So you made the decision to become a marketer, and despite the long hours, high-pressure environment and downright crazy clients, you wouldn’t change it for the world. But if someone had given you a bit of a heads up, it would have been nice.

media update’s Aisling McCarthy takes a look at the 15 things that someone should have told you before you became part of this wild world called marketing.

1. Embrace the buzzwords

Marketing is a great career for creative minds, but be sure not to lose yours with the amount of buzzwords floating around. Everyone is all about ‘synergy’, ‘big data’ and ‘blue sky thinking’ – and you’d best know what those all mean!
If you’re not 100% sure you know all the lingo, check out these 50 Buzzwords every marketer should know.
If someone had warned you that acronyms would make up a large portion of your day-to-day life, you may have rethought your career. But now that you’re invested in the marketing world, you should learn your KPIs from your CTRs – and you’d better be up to date with the CRM best practice.

I wish I knew: Buzzwords are a marketer’s best friend.

2. Good luck with all of the reports

You became a marketer because you’re creative, inspired and, basically, you wanted to avoid working with numbers. Ha! Well, bad news I’m afraid. Didn't you get the memo? Marketing means having to deal with A LOT of numbers.

You’d better brush up on your Microsoft Excel skills –  reports, percentages and formulas make up a large part of your job. You may as well have a degree in statistics with the amount of reports you’ll have to decipher ...

I wish I knew: Marketers can’t avoid working with numbers.

3. The four C’s are everything

When the going gets tough, marketers rock back and forth repeating ‘consumer, cost, convenience and communication’ while choking back tears. Kidding ... sort of.

During hard times at work, when nothing is going right and your brain is fried, grab a Red Bull (or a bottle of red wine…) and do the following:

  1. Say ”consumer”
  2. Take a sip
  3. Say “cost”
  4. Take another sip
  5. Say “convenience”
  6. Take a BIG sip
  7. Say “communication”
  8. Down your drink
  9. Now get back to work!

I wish I knew: Everything in marketing comes back to the four C’s. EVERYTHING.

4. Embrace change and always be flexible

You know that old saying, ‘The only constant thing is change’? Well, marketing isn’t exempt from that, I’m afraid.

You will spend months working on a campaign non-stop only to stop dead in your tracks because a competitor has just done something similar. Sorry.

So, what can you do to stop this from happening in the future? Uh, nothing really. Better just learn to bounce back – and fast.

I wish I knew: Marketers are so flexible they may as well be contortionists.

5. Things do go wrong

While every other department is convinced that you’re some kind of creative genius, the truth is that sometimes (more often than you’d like to admit) things do go horribly wrong.

Just picture it: You unveil this superb campaign you’ve poured your blood, sweat and tears into and what does the client do? Nothing. Not even a single clap. Eish…

I wish I knew: Marketers don’t always get it right.

6. Social media isn’t fun

Social media is all fun and games, so looking after a company’s social pages should be fun too, right? WRONG.

While your mates might think you have the coolest job in the world, truth is you spend most of your time trying to block strangers who want to sell you things and reporting people who continually post X-rated videos on your client’s Facebook pages. Joy.

I wish I knew: Social media is only fun if you don’t use it for work.

7. Freebies > Your brand

While every meeting revolves around finding ways to get people to care about your brand, the truth is that people only care about free stuff.

Those mythical consumers who really love your brand are nothing more than folklore. Sorry to burst your bubble. But fear not – you can get people to care about your brand, sort of, by handing out freebies. Just don’t expect them to care once you stop giving them free stuff.

I wish I knew: A win in marketing is to give away as little free stuff as possible. #TruthBomb

8. Marketer = Jack of all trades

While your job description might have something to do with conceptualising creative campaigns, your real job is becoming good at just about everything. That sneaky line in your contract that reads ‘perform additional duties as necessary’ takes up an awful lot of your time.

These ‘additional duties’ can be anything from dressing up as the company mascot, sourcing a trained llama for your next social media post or even finding a magician for your next campaign. You name it, a marketer will have to do it at some point in their career.

I wish I knew: Being a marketer actually means being a shapeshifting unicorn with magical powers.

9. No one really knows what you do

While the people in your office might have a rough idea of what your job entails, no one really gets it. And moreover, no one understands how hard it is.

Be prepared to constantly have to justify your job to everyone else. Also, be ready to have to explain why the company would fall apart without a strong marketing message. Sigh.

I wish I knew: Marketers are the only ones who really know the value of marketing.

10. Creativity? LOL

You’d classify yourself as a creative soul, but you’re so rubbish at drawing that any kind of art is out of the question. You thought marketing would give you a chance to really get those creative juices flowing, right? Wrong.

You’ll basically be ‘borrowing’ ideas from other companies, fusing them all together and calling it unique. Obviously with a few of those ever-important buzzwords thrown in, too.

I wish I knew: Everything has been done before. Literally everything. Soz.

11. Everything revolves around ROI

While you spend your time trying to conceptualise a campaign that meets your client’s demands, the client demands to know how you’re measuring ROI and wants you to justify your budget. Err, how do you do that?

You basically have no idea what any of this means, but you can offer them a nice personalised mug instead.

I wish I knew: Marketers care about marketing. Everyone else cares about marketing spend.

12. Your dream is success on social media

Forget winning the Lotto, you go to bed at night dreaming of going viral by having a celebrity retweet your campaign or mention your product on Instagram. And if that celeb mention led to your product trending, you could die a very happy person. #winning

I wish I knew: Marketers spend their lives thinking about their campaigns, even when they aren’t at work. 9 to 5? What a joke.

13. Marketing theory is very different from the practice

The holy grail of marketing is to convert your consumers into a legion of loyal brand ambassadors. Easy, right? Just create a brand that attracts people and makes them want to sell your stuff for you. Simple. NOT. But, in an ideal world, that is how it works.

And while everyone who isn’t a marketer can spew all the theory they like and make it sound like your job is easy, you know the truth.

I wish I knew: In theory, marketing is pretty simple. In practice, marketing is magic.

14. You can do it

Marketers aren’t born, they are made. Practice (and rejection … a lot of rejection) will make you better. Find a mentor, get out there and kick some ass!

It can be incredibly rewarding to see your hard work contribute to your client’s bottom line, or to be part of the launch of a product that is exactly what the market is looking for.

I wish I knew: The bad days make you a better marketer. Eventually.

15. It’s the best job in the world

Despite the crazy hours, endless meetings, reports and trendy buzzwords, there is no other department you’d ever want to work in. Because seriously, what other department could spend most of the day on Facebook and not get fired?

I wish I knew: Marketing is hard, but it’s the best job out there.

Is there any advice you wish you could have been given before you started working in marketing? Share it with us in the comments below.

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Since you did decide to work in marketing, why not check out these Five trends shaping influencer marketing in 2019.