With Summer ending and the thought of Fall arriving, I’ve been reflecting on my conversations with family and friends over the last several few months. It’s been nice to have some down time to catch up with people. One interesting conversation trend has been what you tell your family/friends that you do for a living. It’s been a particularly passionate topic with my fellow Marketeers.
From “thefreedictionary.com” the definition of a Marketeer:
mar•ket•er (mär k -t r) also mar•ket•eer (-k -tîr ) is as follows: “One that sells goods or services in or to a market, especially one that markets a specified commodity”
Wow. That’s incredibly exciting. The “job descriptions” have varied greatly. When we speak to each other, there’s a code we use to talk about our areas of focus and expertise but the language does not translate readily to others not in the business. There is a common element that arises when the conversation shifts from friends in the business to family and friends. I heard one person say they work to understand how consumers think, what they want in their products, how to talk to them and how to reach them with messages that will influence them. I understand that but it’s quite a mouthful for the uninitiated. The explanation may be accurate, but it’s also not something that rolls off your tongue. It also doesn’t tell anyone who isn’t in the business what you actually do. Additionally, I highly doubt that anyone would be able to repeat the phrase with any degree of accuracy. Other people talk about being in “ad sales” or “brand strategy”. We know what that means, but what does the average Joe think of that? How do we translate all that we do and our passion for our jobs into something meaningful?
The most common answer to “what do you do?” for Marketeers is …..”I create/produce those ads you see on TV”. Seriously. I remember this from when I first entered the market. At the time, it was fun. It didn’t bother me that no one really understood the level of thinking that goes into each nuance and action we take. As the years have passed, it troubles me more that people don’t understand the art and science of marketing.
Other than the impact on our personal issue, why does this matter? Imagine, instead of having this conversation with your family, you’re having it with non-marketing co-workers. Changes the picture, doesn’t it? How many people work in companies that are not marketing driven, where marketing is viewed as the group that creates the ads and spends money. In companies where marketing is not appreciated and not viewed as an opportunity to drive insights, drive differentiation and, move markets, then we all lose.