What Marketing Advice Would You Give a College Grad?

After yesterday’s post, I received a nice letter from @JoshHolzhaeuser who’s a college student on exchange in Spain right now. He’s nearing graduation and considering a career in Digital Marketing.

Please read his letter and consider writing some advice for him in the comments below, Thank you!

Josh on the Barcelona coast line

Hey Marcus,

Life sounds like it’s taking another exciting turn for you. Happy to hear it . How you explained your next project sounds really exciting. Integration of the social scene into the business scene in a seamless manner, will be key for new age marketing and business.

I have been lucky enough to experience this first hand but without the use of any computer or website. Which I think has significant implications for the dynamics of the “traditional” (if I can say traditional for a company that has only been around since 2004) Facebook friend and beyond.

After some time here in Spain, I befriended these two small business owners; to the point of hanging out and going out on the weekends together. I met them in their store (a fruit juice store) and we began to talk and eventually became great friends. I didn’t begin to think of this from a business standpoint until a few weeks in, when I realized that I had been making trips to their store 3-4 times a week, just to hang out.

After some time chatting, I would buy a little something. I realized that I had been supporting their business more than I would have been, with the root cause being in the real friendship we created. It became more than just marketing exposure but also customer retention, simply through genuine friendship.

In the business sense this it the power of becoming a friend; before it just meant clicking accept. Not to take away the importance of exposure, but in many places I feel like that’s all it is. This friendship, if looked at from a total business standpoint or too naively (as just a friend) could frankly be damaging to my psyche. 🙂 But who says you can’t have your cake and eat it too? There are two (possibly more) main facets to the story: 1) I have made some friends whom I value greatly 2) I have supported people whom I have a genuine emotional investment in.

I guess what I am trying to say is that I have experienced and analyzed firsthand the benefits, both from a friendship side and a business side, of a deepening of the meaning “friend.” Not just accepting a friend request but actually embracing one in an effective way is the real puzzle that I would present.

I know this is your milk and honey, and with your experience you know mountains more than I do in this department. I just wanted to share some thoughts I have been having and pick your brain a little.

It would be totally naive (borderline idiotic) for me to think that this is not where business is headed, that much I know. So I want to expose myself more to the tech world in preparation for graduation and life. I’m an idea guy, but my knowledge in the tech world is… well enough to get me by.

I’m interested in how this type of business works and just wondering what kind of insight/advice you could give a guy like me, as far as getting on the right track to having a more advanced level of understanding in this department?

I’ll take whatever your willing to give. 

Sorry for the rant… your blog just got my creative juices flowing

Please say shalom to Emily, Olivia, Stew, and lil Henry…. oh and Rocky 

Love,

Josh

reposted with Josh’s permission

2 thoughts on “What Marketing Advice Would You Give a College Grad?

  1. Ironically, I think Josh’s letter is advice for the rest of us. This is where social has been heading. It’s a return to the Village. A return to knowing your customers, to being friends with them, to interacting with them. In this, He’s leagues ahead of most “Social” gurus. The real challenge, will be to embrace this passion of his, and to keep it intact after being exposed to the “business” side of the house.

    Don’t lose that, Josh.

    • Thanks so much for that Kevin. I will make sure to take note. I see it as a component of the pendulum effect. With all of the emerging business leaders who have seen some of the catastrophic outcomes of unethical behavior in big business we have no choice but to take a new approach. As a secondary result I feel that the majority of this generation find all things “schemey” to be appalling. What I mean is, there is a segment of consumers that are becoming too smart to buy into almost any marketing scheme. Not to say that all marketing strategies are “schemes” or a form of foolery, but that is how this growing segment is beginning to perceive them, as a result of the recent publicity of big businesses. This will become the fuel for the movement towards genuine marketing (and not fake genuine, that’s too easy to pick up :)) I know that when I started talking to my friends at the juice store it wasn’t to get me to buy something… it wasn’t a trick but the simple fact that it wasn’t a trick is what made it work. Because if I would have picked up on the tacky sales pitch I most definitely wouldn’t have returned the next day. This implies that I never perceived the motive of the approach as selling a product or coning me out of money, which is the most appealing thing to a consumer of this generation. I know money is what makes the world go around but people don’t want to be like the big busts they see on the news, nor do people want to support that. What this means to me,when put into extremes, is an eventual shift from “annual balance sheet driven” to “ethical/deeper purpose driven.” I recognize that polarizing these ideas creates a spectrum and while reality may eventually lie somewhere on the spectrum in between these two extremes it is still important to have them as reference points. Thanks again for the encouragement Kevin and hope that this rationalization will assure you that I will do my best not to lose it… Thanks again, best wishes

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