You know when you’re at a social event (birthday party, communion, wedding, housewarming, etc) and a friend/auntie/acquaintance who is not within the digital marketing space asks you: ‘So… What do you do?’ I’m one of those people that never quite knows what to say. I am a Marketing & Sales Coordinator at IgnitionOne, a digital marketing company. I’ve been here now for a year and a half and I still haven’t found the perfect answer to this question. I sometimes even just say “I’m in marketing” to avoid confusing them.
And while it is easy for me to explain what IgnitionOne does to agencies and marketers, I just haven’t found the right way to tell non-digital people what I do in layman’s terms. The digital space is so complex and ever-changing that it is difficult to convey what it is that our industry does to someone unfamiliar with the field.
When I do decide to delve into uncharted territory, I usually start by saying “my company powers digital marketing – online ads, personalizing content, Facebook advertising, stuff like that.” While I know this is very simply put, I already see a half confused look from the person with whom I am speaking, and then I say, “and I do the marketing for that company.” And by that point, they look completely lost and ask me questions, like “so do you make the adverts?” Sometimes I try to go further and explain how we track visitors to build profiles to be able to offer relevant products/promotions, but the conversation typically ends there or the subject is quickly averted.
So I have recently been wondering – is it like this for all jobs? I took some time to pay attention to how others describe their positions and the companies for which they work and the reactions received from the other party. I realized that I don’t have a typical job like a doctor/lawyer/accountant, where people instantaneously understand what the job entails; I don’t have funny or embarrassing stories about clients, at least, not anything that they would understand. I could tell them about the ambiguous cookie jokes, which crease us up here in the office, but people unfamiliar to the subject would feel like they’re in the Truman Show and think that I’m talking about some secret world.
The day is fast approaching when digital marketing and the marketers within will be just as identifiable as the above lawyers/doctors/accountants and simply stating that I work in digital will translate without any confused looks or open-ended questions. As digital grows, and it is growing in leaps and bounds, people will not only understand my brief job description but will also associate my work with the exciting field that it has become. Just last month, the iab found that 75% of US senior executives plan to shift their budgets from television to digital video ads. This is huge and means that not only is digital on par with television but is on the verge of surpassing it. Digital is to television what television is to radio: how could you not agree that this industry is more exciting than brain surgery? In digital, we are making the future, we are innovative and are exploring things where no man has been before.