Career advice for digital marketers

Chris Mechanic, co-founder and CEO of WebMechanix, outlines the 7 keys for young, up-and-coming digital marketers to choose a company that will help them become highly successful:

  • Growth. Make sure the organization is growing. Some can fake this so make sure employees and clients aren’t leaving as fast as they are entering.
  • DNA. Make sure they started as a digital agency rather than started as a traditional agency and tacked on digital.
  • Progression paths. Make sure they have a pathway outlined for employees to move up if they do a great job.
  • Training. Are you getting trained or doing most of the training yourself?
  • Autonomy within a framework. Make sure it’s not completely chaotic and with no structure.
  • Mentoring. Do you have a dedicated mentor to train you?
  • Watch the video and find out the last secret + a bonus 8th tip.

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Transcript:

- Hey, what's up, everybody? Chris Mechanic here from WebMechanix, co-founder and CEO of WebMechanix, very excited to be here.

Usually, I talk about marketing tips and hacks and tactics and techniques, today I'm gonna talk about something a little bit different. I'm gonna talk about career advice, specifically for digital marketers, and even more specifically for that up and coming digital marketer.

So there's a lot that's been written about how to get into digital marketing. I myself have done pieces for like, if you're brand new, how to get in.

But this is really for the up and comer. And the up and comer is somebody that has some experience, you know, maybe a year or two or three years of experience, starting to feel kind of comfortable in their skin, kind of confident, maybe you've posted some wins lately, you've gotten some recognition, maybe you've been promoted, and at a certain point, something starts happening.

It's kind of like that hierarchy of needs triangle, where like at the very bottom, there's food and shelter, and then at the very top, there's like spiritual enlightenment.

The idea is that you're never gonna really start thinking on the realm of spiritual enlightenment if you have no food and shelter, so you sort of progress.

So once you become kind of comfortable in your skin and you have posted some wins and you're getting recognized, there's a human tendency to kind of step back and to think like, to start asking some bigger questions, like is this right for me?

Like, do I wanna make a career out of this? Am I in the right role? Maybe you're a pay-per-click advertiser or a social advertiser, like is that the right place? Is this the right organization?

And so today, I'm gonna deliver seven pieces of advice, in the form of questions that I wish somebody would have delivered to me in the early days.

So, in case you don't know me, like I said, I'm co-founder and CEO here at WebMechanix. I've been a digital marketer for about 15 years. I started WebMechanix almost 10 years ago.

I've worked with thousands of organizations of all different types, big ones, small ones, local ones, national, international, product companies, service companies, agencies, you name it.

And I've personally recruited, hired, and/or trained north of two hundred and fifty-some digital marketers.

So I've been around the block.

So here are the seven things that I wish somebody would have told me to ask.

First and foremost is like, is this organization growing? Or generally, is the space that I'm in growing?

Now if you're in any form of digital marketing, the chances are yes, because the demand is just surging for that.

But it's really easy for companies to put on a face that they're growing, where really they're not growing. And the telltale sign as to whether somebody's really growing or some company is really growing is what they call churn.

So in the software business, they call it churn. And it basically means the rate at which you're losing customers. And it also applies to employees.

So if there's a large amount of churn in terms of customers or employees, like if it's a revolving door and you're constantly seeing people coming and going, that's a telltale sign that something might not be right.

Number two is DNA. So if you're a digital marketer, you wanna be the best. And you want an organization, you want to be at an organization that's gonna support that, that's gonna kind of bring you up, as opposed to you having to drag them.

So I call it DNA, and the question is, is digital in the DNA of this organization, like, did they start with digital?

Like, Google is a prime example. They're digital DNA, 100%, they probably don't have a printer in all of Google. They're probably just all digital.

The opposite would be, for instance, like if your company's DNA is in print or direct mail, and they've recently added digital as an offering.

Then you might find yourself in a scenario where you're getting a lot of kudos and you're getting recognition because they're really impressed with what you're doing, but you might consider what you're doing to be relatively basic.

And so what's happening is, you're constantly pulling people up and teaching them, which is good, but it's better if the organization is constantly pulling you up and teaching you stuff.

There's this thing that, this saying that you become the average of the five people that you spend the most time with.

So you want the people around you in the organization generally to be pulling you up.

Third is progression paths. So progression paths address the question of what's next.

If I do a really good job in this role, what's next? And this is something which is difficult but you definitely want to work at an organization where the executives are at least attempting to address this question and answer this question.

And this is something that we're actually going through right now, we've been very fortunate that we have like a very open and transparent culture, where people have asked about this, straight up. So we've been working on this for a while, and we're getting ready to roll that out right now.

Third is training, this goes into both progression paths and the DNA. It's are you receiving training or are you constantly the trainer?

Fifth is autonomy within a framework. So there's two general spectrums.

One spectrum is that it's just completely chaotic, there's almost no process, no systems, limited oversight, it's kinda just like, get in there and figure it out as best you can.

And then the opposite is basically so much process and so much system and so much oversight that it's burdensome.

But in the ideal world, there would be a degree of autonomy, but within a framework. So ask yourself that, like is it chaotic, is it stressful? There's always gonna be some degree of stress, but if it's excessive stress, it might be due to a process problem.

And then lastly, or no, second to last, is mentor.

So when somebody starts at WebMechanix, they get assigned a mentor right away. And that mentor may or may not be their direct manager.

But the mentor's job is basically to help them be successful in their role.

And so we'll meet with people, sometimes weekly when they first start, at least monthly at the very least, and it's not a business meeting where we're saying, hey, what's up with this client, what's up with that client, what's up with this task, what's up with that task.

It's more of a coaching meeting, where it's like, hey, how are things going? What roadblocks are you experiencing? What do you need in order to get to that next level?

And finally is a degree of work/life balance.

Like, there's always some you know, pressing project that comes up. That's always gonna happen, especially if you're in an agency role. But you want to work with a team, and particularly with executives that honor some level of work/life balance.

And there's a lot more I could go, but this video's getting long. I can do a follow-up.

If this is on Youtube or Facebook or something, please give me a like or comment or subscribe.

If you're on our careers page, which, yep, you guessed it, we are definitely hiring, we're looking for talent of all types, we're constantly hiring, if you have a passion or some level of experience or Google AdWords or Analytics or Facebook ads or these kind of things, we definitely would like to hear from you.

So go to careers.webmechanix.com, look around, if you see a job that pops out at you, feel free to apply for it.

Even if you don't see a job, that's bonus tip number eight, right there, is that a lot of companies that are growing quickly don't even have time to really keep up with their job postings.

So if there's a specific job that you really would like but you don't see it posted, just apply for the closest one, and in your cover letter, say, hey I'm actually, I actually would like this one.

But that's all from me.

Look around this video, you'll probably find some calls to action, and Clare loves it when I point down at the tables.

So now, happy hunting, guys.