What Is a “Brand”?Helen pointed out that how the internet thinks of influencers and how marketers think of a brand are two very different things. “First of all, I want to clarify that a personal brand is very different from its original meaning. Whenever we are talking about a brand, I want to pause and clarify what we’re talking about. Are we talking about publicity? Are we talking about voice? Are we talking about how much reach you have? Brand in its original context was very one-directional and controlled. “And now a personal brand is always bidirectional. It’s a dialogue that continues over multiple different channels. It’s not possible to control your brand anymore, but it is beneficial to be consistent.” We hear from content creators that building an online brand is crucial for people in the workforce, but do marketing operations professionals need to worry about becoming a LinkedIn influencer? Like most things in marketing operations (or life in general), the answer is “it depends.” “It depends on what you are trying to achieve and where you are in your career. If you are happy and don’t want to climb higher, you don’t need to spend too much time and effort on building an online presence. If you want to establish yourself as a subject matter expert and progress your career, it may be worth the time–but it’s not the only way to excel in your career. “If we are talking about a brand, it’s important to define the voice, the audience, and the purpose. Define a goal before you start creating content. We need to think strategically about what kind of brand we are trying to develop.”There are marketing operations professionals who have taken the time to build an online presence through blogging, vlogging, or consistent meme generation (no, really – it works for some!). It’s effective, and they are in high demand with vendors for speaking engagements. We’ve also seen TikTok videos that are humorous or informative help pros stand out. However, the most popular names in the business already established themselves as subject matter experts and built out a robust referral network before establishing a presence online. “If someone is relatively new to their career, they need to know their landscape. It would be very beneficial for you to invest in networking and understand who the major players are in the market and which communities are available. Communities offer the opportunity to learn, listen, and eventually join the conversation. At the beginning of your career, join marketing automation user groups and go to networking events, but make sure you’re not overcommitting yourself and that the activity is sustainable.”
Embrace Your Form of CommunityCareer development combines skills honed over time and a network of individuals who want you on their team. The broader your network and sharper your skills, the easier the climb, mainly if you focus on both skills and networking rather than relying entirely on one over the other.“I attended a Marketo user group, and I totally loved it. It was so helpful. Then it dried up by the time I got my MBA. I looked for this meetup, and nothing was planned. So I said, ‘Okay, I’ll take it over and run with it.’ That’s how I started the Washington DC Marketo user group. “It was a significant amount of work, but because I’d only been in the country for four years, it was very helpful for me. I gained a lot of real friends and working friends. It’s how I got to know a lot of Marketo champions, and it turned Marketo summits into a different experience because of these connections and friendships. One of the mistakes Helen has seen is trying to master too many social platforms at once. If you hate writing, blogging and writing social posts aren’t going to feel sustainable. On the other hand, if you like creating educational content, like how-to videos, YouTube or TikTok may be a great platform for you. Be thoughtful about which goals you want to achieve through building an online presence and focus on the channels that will work best for you. “The more focused you can be in terms of what exactly you want, the more successful you will be. Putting effort into something like this is all about ROI. How much effort are we investing, and how much are we getting from it?” If you’re not comfortable putting yourself “out there” on social media, online communities are great to trade information with people and network. Examples of marketing operations communities include The Mo Pros, MOPsPROs, The Wizard of Ops, Women in Revenue, and The Growth Ops Community.
Don’t Neglect Your “Internal” ReputationAs we mentioned earlier, you need workplace referrals and credibility amongst coworkers for your brand to gain legitimacy. If the job isn’t done well or relationships are damaged, it will follow you as you look for your next position. It’s important to build skills and a network simultaneously. “Personal brand is not the only way to progress your career. There are multiple other ways. Whenever I hear people advising others to build a personal brand, I feel like the advice isn’thelpful without more context. You need to gain referrals and build relationships with coworkers.”Employers still check references. Online referrals are instrumental if you decide to do any freelancing. Particularly in the agency world, your reputation is everything and will be the key to being assigned large projects and improving your hourly rate.
For more on what really matters when building a career, listen to the full Revenue Marketing Report episode at the top of the article or anywhere you podcast.