15th April 2021
Have you had great mentors in your marketing career? I have and they have had a big impact on me. Having been a mentor for Chartered Institute of Marketing members for a little while now I’ve come to realise that there are many marketers out there that could use a helping hand.
Only one of my mentors was a work colleague. In fact he was the MD. It was near the beginning of my career and he helped me a lot in thinking strategically, understanding how people tick in a work environment and, perhaps most of all, getting the job done when there is more to do than you can possibly manage.
Another was a friend in the industry who showed me the ropes of the agency world. Now sadly not with us, he was an experienced Director who knew how to get the best out of a team and who was an absolute legend at looking after clients. He was trustworthy, insightful and truthful, and his clients followed him through his career.
So much of a successful career is not about doing the job. You can learn about marketing techniques in books, go on courses and get shiny certificates. But theory and practice are two very different things. Success is secured by knowing how to navigate challenging situations, understanding agendas, harmonising seemingly conflicting objectives, and helping the people you need to get the job done, get the job done – and enjoy it too. Somebody once said to me that marketing is like trying to finish a jigsaw puzzle in which the pieces are always changing shape. The trick is not believing you are in complete control all the time, but having the self-belief and skills to know you can and will make all the difference.
What I have come to understand is that not many marketers have mentors. I have had more requests for mentoring than I could ever hope to fulfil, even if it was my full-time paid job, let alone voluntary work in my spare time.
The subjects that are presented are not about the technical aspects of marketing. A common theme is trying to see a path ahead from where they are now, understanding what they could achieve in their career and how they chart their way there. Very few marketers have structured careers in big, sophisticated, marketing focused organisations. Many are working in very small teams, perhaps reporting to non-marketers and doing the best they can on really tight budgets.
I would like to ask all you experienced marketing hands to consider mentoring. You will meet some truly inspiring and aspiring marketers and gain an enormous amount of satisfaction in putting something back into a profession that has hopefully served you well.
If this is something that you think that you would like to do and you are a CIM member, here’s a link. Or if not, do contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I would be delighted to have a chat to help you explore the idea further.