How to Become Almost a Great Marketer in 30 Days

Is there anyone who starts a new job aspiring to be anything but great? If there is, they're not someone who I want on my team. Not that everyone will put in the work to become great, but I have to believe that most people dream of making an important impact.

That being said, "great" doesn't happen overnight. Great is the alignment of talent, focus, and emotional intelligence. And, for marketers, great requires a deep understanding of the company's mission, customers, and the problem you're solving for.

"Great" is a much loftier goal than this article will aim to tackle. Still, the only way to get anywhere is by putting one foot in front of the other. We asked some of the greats in the startup marketing space for advice for marketers in their first month on the job. Here are their top tips on how to be a good marketer:[bctt tweet="How to Become Almost a Great Marketer in 30 Days, by @zimmerbugg"]

Know thyself and thy customers.

My best advice for new marketers in their first month on the job is to develop a rock-solid understanding of the PRODUCT (or service) being sold and of the CUSTOMERS it aims to help. Work hard to understand the core problem that the product solves, and then form an understanding of the exact types of people who have that particular problem. Without this, all the marketing you do will be sub-par and generally useless.

-Joshua Ness, Co-Founder at StrategyHack and instructor at Startup Institute New York

[bctt tweet="W/out a keen understanding of product + customers, all #marketing will be sub-par, says @jcness"]

It's easy to want to jump in right away and start building marketing automation workflows, writing blog posts and blasting your message all over social media, but you need to take a step back. One of the first things we teach in our marketing plan lesson at Startup Institute Chicago is the importance of first nailing down brand (who you are) and target audience (who your customers are). I can't express how important those two fundamental pieces are to everything you'll do after.

No one gets it right out of the gate, but that's the beauty of testing and refining. For example, at Rippleshot our software solution can detect the presence of a payment card data breach incredibly fast—faster than many compromised companies even discover themselves. But, we realized that when trying to sell this product to bankers (who suffer most of the losses from these breaches), they don't care about the detection speed. They care about re-issuing less cards and disturbing their customers less frequently. So, we had to go back to the drawing board and refine the messaging to be closer to our customer and their pain points.

Too many people get caught up in the tactics—and it's certainly easy to, as that's the fun part. But they're only carriers of the message.

-Kaleigh Simmons, Director of Marketing at Rippleshot

[bctt tweet="Many #marketers get caught up in tactics. They're only carriers of the message, says @kaleighsimmons"]

Get outside of your department.

Meet colleagues in other departments like sales, business development, technical architects, recruiters. This will help you get a full picture of the company you work for and also the challenges they face so you can factor them into your marketing strategy. Plus, you'll be likely collaborate with them, so knowing them up-front will strengthen internal relationships for long-term success.

-Rebecca Otis, Marketing Consultant at Salesforce

[bctt tweet="Develop relationships + a full picture of the company in your first month - @RebeccaOtis"]

Be a sponge.

Here are my five top tips:

  • Become an expert on your industry as fast as possible. Read as much as you can. Marketers should have a deep understanding of where their company fits in the competitive landscape.
  • Talk to as many people as you can, including customers.
  • Sit next to customer service (or sales, customer success, account management) to understand how they're talking about your product.
  • Insist on using the product (if you can). Understanding it from a user perspective is invaluable.
  • Set up schedules and goals for yourself and share them with your boss or company stakeholders to make sure they're aligned with expectations.

-Lindsay Majane, Director of Product Marketing at CraveLabs, instructor and alumna at Startup Institute Boston

[bctt tweet="#Marketers should have a deep understanding of the competitive landscape - @lindsaymajane"]

Trust your instincts.

Don't be afraid to push to implement things that you think will be helpful. Having an outside perspective will often help you see things that people inside the company will miss. Especially at an early-stage startup, even minor tweaks can have a big impact.

-Daniel Kelly, Head of Marketing at PeerRealty, instructor and alumnus at Startup Institute Chicago

[bctt tweet="Don't be afraid to incite change, even if you're new to your role - @dkellyChi #perspective"]

Becoming great at anything takes a lot of time, grit, and active learning. If you're a career changer who has found your way into marketing, cut yourself some slack. Marketing is an art and a science. And, like any artist or scientist, you'll need to be patient as you continue to draft, test, and improve on your craft.

You need to walk before you can run, so you best get started now.[bctt tweet="You need to walk before you can run, so you best get started now - @zimmerbugg"]

Photo credit: Zach Baranowski via Flickr cc