Recently I had the incredible opportunity to speak with three marketing 301 classes at the University of Dayton.
It was a wonderful experience. The purpose was to provide the students with a perspective on modern marketing and a career in marketing. My marketing career, thus far, wasn’t a straight path out of school. Although I received a B.A. in business administration with a concentration in marketing, my first position was at Midwest Payment Systems, a financial technology subsidiary of Fifth Third Bank. The reason was simple. I was fortunate to earn recognition as an Honor Scholar at Thomas More College with a high GPA. It enabled me access to interview for an inclusive group of systems consultants who reported to an SVP at the company. Although this consulting position focused more on project management across cross-functional teams, product development and executive advisory services than marketing, it offered significant responsibility working with major financial institutions worldwide. I traveled a great deal including a month in South Korea.
After four years, I decided to return to Xavier University for an MBA in Marketing. After graduating, I went from the conservative and seemly stable financial industry into a newly launched startup that had the highest density of high-speed Internet access in the U.S. I served as Manager of Customer Experience. It was a move closer to marketing with a primary focus on running three technical and billing call centers. I spent considerable time developing performance metrics to build effective teams. I left for another start-up and into a role of market strategy. It was then that caught a passion for digital marketing.
One particular question was whether personal relationships or technology were more important in marketing. My answer – both. Technology is an enabler. Personal relationships are the real deal. I’ve noticed with others and experienced myself how the most productive relationships start in-person from a handshake at an event or over a coffee. Technology helps nurture and extend these in-person meetings. Yet the personal, eye to eye contact ignites it. I’ve had multi-year client relationships with business owners I never met in person. We spoke by phone or video frequently. Great relationships but not at the same depth of those originating from an in-person meeting. You can’t hide behind a laptop. Two other comments seemed to also resonate. (1) You don’t know what you don’t know – others do. Find a mentor who is in the position you aspire to achieve and ask them questions. Don’t be afraid to reach out; use the time wisely; be prepared. (2) Learn to be comfortable with ambiguity and have faith in the process.
It was a great experience. I love speaking to passionate marketers and aspiring business leaders. If you are a professor looking for an experienced marketers and business leader, feel free to reach out to me. Whether on Zoom or in-person, I’d to share my thoughts, lessons-learned and future-thinking insights to your classes.