For some, marketing is all about creativity: Crafting brilliant copy, designing appealing marketing materials, and compiling sharp presentations.
For others, it centers on the people, figuring out not only how to position a product to appeal to the right audience, but how to truly make people’s lives better by connecting them to the right company or service.
So if you’re looking to jump into the marketing industry, do you need a degree in that specific field—or in the study of people?
We chatted with five marketing professionals to find out exactly how they got to the roles they’re in now. Some actually did study anthropology or psychology—but some studied something completely different. Read on to find out more about how they snagged the roles they love (and see how you can do the same!).
Website Marketing Manager, Prezi
Callie Wheeler entered the tech world with a background in culture—specifically, a degree in anthropology from the University of Oregon. Opposite as those two industries may seem, however, according to Wheeler, “The two came together quite nicely in the field of user experience.” And that’s where she began at Prezi—as a user experience researcher.
About six months into that position, she was invited to step into a leadership role as the website marketing manager, where she oversees a team of developers, designers, and UX associates. The functions come together to create a holistic experience for the website’s millions of daily users. Usually, they start with a main goal, then design different experiences, copy, and layouts to determine what works best.
“We like to work really collaboratively with each other.” Wheeler shares, “And oftentimes, those different perspectives come together in a really neat way.”
2. Rachael King
Head of Communications, DogVacay
Originally an East Coast girl, Rachael King studied psychology and international politics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. If you’re wondering what those degrees have to do with marketing, King explains, “It actually has served me well—especially the psychology degree. A lot of branding and storytelling has to do with that.”
After graduation, she moved to the opposite side of the country to San Francisco, where she worked for a few startups in the scope of social media, community management, and PR. Eventually she took that range of experience, headed downstate for Santa Monica, and moved into a more senior marketing role with DogVacay.
There, she responds to PR requests, crafts marketing campaigns, and in general wears a lot of hats. “We are lean; we are a startup, so I get to get my hands in a lot of different projects and get to be a part of a lot of different teams.”
Community Manager, Pocket
“When I was in college, I studied anthropology,” shares Justin Rochell, “and what I really loved about studying anthropology was studying people.” Specifically, he really enjoyed learning about how to interact and communicate with people.
That interest led him to a job at an Apple retail store, where he got to give a personalized explanation of how to use technology to each customer. Soon, however, he decided he wanted to be part of a smaller company, where he could have more influence and continue to work directly with customers. That led him to Pocket.
As the company’s community manager, Rochell works with users to troubleshoot issues and help them use Pocket more effectively. But his role also encompasses outreach and social media marketing as well, through the company’s Facebook, Twitter, and blog.
Product Marketing Manager, Voxy
Veronica Wilson’s had a longtime fascination with people: “The unique stories we all have, being able to share and tell those, and, ultimately, being able to help people through that channel,” she shares.
That desire, paired with her background in journalism, made her a perfect fit as product marketing manager at Voxy. There, she gets to know customers, finds out their needs, and works with her teammates in product, design, and engineering to help bring those solutions to life. By exercising her curiosity about the human condition, she’s able to make sure she and her team are speaking to their consumers in a way that empowers them to use the product best.
And that product is an important one: “Learning a language is so much more than learning a language,” she explains. “It’s a way to empower yourself.”
Sales Marketing Strategist, Virool
With the hopes of starting a career in the wine industry, Michelle Kanan went to Sonoma State University to study finance and—fittingly—wine. After graduation, she worked directly with a winery in a marketing role. There, she fell in love with marketing, but wanted to use those skills in a more tech-centered industry.
At her next few jobs, she was able to combine her existing skills with a new interest: videos. When she decided she wanted to move out of corporate and back into the startup space, she reached out to Virool, knowing that they were in the video arena, which was exactly where she wanted to be. “We had a few encounters and talked about what they were looking for and what I was looking for,” Kanan shares, “and it ended up being a really good match.”
A main part of her role is supporting the sales team, putting together marketing materials and pitches for them to bring to top-tier agencies—but she also works with smaller clients, helping them use video to get more exposure.
Photo of marketer courtesy of Shutterstock.
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