Are You a True Marketer?
There is no formal credential for being a marketer. I can’t claim to have comprehensively surveyed other professions, but from my vantage point, there doesn’t seem to be another one where the ratio of b.s. to the real deal is as lopsided.
There is, however, rest assured, a coterie of genuine marketers in the world. It’s almost like a secret society. I love it when I meet one out of the blue. I remember giving a talk in Cape Town and afterwards a young man came up to me who lived in the provinces and so had almost no access to serious marketing work. He nonetheless had this passion coursing through his veins. He had the curiosity and the mindset of a true marketer. And, like all true marketers, there was nothing else that made sense to him – no other profession, no other way of seeing the world. All he wanted to do was marketing.
How do you know if you are a true marketer, even if you are young and this is not yet your chosen profession? For one, you’re so skeptical that you’re almost unsuited for polite society. You see everything as an image. You want to probe these images – get under their skin – so that ultimately, if you are granted the opportunity, you can manipulate them to your advantage.
Second, you have a passion for market research. There’s virtually no limit to your appetite for learning about markets, at the same time that you are deeply cynical about the shoddy work that is promulgated in the mainstream press about trends, lifestyles, and preferences.
Third – and this is completely my own – you want to use your powers to do good. In this, I am admittedly not being objective. There are many genuine marketers who long ago forgot any connection between their work and virtue. But a genuine marketer understands the power of his or her special insight. He or she understands that viewing the world as the projection of images provides a certain freedom and with that unusual ability. You can influence and shape the world because you see it in ways others don't. And even if you spend your days selling products and trading in shallow desires, you know that yours is the same power that is used to elect presidents and advance social causes.
There is one final thing – true marketers find marketing the most pleasurable thing they could possibly do. If you have that joy in marketing along with the rest, perhaps you are one of the band. If you are, please follow your passion. Don’t let things stand in your way. Stay true to your inner voice. You need this to be happy. And, in turn, use your skills, once they are honed, to advance a cause in which you truly believe.