You Can Market a Brand or Product…But Can You Market Yourself?

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One of the most ironic aspects of our industry is marketers’ ability to compellingly and methodically promote a brand’s message and products while simultaneously being almost universally mediocre at doing the same for their own ability and value.

Entry-level marketers and veterans alike struggle to effectively promote their own skills, knowledge, personality and mindset.

It’s almost funny, really. We’ve met world-class marketers of all types, the kind that could convince you to buy land on the moon or invest in a company that makes five-fingered gloves for snakes. Yet these individuals struggle to communicate just how they have added value, express their key accomplishments and overall share how that has contributed to the ultimate goal of growing business. Entry-level marketers and veterans alike struggle to effectively promote their own skills, knowledge, personality and mindset.

If most marketers could market themselves half as well as they market their employer or client, they’d be in much better positions to build their personal brand or move their career in marketing forward.

Evolving Expectations

Marketing is changing fast, and the expectations that anyone with a career in marketing be able to demonstrate value are changing along with it.

Alice Career in Marketing
Don’t Be Like Alice

As you progress through your professional career, what everyone wants to know is if and how you have added value to your respective teams, organizations and employers.

The burden on marketers to consistently be able to present their value has increased dramatically over the years. Once it was enough to mention your job title or years of experience and that was as much as you were expected to share.

Those days are long gone, thanks to technology. Now almost everything in marketing is measurable in some capacity. Today there are countless tools and resources that help marketers better gauge their impact on the business.

It’s essential that you observe and record those measurements over time at every point in your career. In particular, you need to know where your company was when you started, and how much it improved after you joined.

This is the case even if you’re in an organization that doesn’t heavily leverage analytics or track marketing progress on its own. In those instances, the responsibility falls on you to find ways to track your influence on the organization, either through measurements of your own or some other creative way.

Tying Results to Value


Without any context around your situation, it’s impossible to tell if your accomplishments are successes or failures.

No matter what vertical of marketing you are in, the expectation is that you understand just how you add value. In some fields that’s relatively simple: an email marketer might report how they improved response rate, a DRTV advertiser could explain how their messaging and media strategy bumped up ROI. But even in less “tangible” fields like branding, PR or even account service, the expectation is that you be able to demonstrate value.

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One common misconception among marketers is that “value” can be expressed simply by listing positive-sounding statistics. As marketing recruiters, we see this all the time, especially on resumes:

50% increase in online lead generation! Doubled response rate in just 6 months! Drove $5 million in sales!

Those accomplishments might sound impressive at first glance, but anyone experienced at evaluating marketing talent will understand them as meaningless in a vacuum. Without any context around your situation, it’s impossible to tell if your accomplishments are successes or failures.

Adding Context

When talking about your value, it’s vital to not only show your impact but include the information necessary to make it meaningful. There are a few ways you can go about adding context:

  • Explaining the purpose of your hire: Every time a business hires a marketer, it’s as a solution to some perceived need, whether it’s bringing in new expertise, additional executional capacity, or something else entirely. Understanding and expressing that need is important both to being effective at your job and showing your value to others.
  • Distinguishing your success: It’s one thing to do what you were hired to do. That’s important, but let’s face it: most anyone with a career in marketing already does that to a greater or lesser extent. So be able to define what you uniquely brought to the table–what you did to exceed expectations or how you executed better than other people in similar positions.
  • Share why your results matter: You were able to attribute $10 million to the campaigns you ran last year? That’s great…unless your goal was to raise $100 million. When talking about your capabilities and accomplishments, always provide the context needed to show comparative value.
  • Tying everything back into the organization’s goals: At the end of the day, what did your contribution mean for your employer? Oftentime marketers give metrics and key accomplishments but they fall short in explaining what that meant for the organization’s big picture. For instance, imagine you were a product marketer that took a new good to market. How did that product position the organization? Why was it important to get this product to the marketplace? These are simple ways to connect your accomplishments to that of the organization.

Alice in Wonderland Image Modified from Wikimedia Commons

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