July 11, 2017

Marketing May Have Changed, but Professional Development Hasn’t

by Erin Johnson

Last week, I wrote about a few areas where marketing professionals—whether in the fenestration industry or beyond—can be looking to keep their competitive edge.

While digital marketing has made it necessary to learn new tricks you might never have thought possible when you began your career, some things have remained the same.

Looking to advance your career? Keeping up with the latest digital trends is important, but that alone won’t position you for continued professional success. And it doesn’t automatically position you to move up the ladder.

What are some of the ways you can make this happen? Here are some ideas:

Work on your soft skills. No matter how or where you work, “soft skills” are something we hear about all the time. Communication. Working productively and collaboratively with others. Adaptability and keeping a cool head when unforeseen challenges arise. Problem solving.

All of these things are critical for professional success, but sometimes it feels like people are simply born with these abilities. Maybe they are, but that doesn’t mean you can’t work to get better at things like communicating with your coworkers more effectively. It can be as simple as polishing your emails, for instance. Soft skills can often be the difference between the job you have and the job you want.

Keeping up with changes in your industry. It’s one thing to know your craft, and it’s another to know how to put it into effect. And that depends on knowing your audience and knowing your industry.

When it comes to digital marketing, we talk plenty about knowing your audience to reach them in the most effective ways. Make a concerted effort to understand the challenges those audiences are dealing with. GlassBuild America is coming up, for instance—this should be equally valuable for your teams to soak in some of the latest industry trends and updates as well as to extend your marketing efforts and make new connections.

Value in leadership. Consider this from the Harvard Business Review: “According to a 2014 survey from Deloitte, 86% of business leaders know that their organizations’ future depends on the effectiveness of their leadership pipelines—but a survey of 2,200 global HR leaders found that only 13% are confident in their succession plans, with 54% reporting damage to their businesses due to talent shortages.”

What does that tell you? Leadership is a highly valuable asset for companies, and identifying the employees that display a knack for it will find themselves advancing. Defining exactly what makes a good leader is tough… but it’s often a combination of soft skills. Hey, didn’t we say you should be working on those?

Keep networking. I harped on this point in my last post, but it’s worth making again: Networking never goes out of style, and people don’t get anywhere in the business world purely from their own efforts. It takes connections with colleagues to propel your career forward, so stay out there and network as often as you can.

Questions or comments? Contact me directly at Erin.Johnson@Quanex.com.
 

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