Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Marketing, Then and Now

When the BrightBlue Marketing team asks their clients how they would describe their companies to their grandmothers, it reminded me of a question my grandmother asked me.

When I enrolled at TCU in 1986, I entered as a business major [aside here: How on earth is a barely 18-year-old person supposed to pick their life's work before they even know what kinds of jobs there ARE in the world? I'm 40, and STILL don't know], but had to wait 2 years to declare what kind of business major I'd be: accounting, finance, management or marketing. Marketing had all the coolest facets of business, including PR, advertising, R&D and sales.

At Christmastime of 1988, my Grandma asked me to come sit beside her. She said, "your parents told me that you've chosen marketing as your major. What IS marketing?" I rattled off the things that my marketing professors said it was.

Now that I've had 15+ years of experience in marketing departments for different companies, I would say this instead: Marketing is the glue that holds a company together. It is the internal and external voice of the company, and crucial to its success.

And if I could go back in time to my 20 year old self, I'd say "marketing is a wonderful, exciting and innovative field. You chose well, Young Me. Now please reconsider your hairstyle. That hairspray's going to cause a hole in the ozone!"

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