clicks, magic happens! I look back at some of my struggles and wonder how I made it through my first few months of work. There are still conversations where I just smile and nod, but if you have a question about how the XML triggers the email then captures data to populate the broadlog which drives the prescriptive engine, I can tell you who to talk to. So here's what working in digital marketing is really like.
1. “Your Ego Ain’t Your Amigo”
Some requests can be crazy, but at the end of the day you either get on the train or rolled over by the train. It’s easy to say no, but saying no without a legitimate reason isn’t accepted. We are supposed to be the best at what we do, so we find a way. Maybe that sounds a little more cutthroat than it actually is, but back to the “I work with really smart people” point, there is always someone willing to dig deeper. Being surrounded by really smart people is one of the best answers for what working in digital marketing is really like.
2. Crazy Can Catch on
Like the one time one of our email developers and I decided to convince our client that this Taco Bell email would be really sweet to use for a consumer electronics campaign. Unfortunately, there were some email client (think Gmail or Apple Mail) restrictions that prevented us from actually moving forward with it, but they took the crazy idea and rolled with it. Those conversations opened the door for other talks around how to use innovation and gamification in an otherwise “boring” marketing space.
3. Who Does Number 2 Work for?
(Remember the good ‘ol days of Austin Powers - this has nothing to do with that, I just thought it sounded funny.) I work for an agency and that’s oddly difficult to explain to people. So you work for this company, but you don’t WORK for said company. Exactly. And it’s pretty cool because we have tons of clients and I couldn’t tell you half of what we do for them, but we get to bounce ideas off one another and troubleshoot in ways you wouldn’t be able to if we all worked on one client.
4. Numbers Have Lost Their Value
The first email I sent “on my own” was a Valentine’s email to roughly 2 million people. I still remember how crazy that felt. 2 MILLION PEOPLE. It’s so hard to conceptualize the reach we have. The more you send to that number of people, the more normal it becomes. As my friends (and my dad) learn what I do and they get an email from my client, I get texts saying “thanks for your offer” as if I had personally sent them an email.
5. Some Days Ya Got It, Some Days Ya Don’t
Have you ever read the legal disclaimers at the bottom of an email or a web page? The Alt text? Yeah, I hadn’t either. It takes an incredible attention to detail to get our emails right. (And funny enough, I don’t feel like I have that great of attention to detail. I guess I have someone fooled). But seriously, some days you catch the minute details and others you don’t and that’s why you have teammates who are there to point it out even when no one but us would ever notice.
6. Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
One of the most cliche sayings around? Absolutely. Yet it’s so true. I look at the last year, the good and the bad, and can’t imagine having accomplished what we have without the incredible people on my team. I know for certain I drive them crazy, but I think it’s like crazy family crazy.
To be honest, I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I accepted the position at Merkle. Well, I thought I did, but looking back I really didn’t. I guess my limbic brain told me it was the right place for me. So here I am, a year in: still learning, still confused, and yet so far from a year ago. Still excited.