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Dear Fellow Marketers,

This isn’t going to be a typical blog post. I’m writing to you, peer-to-peer, as a fellow marketer, who is hoping to challenge you and bring out your very best. After all, I’m a huge fan of excellence. As you might have guessed, ‘Maximizer’ and ‘Achiever’ are in my top five StrengthsFinder® talent themes, and a standard of excellence is one of LeadMD’s core values – “We are better than yesterday.”

You might be kicking butt and taking names in your current role, but we all still have room for growth. So I’m here to discuss about what’s important and what isn’t, and where you can go from here.

Let me explain.

There are a lot of marketers out there today who don’t have traditional marketing degrees, or formal marketing experience. Guess what? It’s okay! It’s fine that you majored in psychology, or you started in sales (which is actually awesome!) but ended up hating it, or that you thought you wanted to be in customer service but found marketing more interesting.

It’s not a “bad” thing at all per se. In fact, your psychology background may make you great at getting in the minds of your prospective customers and allow you to write super-targeted nurture emails. Perhaps your start in sales is helping you to become a top-notch marketing operations specialist, or your customer-first approach from your years in customer service makes you a great marketing communications lead at your company. All this is great and swell and fine and even beneficial.

But…you’ve still got room for growth.

What I’ve found is that, even when I’m at the top of what I consider my A-game, there’s still more to learn and further ways to excel. When you’re constantly learning and growing, you have a deep level of marketing maturity. But if you get to a point where you think you know enough to execute your tasks and don’t need any more knowledge, you’re susceptible to stagnancy.

Even confidence and knowledge can’t make up for a lack of marketing maturity, and you need maturity in order to get to the next rung of the ladder in your career and really meaningfully contribute to your company.

So, does maturity mean years of experience? No. Experience can help, but marketing maturity is more about an ongoing hunger for knowledge and hands-on practice. It’s about striving to elevate your game, even when you feel like you’re at the top of your game. The beauty of the marketing field, after all, is that it’s constantly changing and evolving. So there’s always more to know.

This all comes back to education. No, I’m not saying go back to college. You need real training, practical skills and wisdom from seasoned pros, and I’m about to share with you how you can get all of this. Here’s how to get started:

  • Enhance your career through experience-based learning with Six Bricks, LeadMD’s learning division. Through this channel, we offer real-world marketing lessons and simulations to help you take your marketing career up a few notches and fill in the gaps where you may not be as strong. I’m particularly excited about the Marketo Certified Expert career path that I helped contribute to, which helps you learn crucial Marketo fundamentals and prepares you to take and pass the Marketo Certified Expert exam (including a full practice exam)! Seriously, it’s sooooo good. Trust me, you want and need this. Did I mention we’ll even certify you? (P.S. If you want more details on this or other courses available, visit sixbricks.com).
  • Ask a different person at your organization to lunch each week. This one may seem a little silly, but can be so powerful. Getting to know both your peers and leadership at your organization can definitely help you learn new things that you can apply to your day-to-day job responsibilities and keep ideas fresh. It can also keep you top of mind with your peers and leaders, and strong connections can go a long way in helping you pave your ideal career path.
  • Connect with really awesome marketers. Yes, actually get your booty out of your chair and go network at regional marketing events, like local Marketo User Groups or other marketing groups like AMA—the American Marketing Association—and learn what other people do and how they do it. (Side note though: Make sure they know what they are talking about so you don’t learn bad practices!). Have you ever heard that saying, “you don’t know what you don’t know?” Yep, this is the sole reason I love working around really amazing marketers every day because I learn stuff I never even knew I needed or wanted to learn. I’ve gained so much more knowledge this way in a short period of time than I did in my entire 14-year marketing career. Talk about upping your marketing game!

Oh, and hey marketers with traditional marketing degrees…you’re not off the hook, either! Most universities don’t teach you what you really need to know to work in the modern marketing world. You learn a lot of the traditional basics, which provides a great foundation. It can be really beneficial to have a marketing degree, or even an M.B.A. But practical, real-world skills are where I see the biggest gap and the biggest potential for advancement!

Marketing managers, if you’re reading this…I’m sure you’re feeling the pain. Building a marketing team with the right “marketing maturity” can be a struggle. Finding the right mix of skills, strengths and personalities seems to be what makes it so hard to fill positions. If your team seems to be lacking in the marketing skills needed to meet or exceed your marketing and business goals and take your marketing game to the next level, it might be time to find opportunities for your team to connect and learn from best-in-class marketers. Check out what Six Bricks has to offer for employers to assess your marketing team’s skills and then train and certify them.

So… are you ready for my challenge?

I challenge you to elevate your real-world, modern marketing game by talking with a fellow marketer you’ve been connected with on LinkedIn (this means you message them and strike up a conversation), take a marketing course online, go to a marketing event or networking group, or ask someone out to lunch at your own company. Report back in the comments and let me know how it goes!

I have faith you can do it. And just for fun, I’ll leave you with a quote I love that can absolutely be applied to this topic: “Don’t be afraid to be different; be afraid of being the same as everyone else.” — Anonymous. So many people settle and become complacent in their skills, but you can grow so much more and advance so much further. Go get ‘em!

Sincerely,

Joy, “the excellence-motivated-marketer”

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