How To Manage Your Recommenders

Salesman Shouting --- Image by © Josh Gosfield/Corbis

Salesman Shouting — Image by © Josh Gosfield/Corbis

Do Marketers Still Need An MBA?

It isn’t easy being a marketer these days. Decades ago, it was considered an art. Ideas were divinely-inspired epiphanies and gut instincts that came more from “living” (i.e. socializing and slacking) than disciplined research.

Now, the rules, let alone the outlets, have changed. Direct mail? A waste. Telemarketing? A risk. Tradeshows? A joke. Print ads? Just a throw-in with digital. Forget a clear and consistent message. Everyone is sliced up into their own segments (i.e. “tribes”), with their own values and interpretations. Marketers now engage in conversations where customers demand to be treated as partners and collaborators. From broken guitars on United to sink-bathing employees at Taco Bell, one mistake can mobilize an army of activists across the Twitterverse.

You’d think an MBA would be a perfect tool to navigate such a changing dynamic. In a recent Forbes column, Steve Olenski wonders aloud if the MBA is really up to such a challenge. Alas, Olenski is no lightweight. He is currently the senior content strategist for Oracle. He is ranked among the Top 100 Social Media Influencers by Social Technology Review and a Top 50 Content Marketer by Cision. He has written for outlets ranging from Advertising Age to Marketing Profs to ESPN (along with serving on the editorial board for the Journal of Digital & Social Media Marketing). Although his resume doesn’t indicate if he has an MBA (or any degree for that matter), you can be confident that Olenski knows what he’s talking about.

So is an MBA worth it in his book? That depends. “Getting an MBA is still a good idea for marketers,” Olenski writes. “You just have to pick the right program.”

While Olenski doesn’t name schools with the best marketing programs, he does offer some advice for choosing the right one. First, he reminds readers just how much marketing has changed in the past five years. “Marketing is undergoing a revolution right now,” Olenski writes. “New technology, particularly mobile technology, is giving marketers new ways to get their products in front of consumers. Data collection and analytics is also helping marketers to understand their customers like never before, which helps them deliver precisely timed and targeted promotional content to both individuals and highly specialized market segments.”

In other words, the marketing concentration should have a strong data-driven, tech focus integrated across the curriculum.

Olenski also reminds potential MBAs to factor in the potential network of their school, including faculty, alumni, and peers. “Don’t shy away from MBA programs that take top-caliber students,” he observes. “Those students could become key contacts down the road in your career. Also, choose schools with faculty that have strong connections and schools with alumni who’ve gone on to work at your target companies. While you’re in school, take advantage of clubs, recruiting events, conferences, and other chances to build your network.”

He also encourages readers to consider studying entrepreneurship, a catch-all that trains students on all facets of an organization – finance, operations, personnel management – along with marketing.  This broadens aspiring marketers’ toolkits, giving them a “big picture” perspective and making them versatile enough to move into larger roles like leadership. He also counsels prospective applicants to couple entrepreneurial training with fields that produce startups, citing information technology, health science and data analysis. Otherwise, students can look towards disciplines with growing implications in marketing, such as neuroscience. At worst, such backgrounds make these graduates attractive to early stage firms or companies looking to expand in these markets.

Finally, he warns students to identify those schools with a strong experiential component, such as project-based partnerships with employers. “You don’t want schools that only look backward, analyzing old case studies and looking at businesses of the past. Instead, choose a school that lets you tackle real-world problems and actually get your hands dirty.”

For additional advice, click on the Forbes article below.


Source: Forbes

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