Why marketing doesn’t suck


Over the past few weeks I have seen a strange series of blog posts expressing that the marketing profession is slimy or one step above a snake oil salesperson.

Maybe I am out of touch or naive, but this characterization of my profession has never even entered my mind.  I honestly don’t think I could be in a more interesting, helpful, or meaningful field.

Let me tell you why I am so lucky to be in marketing.

A Marketing Inspiration

I had started to fall in love with this discipline during college but after I entered the business world, I became increasingly fascinated by how marketers drive their products, businesses, and our economy.

I became friends with a senior marketing executive who, through customer insight, guts and vision, had proposed an entirely new product opportunity for my company.

To serve this emerging market, he had to sell the company on the idea of constructing a new, state-of-the-art $50 million manufacturing facility. As you might imagine, with a financial commitment like that, he really put his career on the line to create something amazing for his customers.  But this was no whim. He had the data and solid financials to back up his vision and the company decided to invest in his idea.

As the new manufacturing plant took shape, I just watched with awe. There were hundreds of shiny steel girders put in place because of this man’s drive and vision. The new facility involved the development of a technology that promised to create a new advantage over competitors.  The plant was going to drive economic growth in the community and add 150 new high-paying jobs. More than 20 years later, the plant is still a profitable economic engine.

Marketing did THIS?  I wanted to be part of it!  I wanted to drive growth and put people to work. I wanted to create helpful new products, build new buildings, and create new economic value. I wanted to be a marketer.

Marketing has been trivialized

Today, our profession has been somewhat trivialized because the barriers to entry have dropped so low. Anybody who can open a Twitter account or create a lovely Facebook page is calling themselves a “social media marketer.”  They’re not.  Marketing is still about doing the hard work and having the experience and skill to distill meaningful insight from a pile of research. It’s about building products, services and companies … and doing it with integrity. It’s about creating a legacy of sustainable growth to be proud of.

I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have spent my career in marketing, Many of the projects I have worked on are still creating value even decades later.  There is nothing more rewarding and thrilling than finding that one insight — that spark — that can turn a company around.

My teacher and business hero Peter Drucker once famously said that a company is all about “marketing and innovation. Everything else is overhead.”

His point is that without customers, without profitable new products and services, we have no companies. Isn’t that an awesome responsibility?  Isn’t marketing a fantastic career choice?

I help people and their companies grow. I drive new value that puts people to work and satisfies customer wants and needs. I help the economy thrive by helping to create useful new products and services. Today, with the digital tools and analytics at our disposal, the profession has never been more interesting or more important.

I am a marketer and I’m proud of it. How about you?

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