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Five Pieces of Advice Every Marketer Should Receive by Hunter Durham*
Over the course of the last month, I got married, moved to Austin, and started my first internship at one of the largest companies in the world: Dell Inc. The first step of any journey is never the most important. What is the most important is what you learn from that first step. As I begin to establish myself as a marketing professional, the knowledge, expertise, and skills that I take away from this internship will direct the path of my career and even my life. I have already met with some of the most talented marketers in the industry in my short time here. Those I have spoken to, including the CMO’s chief of staff and the VP of Brand Governance (or the Brand Police as she unfairly gets called), have given me priceless information to jumpstart my career. The following quotes are my reflections on the top 5 pieces of advice every marketer should receive: 

1. “Marketers must start from a customer perspective.”  – Michelle Daniels, Director of Corporate Brand Identity

This is a core belief rooted in Dell’s philosophy, starting in 1984 when Michael Dell revolutionized the direct sales model. This concept is routinely preached across the marketing industry nowadays, although we often forget to think customer-first when creating a social media strategy or developing sales enablement tools. The bottom line is to always start with the question: how does this benefit the customer?

2. “Marketers must view the sales force as the second customer.” – Michael Marchand, Global Director of Strategy & Corporate Development

As Dell continues to increase the size of its salesforce across the globe, this piece of advice is now more important than ever. There is often a deep disconnect between us – the marketers – and the salesforce; however, both teams rely on one another to succeed. This is why it is important to not only start from a customer perspective, but to then stop and try to understand how an initiative will make a salesperson’s job easier.

3. "Marketers must have a love of learning.” – Ann Lott, Director of CSR Marketing

Today’s business landscape is rapidly changing, and nowhere is this more evident than in the marketing industry. With these changes comes the responsibility to learn, adapt, and implement new marketing elements and techniques in the right way and at the right time. The best marketers are those with an insatiable curiosity to understand how customer behavior and the media landscape are changing in order to adapt, evolve, and capitalize on these advancements. Personally, I think that modern marketers are the smartest people in business (perhaps I’m a little biased).
 

4. “Marketers must learn to tell a story with numbers.” – Joseph Moke, Senior Manager, Digital Marketing
 
The number crunchers love to slash marketing’s budget if it cannot definitively prove a positive ROI. As marketers, we are taught to ignore the fallacy that all marketing dollars must lead to revenue because, as already stated, we are the smartest. OK so maybe that’s not always true, and marketers ought to be accountable for their actions. Marketers are excellent storytellers so having the ability to tell stories in the language of our audience is as useful internally as it is externally. So when speaking to a CEO or CFO, make sure you incorporate some numbers into your story to convince them that your marketing investments are paying off.


5. "Marketers must always have a connection with the customers.” – Rajbir Panag, Director of Solutions Marketing, Large Corporations and Public Institutions

Not all salespeople are good marketers, but all marketers need to have the key skill of a salesperson: knowledge of the customer. As previously mentioned, there is often a gap between the two functions. However, every marketer, regardless of the industry they are in, should spend at least a day interacting with customers face-to-face. This enables us to better serve our customers and become more effective marketers.

*Hunter Durham is a two-time TLF scholarship recipient and a marketing major at Palm Beach Atlantic University
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