Career Advice for the Demand Generation Professional

demand generation career

I recently began reading a friend’s book (“Adulting Made Easy(er)”) In it, the authors offer some salient tips for teens entering post-high school studies – and their parents.

In high school, our guidance counselor (between cigarette breaks) had us take a career assessment exam. At the time, my career of choice appeared to be “Theater Prop Manager.” Despite that stellar guidance, I opted for a degree in Business Management and an International MBA.

In the book, I came across the site ($10 for your own assessment). I thought it would be fun to take a similar quiz (providing honest responses) again to see how my current life stacks up to what recommends. I wanted to see if my chosen field of marketing, media, demand generation, and analytics, would rise to the top.

Here are my top 15 results based on my education, interests, and general demeanor:

  1. Economist: A heartless, number cruncher who views people as dollars.
  2. Market research analysis: I actually thought about this for a hot second after grad school.
  3. City planner: I certainly complain about how my city is run.
  4. Medical secretary: What IS this?
  5. Arbitrator/Mediator: I’m yet to solve a disagreement in my own household.
  6. Geoscientist: My views on fracking may cause an issue here.
  7. Statistician: Bell curves!
  8. Environmental scientist: Probably doesn’t align with my geoscientist acumen.
  9. Financial analyst: Not bad.
  10. Librarian: Who can’t get on board with the Dewey Decimal System?
  11. Accountant: FIFO or LIFO? You be the judge.
  12. Education administrator: Judging by my own education path, this may be a miss.
  13. Financial manager: Not just analyzing, but managing the numbers!
  14. Educational counselor: I could be an ineffective guidance counselor, just like the one I had!
  15. Marriage and family therapist: My wife would likely disagree with this option for me.

Better alignment, but still not a reflection of my actual career choices. Certainly, a step up from painting sets for Hello Dolly.

If you are a student looking for a path, you should obviously take these tests with a grain of salt. Talk to people in a field that interests you. I’ve received some great advice over the years on picking a path based on what’s available, a good fit, and has staying power.

Some (actually) great career advice I’ve gotten over the years for a demand generation career:

  • Become proficient at the things no one wants to do. For where I actually landed (in Marketing), these would appear to be:
    • Balancing marketing objectives with the unsexy aspects of marketing like compliance, reporting, standardization, and data cleanliness.
    • Getting in the middle of cross-functional disputes between departments for the greater good of the company.
    • Having difficult conversations with people who want certain outcomes to happen.
    • Sniffing out bad actors in an industry. In my case that would be fraud.
    • Training someone to eventually make you obsolete.
  • Find something in your profession that gets you out of bed in the morning:
    • Keeping all activities focused on the larger objective.
    • Making sure the ones who are doing things right get rewarded.
    • Paying it forward to those who are looking for the same.
  • Make sure what you do on a daily basis reflects who you are.
  • Be transparent. Explain why you did what you did, regardless of other people’s opinions.
  • Don’t expect to be happy with your field 24/7. Those that are content all the time are either lying or medicated.
  • Don’t be an asshole. Every industry is a small community. You will run into the same folks somewhere down the line.

Luckily, I was smart enough in high school to know that Theater Prop Manager wasn’t a realistic path for me. Hopefully, my trial and error will someday lead to a better crop of digital demand generation enthusiasts who want to sleep better at night.

Flywheel Demand