When it comes to marketing, disciplines that build one’s skills transcend beyond marketing related literature, tasks or experiences.
Recently, I was discussing with a teammate a few major aspects of how my English minor has helped me in my marketing career. I thought I would share how as well as a few other disciplines I see as valuable.
If you are pursuing a marketing career, I urge you to learn something new about the fields below (I will do the same). If you are in a position to hire marketing talent, I would get excited if someone walks through the door with a degree in any of these six areas (assuming he or she passes the culture check as well).
At a high level, these are top skills to hone as a marketer (communication, research and an understanding of how/why cultures operate). The disciplines below each skill can help you improve those skills, which ultimately make for a better marketer.
My all time favorite subject; sometimes I actually wish I majored. Studying English at least once a semester throughout college helped me develop a communication style. Not only a written one, but a verbal one as well.
Compared to business courses where one could hide in a sea of students and not participate all semester, English courses tended to take on a symposium style with chairs and tables in a circle. Therefore, I was required to prepare discussion points for every class. Not only was preparation a must but the skill of when to contribute was something I enjoyed practicing as well. Some questions I also thought when speaking up:
- Do I open the discussion with a point?
- Can my point feed off of what was just said?
- Do I have a solid enough point to disagree with someone?
Of course with English comes writing. Essays, memoirs, plays and analytical papers were few of the forms of literature I was exposed to.
Written and verbal communication requirements from English courses have helped with client or team meetings as well as daily written communication.
Lots of marketers have ideas. But the best marketers are able to communicate an idea to others in a way that generates outside support. Improv can help enhance the delivery of your ideas. When I was at SEER, we went through an improv workshop that changed the way I prepared for meetings.
After the introduction to macro and micro courses, Economics got infinitely more challenging and time consuming. An old professor used to say,“Economics is the art of taking something simple and making it complicated.”
Being required to read and learn about a topic like central banking and monetary policy helped me understand outside research quickly. Analyzing and making sense of central bankers’ speeches will help you understand any blog post or other piece of content related to marketing.
One main takeaway I got from Experimental Psychology was the framework behind the scientific method.
As an online marketer – an update you make to a website can be looked at as an experiment where by the change made is the independent variable and the metrics by which you measure success are the dependent variables. A basic example would be publishing a blog post (independent variable) and measuring traffic to it overtime (dependent variable).
Bonus: I have seen some online marketers relate psychology to marketing. Rand Fishkin’s presentation at Inbound12 is my all time favorite example. Here, he breaks down 8 irrational biases in SEO:
What is anthropology you ask? The first time my friend told me he was an anthropology major, I needed to understand the discipline better.
Studying different human societies and their development will enhance your ability to understand a target audience.
Grab a friend and quiz each other on this American History Timeline. Having this type of context of the world is another subtle discipline that can help you become a better online marketer. After all, the Internet is becoming a part of history. Check out my favorite HBS case write up, Online Portals: Searching and Shaping Opportunities, to find out the history of web portals and how Google took off.
If this post helped you see how these 6 disciplines can enhance your communication, research and cultural based skills to ultimately make you a better marketer, I would love to know! Thanks for reading.