The first time I attended a marketing meeting I felt like I had entered a new world. I was a finance major, and began my career as an analyst. Joining the marketing team for this meeting expanded my business horizons immensely. If my world was black and white before, I now saw in full color.
I was immediately captured by the less structured approach to business. Ideas were flying and people were feeding off of each other’s concepts and energy. The whole approach to the marketing meeting was collaboration and creativity. It was the true meaning of team and the idea that ‘more heads are better than one’ came to life for me.
I left with an assignment to create a budget for the new product launch, but much more was being planned in my head. I wanted a new career launch.
I wanted to be in marketing.
This can be quite challenging for a financial analyst, and I soon discovered from my mentors in the company that I would have quite a big obstacle to overcome. Actually, I had two obstacles. One was having the marketing department want a financial person as part of the team. Two was convincing the CFO he didn’t need me. I was the first analyst in the company and he really wanted this position to grow into more.
If You Can Visualize It, Then You Can Create a Plan To Make It Happen
But my mind was set. One way or the other, I was going to do marketing. I literally started visualizing it. I planned out in my head how I would manage the projects or the department. I picked the office I wanted and fantasized about it one day being mine!
It was a long road to achievement scattered by many rejections on the way. It was a test of my endurance and perseverance.
Here are some of the many strategies I embarked on to achieve my goal:
- I was in the MBA program at LSU at night and shifted to an emphasis in marketing. Since I worked for the most prominent consumer packaged goods company in the state, the professors approved our company to be the subject of all of my project work in the program.
- I started volunteering to help all of the marketing and promotion managers with their project justification and crunched numbers for them and even wrote their plans.
- I did marketing work on the side for one of the brand managers in exchange for his fundamental teaching on brand management.
- I volunteered to help write the marketing segment of the monthly board report for the VP of Marketing.
This continued for years. I think we went through two VP’s of Marketing who had both turned me down because I didn’t have a marketing background.
Luck Is When Preparation Meets Opportunity
Finally, my day came. I was walking through the parking lot one day from lunch when the new VP of marketing was also coming in. He started asking me about some work he had seen that I had done. Right there in the parking lot when I had least expected it, he asked if I would ever be interested in joining the marketing department.
You can imagine the response he received.
It took a few months to convince the CFO and train my replacement, but I made it. Soon I was a key member of the marketing department and went on to hold various roles in my time in marketing.
All it took was perseverance.
Have you ever wanted anything so bad you thought you would do anything to get it? I have had many more of these desires. But what does perseverance really look like?
- Setting your mind on the target.
- Imagine yourself there – it adds to your confidence when you are asking for something. (Even if it is just asking for the sale!)
- Do your research and find ways to get experience even if it is on your own time. (To get a new client, you need to show that you can do the work, sometimes for free)
- Ask for the job, the project, the sale, whatever your goal is.
- Don’t give up if you are rejected. Step back and make a new plan.
- Work the new plan and keep asking.
If it is in God’s plan for you, don’t give up just because His timing is different than yours!
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
2 Timothy 4:7