• Genevieve Young, Winthrop University

Top 5 Tips for Aspiring Marketers


Whether you’re getting ready to graduate high school, attending college while pursuing a marketing degree, or looking to make a life change, these are my top five tips for setting yourself up to succeed in marketing.

1. Be a Yes (Wo)Man

Remember the movie, "Yes Man" starring Jim Carrey? Model yourself after that movie. Don’t say yes to everything, but say yes to as many professional opportunities as you can. Working in a variety of roles will give you loads of experience that companies LOVE!

While in college, I had a chance to intern as a marketing manager for a non-profit organization--an industry I never wanted to pursue. However, I gained significant experience because I had lots of freedom to try different things, such as graphic design and coordinating social media. So say yes to professional opportunities, even if you do not believe it will be the right fit for you.

2. Create Your Portfolio

Your personal brand is the most essential thing you'll ever build. It is how you communicate to the world who you are and what you stand for. Your portfolio is a great way to do that. You can show off your stellar design techniques while demonstrating to the world the fantastic work you have done professionally and academically. You can show how you differ from every other marketer through your design, logo, and slogan. Additionally, most internships and practicums require that you have one. Don’t be afraid to look at some amazing portfolios created by others if you need some inspiration!

3. Be a Storyteller

When it comes to building your brand, or any brand, it all boils down to telling a story. What is the brand's personality? How do you want people to view your brand? Once you’ve figured that out, how do you communicate that to everyone else? Part of that is the design (e.g., the colors, fonts, pictures, and overall design). This is all part of telling your story.. The other part of that story is expressed in the copy. A great way to learn how to be an amazing storyteller is to read. Authors are great at painting a picture of what is happening through words, which many marketers do for brands through advertisements or social media.

Anyways, nothing beats a rainy day than a cup of hot tea and a great book!

4. Always Carry a Business Card

I’ve over-prepare because "it’s better to be over prepared than underprepared." Therefore, I carry business cards everywhere I go. You never know who you may run into at an event, at work or while you are running around. Always have business cards nearby, especially while you are a student, because this shows preparation and professionalism. Also, business cards give people a way to remember you. Your business card can be designed the same way as your website; this further communicates your brand while also displaying your logo and your portfolio.

While working an event in college, I met a couple who owned a barn where special needs kids could learn how to ride horses. I gave them my business card and was able to get a freelance opportunity to help them with their social media. This opportunity would have been lost had I not carried a business card.

5. Network

When people say, it’s all about who you know...they’re right. Knowing people in all sorts of industries opens doors to different opportunities and can help you while you’re in a marketing position. Great ways to network include volunteering in the community or joining networking groups on LinkedIn. Other great networking organizations are the Association of National Advertisers and the Advertising Educational Foundation. I joined the Charlotte Sports + Business Group, which I learned about from a networking event held at my university. When I went to my first event, I was terrified. I didn’t know what to expect or what I should say. But it was so relaxed! I spoke to a handful of people from the banking industry to the sports industry and exchanged business cards with each person. I ended up getting two freelance opportunities from that first event.

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