The Creative Side of Marketing
Last Tuesday I had the pleasure of addressing a group of roughly 35 students at my alma mater University of Calgary about the peculiarities of creative business. Organized by the Haskayne Business School’s student marketing club AIM (of which I was an exec once upon a time), I shared my experience of advertising, publishing and wireless entertainment and offered a perspective of the creative side of marketing – a side that unfortunately tends to be overlooked or glossed over for more serious “textbook” cases. Lots of questions!
Here are 10 general points I offered:
Learn Everything – Or at least try to. Soak up all the info you can. Read lots. Be a culture junkie. And write stuff down.
Study Life – Your GPA is not the most important thing. Travel. Volunteer. Participate in extra-curricular activities and round out your CV with more than just classes.
Branch Out – Related to the above, get out of the business school from time to time. Take an acting course. Dance. Paint. Pick up another language if you can.
Have Fun – You can’t fake enthusiasm for what you do, so do what you enjoy and work with people that you like to be around.
Find an Internship – You need the experience – before you graduate. Do whatever you can to get an internship in the area you’re interested in. Prepare to work for free if you have to.
Understand Teamwork – Know how to lead. Know when to follow. Know roles. Advantage here goes to former athletes that actually understand real team play. Similarly, figure out the various work styles of artists, engineers, accountants and sales people. You’re going to be dealing with all of them.
Find Kindred Spirits – Track down other enthusiastic and ambitious people to work on side-projects with. As hard as it is in a modern university, look for these people in faculties and disciples other than your own. Enter competitions together.
Find Mentors – They are wise and you can learn tons from their past adventures. Listen up. Pursue informational interviews with the genuine intent of asking questions, not asking for a job.
Back-up Style with Substance – Play and on-the-job silliness does not excuse stupidity and irresponsibility. Always be professional. Oh, and a CV printed on colour paper doesn’t necessarily convey creativity.
Work Hard – As glossy and sexy and carefree as creative business may look, it is a lot of work. Not for the lazy or light-hearted, for sure. You have to bust your butt to have so much fun.