Congratulations on completing the studies required to earn your degree as a digital marketer! We’re not going to insult you by suggesting that now you have everything you need. Of course, you don’t—you’re in digital marketing. You’ve chosen a career that’s the opposite of static. You’re heading toward a lifetime of learning. But maybe that’s part of what appeals to you?

A fortunate few of you are heading toward a job in digital marketing at an asset management or financial advisory firm. Good for you, and I mean that from the bottom of my heart. Sure, some of your friends may landed at marquee brands like Google or Tesla or the Chicago Cubs, but your new gig has a lot to recommend itself, as well.

Here’s some unsolicited advice for how to get off to a strong start.

Rise to the occasion. It won’t be obvious from the workspace you’re assigned on your first day, but you are going to be a big deal at your company. If you’re joining a mutual fund or exchange-traded fund (ETF) firm, the financial advisors who distribute your firm’s products have gone missing, they’re not where the Sales team used to be able reach them, and you’re on the team responsible for tracking them down and coaxing them to engage.

Make your firm’s priorities your priorities and be part of the solution to whatever problems management is trying to solve. In your case, your firm needs a five-star digital presence. Throw yourself at that. Someday, soon, it will be immaterial whether advisors are available to Sales face to face—they’re online and that’s your domain to take to the next level.

Develop a 360-degree view. To do your job, you’ll be getting the keys to the kingdom. No more juggling with Google Docs or whatever open source or freemium products you’ve been getting by with. Now you’re working with enterprise level systems (content management, marketing automation, social media management, customer relationship management) and a robust marketing technology stack with powers you may have only dreamed of.

Your job may require you to live in one system more than the others. Even so, take every opportunity to learn them all. That’s how you’ll truly understand how they work together—where connections still need to be made and how what you know can help influence the planning.

Tread lightly. Take a beat and consider the trust that’s being placed in you. This is not about the unlikelihood of you flipping a switch and zapping all data systemwide. That’s not going to happen, IT probably has guarded against that. But it could be about how carefully you work, maintaining file folder structures, even checking the spelling in an email campaign name.

This is the second in a series of posts we’ve written to welcome the 2023 graduates fortunate enough to have scored a job working in public relations, digital marketing or content marketing for an asset manager, RIA or fintech firm. Don’t miss yesterday’s The Best Strategy for Your New PR Career? Say Yes! and check back tomorrow for our onboarding for content creators. 

You’re being trusted to leave things better, not worse, than how you found them.

Wow ‘em. Your manager has a list of things they’ve been waiting for you to work on. You’re joining a production effort, remember, and there’s a lot of grunt work everyone needs to do, day in and day out. Don’t let that work define you.

You’ve been hired for your fresh skills, yes, but also for your big, beautiful brains. Take time to get to know the territory, understand the chain of command (without it, there is chaos and nobody who works at an asset management firm likes chaos), ask questions, take notes, think … and then dazzle your colleagues with one idea after another. They’re not all going to be gold, but one or two will land and away you go!

Mind the data. Understand this about your new industry: when it comes to investment performance data, there is zero tolerance for errors. Mistakes happen, and not just on digital properties. But digital properties are where those mistakes can be fixed fastest.

If someone alerts you to an error on the website, switch into high preparedness mode—and then wait. You may have the tools you need to fix something. Great, you’re a go-getter and you’re ready. Even so, wait for a greenlight from a designated authority. Don’t be that well meaning rookie who makes things worse. 

Assimilate. You are always going to be in the minority where you work. People who know about investing, including those who manage money, build and sell investment products always will outnumber you and your marketing compatriots. Some of your peers will choose to cling together, but resist that if it means you secluding yourself. You will have ample opportunity to learn about the business you’re in, take full advantage!

Why shouldn’t today’s digital marketer be on a CMO or CEO path? Pay attention and all should be within reach.

Be serious. As a digital marketer, you’re going to interpret and report website, email, social, advertising data. Awesome, so interesting, and the key to continuous improvement. But, the curse of analytics as provided by third-party providers and sometimes combined with proprietary data is the implication that it’s precise, unimpeachable. That’s not the case with marketing data reliant on imperfect or flawed systems. Marketing data can wildly overstate success or, in the case of email response and social engagement data, just not compute.

Be transparent about what is reliable, and what is questionable. No one expects everything to be rock-solid, they expect you to keep them from going too far out on a ledge based on kooky findings.

Build a personal brand that people will have faith in. Your school educated you, but your job is where you’ll build your expertise. Serious marketers understand the importance of data in decision-making. Serious digital marketers understand the value of being transparent. Bogus clicks and bloated impressions don’t drive the business, you know better.

Get comfortable with ambiguity. We are imperfect humans producing imperfect work, in part because everything can’t be known, expectations can be unreasonable, and planning can be flawed. I can see the future and it involves you being asked to move forward with something that you know could be, should be, better. You’re not going to like it when your manager or your manager’s manager says, “I don’t care, just move it live.”

Oh, and then also, sometimes HOT HOT HOT projects that you prioritized over all else will suddenly grind to a halt, with nary a peep from the project manager. That can be hard for newcomers to take, too.

Unless you’re being asked to do something totally reprehensible that offends you to the core, try not to die on these hills. This is what happens at work, and at all jobs.

Never surrender your standards, no employer should ask you to do that. But, for your own peace and serenity, try to understand that business priorities shift. You’re never going to be able to change that. What you can control is your flexibility and your ability to roll with it. Work-life balance helps with this.

AI Weighs in on Digital Marketing in 2043

We asked ChatGPT to weigh in on what today’s brand new digital marketer might be working on over the next two decades, and below is its response. All are credible predictions, and the platform was quick and convenient to pose such a question to. But, the response was a bit underwhelming. AI doesn’t have an imagination—for that we’ll need new marketers like those that make up the Class of 2023.

  • Artificial intelligence (AI) & machine learning
  • Voice search optimization
  • Interactive content
  • Data privacy and ethical marketing
  • Blockchain and crypto assets
  • Content management systems capable of advanced personalization, voice and visual search
  • CRMs capable of voice recognition and natural language processing and integrated with blockchain technology

Make old friends and be on the lookout for the new. Your perch in digital marketing gives you a perspective on a firm’s full circle of life. Your work on communications means that you’re among the first to hear about new hires (and those departing) or to be involved in new initiatives and products. Your job may include wrangling content assets from an array of contributors across the organization.

That’s today. In all likelihood, your stable of content providers in the very near future may include humans and computers (see our recent post on AI). After being subjected to vetting that could include IT, Legal, Compliance and Marketing leadership, AI may become another valuable tool in your martech stack.

If you haven’t already begun playing with it in school, start learning about AI. Just one caveat: unless you have explicit permission, don’t draw your employer, content or data into your testing. Leave them out of it until you’re given an assignment.

Hey new digital marketer, what are your observations about your new job? We’d love to hear from you below (check with Compliance first!) or drop us a line. You’ve landed a great job, we wish you every success.

Our five-part series continues tomorrow. Subscribe to the blog to make sure you’ll see the full series. Or, check back tomorrow to read our welcome to content creators.

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