Deciding on a career path is a difficult choice for many, but some people just know where they see themselves in five, ten, or twenty years. If you know you want to make it to the top of a marketing company, you need a plan — especially as a woman.
While women are just as capable as men — and sometimes even more — sexism and gender discrimination in the workplace can present challenges to your success. However, any woman making her way to the top needs to reframe these unfortunate challenges as mere hurdles to jump over along the way.
With determination and a plan in place, you can become a marketing director or company executive and reach your professional goals.
Ask for What You Want
Successful women in marketing all start out as content creators, freelancers, or other entry-level positions. While it can be discouraging to have trouble getting your footing at first, it’s something that everyone goes through. Making it to the top of the food chain at work can take a decade or more of experience. While it may not feel like it, building the much-needed experience is important and will help you become the leader you want to be.
You may not start out exactly where you want to, and that’s okay. Just remember that successful women in marketing ask for what they want. On your path, take intentional steps forward whenever you can. Women traditionally have a harder time asking for what they want than men, but to reach your goals, this is exactly what you’ll need to do.
Another thing to keep in mind is to make sure that every job you take relates to marketing in some way. Then, as you apply for new jobs, make sure to take steps forward and never back. Small steps forward early in your marketing career can result in leaps forward later in life, and they don’t all have to marketing-specific.
According to ASU’s marketing program, marketing directors should have well-rounded skills not only in marketing, but in business as well.
Becoming a successful marketing director requires both marketing knowledge and management skills. Having a solid foundation in business principles and the ability to work well with others, multi-task, solve problems, and effectively communicate can come together to help make an effective marketing director.
Being an excellent marketer is not enough — you need to also need to prove your skills as a businesswoman. One way to make sure you have this part of your foundation down is to get a degree or certificate in business and build upon your business experience as you move up in your career. You can also build social media marketing skills by trying out Facebook ads, as well as trying to get as many followers and interactions as you can.
Starting Out and Making Connections
If you’re not sure where to start on your path, you can try out freelancing. In recent years, businesses have adapted to working with independent contractors in more fields and more frequently than before. This is a great opportunity to establish your professional skills, get clients, and build your portfolio, especially if you are unable to get a job in marketing at first that will pay your bills.
As you climb the ladder, you want to make sure you are fulfilling a purpose, making intentional strides as you move forward. To achieve this, you can:
- Invest your time in mentoring
- Use your diversity as an advantage
- Be unapologetically confident in what you do
- Never stop seeking new knowledge
Building a marketing network is especially important for women.
Each of these steps are essential. At first, it may seem like you are not making fast progress, but developing your career takes years of foundational work. If you still feel like you’re not moving fast enough, you can take more classes to build on your skills and even go back for another degree. Just remember that any steps forward are good for your career, and appreciate every progressive step that you make.
Establishing Yourself and Gaining Expertise
Women in marketing need to be bold. In the process of establishing yourself, embrace bold choices to make your mark and get noticed. Though taking chances might not always work out how you plan them, the trial and error can shape you into a better marketer and set you apart from other marketers.
As you gain your expertise, make sure to never stop learning. Though society is embracing equality, women often have to work harder for their careers than men do. To conquer this, always make sure you have an edge. Learning new technology, adding new skills to your expertise, and taking classes will take you far.
Eventually, all the small steps you take will get you where you want to be. Your goals may change along the way, but you can become the head of the marketing department, reach the c-suite in a marketing company, or any other goals you set for yourself.
Once you are there, you get to appreciate all the years of hard work that have paid off. If you want to take your career a step even further, you can build your own marketing company and get it off the ground using the marketing skills you have accumulated through the years.
Regardless of the social pressures and restrictions that are put on women, their strength and resilience outshines it all. As long as you put in the groundwork and the hours, you will reach your marketing goals. Your determination will define your marketing career path, and your womanhood will strengthen you.