It’s no secret to my coworkers that I’m new to Chicago. I come from a town of 20,000 people (less than 10,000 during the summer when school is out) and I’m not embarrassed to get some things mixed up every so often. I’m also new to my job, and that is something that I would be embarrassed to fumble around with.
I’ve been here for about a month now, and I’d like to write down my thoughts and feelings thus far for those of you interested in the field or nostalgic about your own beginnings.
My First Month
My initial steps into digital were a bit uneasy. It’s a little overwhelming when all at once you’re hit with these terms like analytics, engagement, content creation, and QR codes (okay, I’m just kidding about that last one). So I took baby steps. A little social media here, a little lead generation there. Start throwing in lead generation and some web development on the side, maybe some photography, graphic editing, and other random errands as well and the job is starting to shape up. I thought I was adjusting pretty well, and then last week I was thrown into the deep end of the marketing and advertising world: my first conference.
It’s no secret that businesses benefit immensely just from knowing the right group of people, and I really gained a lot of first-hand experience in this matter during my four days at Techweek 2012. I think when I was still in university, I saw conferences as being a way to show off your company and try to gain new clients. Well, those things might be present, but it is so much more than that. It’s a branding opportunity, a networking opportunity, a competitor-scoping opportunity, and more, all rolled into one ball of digital marketing goodness.
Even the party situations were business situations. There were opportunities during and after each day of the conference to relax with music and beverages, and I would still see a fair amount of handshaking and elbow-rubbing going on. The whole event was a learning experience, but also an illuminating glimpse into a world that, evidently, I’m pretty unfamiliar with.
What I’ve Learned
If any of the dozen or so people that read this want some advice to enter this field, I have little but I’ll offer you my best. Learning to talk to someone, or rather, learning to talk to anyone, is an indispensable skill that can be used in any situation, professional or personal that will help you not just extend your social circle, but also meet contacts who may be able to help you in the future.
Having a true interest in social media and the digital world is a must. My generation as a whole enjoys social media, obviously, but it needs to go beyond that. You really need to understand how to reach people and how to grab their attention — spam just doesn’t cut it these days, and you need to be convincing, relevant, and most importantly genuine in the content you offer up.
Lastly, you need to be willing to learn. Separately, digital and marketing are two fields that evolve very quickly to generational and social changes. Together, they become an area of business that never seems to adopt a consistent winning strategy. Reading about, practicing, and actively searching for newer and more effective solutions to digital needs is something that should be second nature when seeking success in this field, and it can’t be achieved without passion.
So there you have it, my first impressions on being digital. I hope this was interesting for some of you more seasoned vets, and that maybe you took something away from it if you’re a bit of a newbie like me. If you liked this, check out more posts on the lonelybrand culture or if you’re nostalgic about Techweek 2012, we have posts on that too.