Posts filed under ‘Direct Marketing Employment’

Is an Advertising Degree Necessary?

Your question : If my major at college is marketing, can I get a job right out of college as an advertising sales agent? Or do I have to major in advertising to do so?

Our Answer: You might not believe this, but I was faced with the exact same question when I was a freshman in college. I started my studies at UC Berkeley, one of the nation’s leading universities (in my humble opinion!). I knew that I wanted to end up in advertising, but Cal Berkeley didn’t offer that major, so I chose communications as my major. I struggled (like you are today) with this question–will any ad agency hire me if I don’t have an advertising major??? It rankled so much that I did actually transfer to a school (Cal State Fullerton) that offered an advertising major. Cal State, however, academically is not near the school that Berkeley is and, while I met some awesome people there and I had some great marketing/advertising classes, looking back I know that I would have learned more at the better school. And, yes, I would still be able to get that job in advertising.

Enough about me! Let’s get back to your question. You want to get a job as an advertising sales agent. I’m here to tell you (from being in the marketing/advertising/sales industries for many years) that a marketing degree will serve you equally as well as an advertising degree. What will be important to future employers (especially for a sales job) are traits like this:

  • Sales drive–are you a go-getter? Are you willing to handle rejection over and over to land the appointment with your key prospect?
  • Personality–do people like you? Do you listen to them so that you can get a handle on their challenges (of course then giving you the opportunity to solve their problems with your solutions!).
  • Marketing Savvy–are you up-to-speed on the latest ways to win new business and retain existing customers? Can you talk to your clients about what’s going on in their industry and what their peers and competitors are up to, marketing-wise.

These traits will please your future employer much more so than splitting hairs over the difference between a marketing and an advertising major. In fact, I would not be surprised if a marketing major wouldn’t be preferred for a sales job…

So, if you’re happy with your current major, my advice to you would be to stick with it. Good luck to you!


August 5, 2008 at 3:27 pm Leave a comment

The Evolution of the Marketing Organization

Q: The modern marketing organization has emerged through an evolutionary process. Do you agree?

A:  Yes, we agree.  Marketing organizations today are very different from those of yesterday.  Today, marketing organizations are leaner – more people cover more areas within a marketing group.  For example, you may have one person who is in charge of acquiring outside data to fuel customer acquisition efforts.  That same resource may also be in charge of working with the creative team on the mail piece (e-mail piece, telemarketing script), working with the database team on ensuring that duplicate pieces are not being sent, working with the letter-shop to coordinate in-home dates, and on the back-end to analyze the success of each campaign.

What I’ve just described is an extremely tall order  — however, we are finding this to be more the rule than the exception.  No longer do you have large resource-rich teams covering each area of marketing operations.  Marketers today must possess the ability to be nimble and flexible – and able to understand overall marketing strategy as opposed to one piece of it.

In addition, there are more tools available today that are helping marketing groups to evolve.  For example, there are programs that can be accessed remotely than can help with campaign management, database management, and analytical services  . . . just to name a few.  Most of these applications are available as SaaS (Software as a Service), so you just access the internet, log in and you’re off and running.  No more do you have to spend the time and money on complicated technology that has to be customized for your particular environment, and then the entire marketing department has to be trained on, work the glitches out of, etc. before it can be used efficiently.  This new paradigm is one that has really helped marketing organizations to evolve, do more with less and do it much more effectively.

June 4, 2008 at 8:21 pm 5 comments

Direct Marketing Trade Shows

Q: I’m new to the direct marketing industry, and have a direct marketing question for you.  I need to get up-to-speed asap. Can you recommend any trade shows that I should attend?

A: The primary industry association is the Direct Marketing Association (DMA). They hold an annual trade show that is very well attended (more than 5,000 attendees) in October of each year. This year it will be held on Oct 11-16 in Las Vegas. Here’s the thing about the conference–it is definitely a great place to network, but the education (in my opinion) is lacking. But, go for the networking–all of the key vendors to the industry will have a booth and (a side benefit) they host fun parties. We typically spend a full day just wandering the exhibit hall and learning about what is new and who’s offering, what.

In regards to education, if you’re truly brand new and really need to get the basics of direct marketing, then you may benefit from attending sessions. Just know, however, that many are ‘taught’ by the largest vendors (and DMA sponsors). Sadly, many haven’t figured out how to share information without it being a commercial for their company. And, after you’ve attended a few DMAs, the agenda will start to look a tad repetitive.

In regards to other trade shows, I would recommend looking for local happenings from the American Marketing Association (AMA). The AMA has many regional chapters, hence it’s easy to build your network with folks who live and work in the same area as you. And, if you’re ever looking for a new job, you’ll be happy that you’ve built this local network.

Lately, I’ve enjoyed attending e-marketing trade shows. I’ve seen excitement here that I haven’t enjoyed in other areas. Lots of good stuff happening in the world of social marketing and mobile marketing, and these shows are the places to really learn a lot.

April 21, 2008 at 10:14 pm 2 comments

Using LinkedIn?

Q:  Hi!  I’ve recently joined LinkedIn as I was searching for a job in direct marketing.  Now that I’ve found a job (thanks to a connection that I made there), I was thinking of using it in searching for my own employees.  Have you heard of any direct marketers who have done this with success?

A:  Heck yeah!  We are big believers in the power of social media and it’s use in direct marketing.  And, you are a perfect example — you just landed a job in the discipline, and now have the ability to use it to find your own employees.  This is what it’s all about.

Here are a couple of other examples.  One of our clients used LinkedIn Question to post a job ad for a Direct Marketing Manager to head up the leads process to fuel his newest sales channel.  He not only received a ton of good, qualified individuals, he also received a lot of good insight on other ideas — like outsourcing the work to an agency specifically talented in this area.  He’s still deciding on whether to keep this work in house (taking on the full-time-equivalent employee expense) or outsourcing the work.  My point is that he got more than he bargained for just by putting up a question on LinkedIn.  He got resumes and other business strategies that he may not have considered if he hadn’t used this vehicle.

Another example outside of the job search area is when one of our partners ran into a situation where they had a hunch that a large vendor was not dealing with them 100% honestly and it impacted their ability to close a sale.  Before getting their own legal involved, they posed a question on LinkedIn.  They got back a lot of answers that provided them with good insight from both business people and legal experts on his question.  Now, of course, he would never have proceeded without engaging his own legal, but he was able to know whether he even had anything to bring to his legal without wasting his internal resources time on what could potentially end up being a non-issue.

In summary, LinkedIn can be extremely helpful as a resource to get opinions from a lot of savvy direct marketers, for searching for employees, and for finding a job.  It can also be used to help you build a case for product development, search out good vendors and simply to market your skills and talents to a large, business-focused audience.

February 25, 2008 at 11:22 pm Leave a comment

Career Path: Finding that Next Great Marketing Position

Q : I have had various positions in marketing, the last one managing and re-engineering a supplier based coop funding coop program for a multichannel retailer. What direction in terms of positions should I focus on? I am very interested in branding but am concerned about not having recent experience and being with a single employer for the majority of career. Any suggestions in terms of ways of how to widen my networking range?

A: This is a great question! And, you’re right to be focused on it because this is your ultimate chance to end up with a new position that you love — not like. You are right to focus on the job that you really desire. As you’re dusting off and updating your resume, focus on the areas that you did in your past position that emphasized branding — because that’s where you want to be. Since you managed the program, talk to how you helped that multi-channel retailer enhance their brand. In other words, talk to how your focus on branding translated to the work that you did in your last position, and all of the positions that you’ve held.

In your employment objective, state that you are passionate about branding and that you are seeking a career where you can further hone your branding skills. Since you’ve been in many marketing positions over a long period of time, you have always been close to the brand. Just because it may not have been in your job description doesn’t mean that you haven’t focused on it in the work that you performed in marketing. Let’s face it — everything that we do as marketers is an effort to create positive brand awareness. By the way, being at one company for a long time is a much sought after attribute these days. Longevity is a good thing and something that looks great on a resume. Many folks have just the opposite problem.

In terms of widening your network, I’d go to the local American Marketing Assn ( or Direct Marketing Assn ( chapter meetings in your area. Oftentimes, there are folks there looking to fill positions — and marketers usually have an ear to the ground and know of current job opportunities.

In addition, create a profile on LinkedIn and advertise that you are looking for a job in branding. Utilize social media to get the word out. This allows you to reach a world-wide audience of folks who may know of an opening in the area that you’re searching in. Finally, you may want to enlist the services of a good headhunter who recruits specifically in this area. Best of luck to you in finding the perfect next step in your career path!

February 18, 2008 at 11:59 pm Leave a comment

Direct Marketing Resume

Q: I have recently been laid-off . I know of a lot of other folks who have suffered my same fate in the last few months. Do you have any suggestions of how can I make my resume especially attractive to companies with high-level DM positions? And, do you know a good source of potential DM positions?

A: You are absolutely right — we know of lots of folks in your same position right now and it’s scary. However, try to think of this as the launching pad of the next step in your career! In terms of your resume, where we’ve seen success is when DM professionals clearly outline their core strengths in a succinct, non-verbose format. This is easier said than done (we’re quite verbose ourselves — so we know this isn’t always easy : ) ). List your core strengths in bullet points in your resume summary. This gives recruiters an easy way to review what you offer as they are scanning through hundreds of resumes. It will definitely make your resume stand out if these points are written well and concisely.

In terms of places to look . . . you are probably already posting your resume online with the main employment search folks (Monster, CareerBuilder, etc). For DM positions, consider our favorite Facebook Group “What I Saw at the Direct Marketing Revolution.” Get involved with this group — let them know that you are very interested in finding a new position, put your resume out there, and post to the various discussions. The folks involved in this group are DM professionals worldwide — building relationships here may help you land your next perfect job. Also, join other social networking sites like LinkedIn if you haven’t already. There are lots of opportunities posted there as well.

Meanwhile, best of luck to you in the next chapter of your career! When you land — let us know what was successful for you and we’ll update this answer so that it’s included so that it helps others. Good luck!

February 14, 2008 at 4:00 pm Leave a comment

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