Keeping in spirit with Konica Minolta’s dedication to giving back to the community, I jumped at the chance to return to my alma mater, Ramsey High School, to speak to a group of marketing students about who we are as a company, and the practical lessons learned from the first year of my career.
Given that Konica Minolta is headquartered in the same town I grew up in, and where I first encountered marketing techniques (thanks to the stellar classes I took 10 years ago with the lovely Mrs. Jennifer Herrada), this was a special opportunity for me, both personally and professionally. While the goal was to provide background for these students on the company that now is a Ramsey fixture, I also thought about what I learned during my first year as the Marketing Communications Coordinator at Konica Minolta.
As a millennial entering the workforce directly out of college, I felt confident in my skills and abilities, but intimidated by entering a corporate culture with which I was totally unfamiliar. For those aspiring to work in marketing, high school and college courses can prepare us to learn and grow our skills, but keep us relatively sheltered in terms of what culture shock we may face when entering the workforce. Research has concluded that millennials are projected to be the most highly-educated generation to date but, to paraphrase Albert Einstein, ‘information is not knowledge, the only source of knowledge is experience.’
As such, these are the three key lessons I shared with those students based on my experience, about what aspiring marketers can expect when starting off their careers and breaking into the always evolving, always exciting, world of marketing.
Marketing is a TEAM Sport
As mentioned, a good education provides the means to learn the essential skills marketers will need to rely on when putting their talents to the test in the real world. However, the finely- honed skills marketing students develop throughout their education can sometimes lead to an over-confidence of sorts. It’s easy to strategize a solid a marketing campaign for a school project, where execution is almost never part of the assignment. And it’s relatively easy to do so while working alone.
But as a marketing professional working for a large corporation, such as Konica Minolta, the value of a good team, and the importance of capitalizing on the skills and talents of your colleagues, cannot be overstated. With our formal educational as a foundation and throughout our careers, each one of us cultivates a unique perspective and set of abilities that, when combined into one force, creates a powerhouse of creativity and performance. Marketing activities are so much more effective when they’ve been empowered by a diverse set of insights and aptitudes. An overwhelming task can be made more manageable by leveraging the combined talent of your colleagues, and asking for their input and opinions. “Many hands make light work,” as they say, and when starting a career in marketing, remembering to work in collaboration with everyone around you not only makes your job easier, but also produces a better result than what you would get working as a one- person team.
Say “YES!” to Learning New Things
It’s nice to have something that you’re so passionate about that you want to focus only on that and tune everything else out. There’s so much to learn about marketing, that those entering the workforce for the first time may be swayed to focus on developing skills in one area, but not dedicate any time to learning things they feel won’t be needed.
Be strong in fighting this urge! If a colleague offers to teach you something, or invites you to join a meeting or seminar about something that you are unfamiliar with, by all means, say yes. It’s impossible to know what skills or knowledge you may need to call upon down the line. Attending meetings, sitting down with your manager and going over something that isn’t in your day-to-day job responsibilities – these are all activities that you may not want to waste brain space on as it’s not directly relevant to you. But a capacity on brain space is a myth, and you can’t predict how something you might have considered unnecessary can save you time down the road. And broadening your knowledge base, while developing as many skills sets as you can, is never a bad thing.
Having Respect for Your Employer and its Leadership Makes All the Difference
In marketing, it’s easy to love what you do. It’s a fun, dynamic industry that allows you to merge your skills with intuition, pragmatism and creativity. But, as it has been said time and time again, having a good boss and an employer you respect, can make or break the job.
Research has shown that millennials change jobs more frequently right after college than any other previous generation. For millennials starting out in the workforce, finding a good fit and feeling good about where and who you’re working for is truly important. You can enjoy what you do, but feeling pride in the company’s philosophy and core values, and having leadership that empowers you, can mean the difference between simply performing and excelling in your job.
I’ve been lucky here at Konica Minolta. I’ve been fortunate to work alongside a stellar team in our marketing communications department that makes my job easier and more enjoyable. I’ve been invited to participate in opportunities that have afforded me the possibility to learn new things and grow. I feel proud to work for leaders I have great respect for and look up to. And with Konica Minolta’s commitment to giving back to the community, and dedication to bringing new innovations to our society, I know that my work here serves a meaningful purpose and, as such, provides me with great personal satisfaction when I work hard and perform well.
To the RHS marketing students I shared these lessons with, and for other aspiring millennial marketers out there, I say be excited to enter the world of marketing. This industry is always evolving and adapting, but one thing that remains constant is that if you take pride in what you do, who you work with and for, and remain enthusiastic about your work, there is no limit to how rewarding your career may be.