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Marketing Insights Q&A: What is the best advice for a marketer just starting out?

Welcome to another Marketing Insights Q&A. Today’s question we’re answering is:

What is the best advice for a marketing just starting out?

To answer this, we’ll talk through the three Ps:

People: your personal network of people smarter and better than you as well as your peers
Process: your golden cookbook of strategies, tactics, and methods of execution that work well
Platform: your focus of study, your deep investment in yourself that you want to be known for


First is people. These are the folks you need to invest in to grow your network. When networking there are three types of people you need to invest in 1) those senior to you 2) peers; and 3) junior folks coming after you.

The first group is those that are senior in your network are the experts you follow, that you look up to. These are typically folks that have had longer careers, have more years experience and have held roles that you’re interested in. It can be difficult to build a relationship with someone who is at the top of their field, but not impossible. Your first mentor is not going to be Avinash Kaushik or Neil deGrasse Tyson. Instead, look for people who are a little further along than you. Look for people who are publishing good content and connect with them.

The second group of people is your peers. These are the people who are getting started out the same time as you and these are folks in the workforce. These folks when you are in school, particularly for college and graduate students. This is the literal cohort that you graduate with keep in touch with those connections for anybody who you actually enjoy spending time with keep in touch with those folks, because you don’t know where those folks are going to land in 5, 10,15, 20 years from now.

The third group of people is juniors or those that will come after you. Someone being junior to you is not about chronological age, it has to do with experience. If you’ve been at your company for a year you have more institutional knowledge that a person just walking in the door. As time goes by, you have an obligation to pass along what you’ve learned, help to train and to grow the expertise of those who are junior to you. You don’t know where those people are going to land over time. You may work with somebody at one company and down the line when you change jobs you could end up reporting to that person. Take the time to invest in those senior to you, at the same level as you and those that will follow you. You never know where those relationships will lead.


Second is process. You need to build your own book of best practices. The one that I build for myself is called a “golden cookbook.” It’s a powerpoint of roughly a hundred slides. It includes things that I’ve learned or created over the years. It contains frameworks, idea, charts, and other concepts that are handy to have all in one place. For example, there are some familiar frameworks such as SWOT and Porter’s 5 forces. Then there are slides that outline my own people, process, and platform intersections. I’ve created the slides to be easily accessible for my talks, proposals, and clients. Having your own golden cookbook will help you document what you’re learning. It’s just like your own notebook or textbook in school, but for your career.

Later on in your career, once it’s been filled out a little bit, it becomes a proof of your experience and your knowledge of what you’ve learned. When you start assembling your cookbook you’re going to have materials from a lot of other people and companies as reference materials. You want those reminders also of “hey this is what I’ve learned a long way”. Over time, the cookbook will become more essential, especially if you ever find yourself in a position of having to demonstrate your expertise. It’s going to be one of the best things you can put together as a portfolio of what you can do and what you know.


The third is platform. If you want to succeed and digital marketing. If you want to have a functioning career of any kind, you need to invest in yourself; you need to invest in your personal platform. This means not only being really good at something but taking the time and effort to develop an expertise that is second to none.

You may not necessarily become the best, but you’ll want to be in the top 1%. Where do you start? Pick something you enjoy and get really good at it. All right. You’ve got decades. This means extra reading, online courses, and continued curiosity. Take a year, maybe five, to test something out and see if you really like it. For example, let’s say you’re interested in machine learning. For the next year you invest time into training yourself and at the end of that year, you decide it’s not for you. Go ahead and switch it up. Changing lanes is not wasted time. You’re always learning something new and something about yourself. When you do find what you’re most interested in, strive to be the best. We don’t need to settle for good enough, we live in a world where mediocre is unnecessary.

To invest in yourself doesn’t mean you have to spend money. There are millions of videos on YouTube for just about every topic. Google, Hubspot, and Twitter offer free courses. You have to be willing to invest the time. That’s where people fall down. They expect somebody else to do it for them or to hand it to them. It doesn’t work like that. If you invest the time in yourself you will see incredible career growth because the majority of people are not investing the time. Many will take the minimum amount of training required by their employer. These are the folks that want to get out of school, get a paycheck, and they just muddle along and kind of learn stuff as they pick it up, hoping for the best.

If you’re a marketing who is just starting your career or looking to change careers, consider the three P’s: People, Process, Platform. Have questions, want to know more? Consider our Table for Four consulting or just drop us a line.

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