Digital Marketing Career Lessons Learned

I’ve been in the digital marketing industry for over 10 years now. My career has grown quickly over the years, and I’m always looking for ways to grow further. As the years go by, my wisdom and overall perspective has grown as well. Today, I’m thrilled to share a few lessons and findings that have impacted my career strategy and perspective in recent years. I hope these help with your digital marketing career as well.

Lesson One: Make Sure Your Team Has Fun Every Single Day

The cornerstone of a great organization is a team that likes to work hard, but also has fun. I have seen work get so serious from time-to-time. I have seen people stress out. It’s only natural: In digital marketing, we are responsible for so much, we are moving so quickly. Make sure to laugh, make sure to go to lunch, make sure you celebrate each and every day as a team. There is nothing more powerful than a great team of leaders. The best teams can influence an entire company, they can truly impact everyone. The great team is so much greater than the sum of its members. A few tips on fostering an environment of fun:

1. Offer team members opportunities. Instead of going to a conference yourself, why not send someone from your team?

2. Schedule 1-on-1 lunches regularly and pay for them. Speak about work topics at lunch, but also leverage the time to get to know your team. Have fun!

3. Schedule team dinners regularly, and invite everyone. Some of the best team dinners are sponsored by partners. For example, Google just treated our entire team to a fancy dinner at Evvia in downtown Palo Alto. It was delicious, and an opportunity to celebrate/have fun as a team.

4. Turn difficult situations into lessons, with a positive/fun perspective. Your team members will face challenges. You will face challenges. Support each other and make sure the difficulty changes into a fun solution.

5. Create something special that is unique to your team. It could be anything, just make sure it’s unique and fun. An example on our team: We each have balloons in our cubes that change with the seasons. I cannot tell you how many conversations those balloons have started within our team. (By the way, the balloons were not my idea, but I love them.)

6. And the list goes on… Never stop thinking of ideas to make each day bright for everyone.

Fundamentally, there is something special about the team. Invest in your team each and every day. We only live once, and every day should be special.

Lesson Two: Outsmart The Stress With Logic

There was a time in my career that stuff would happen and I wouldn’t fully understand why. Certain developments would stress me out. Fast forward 10 plus years later and everything is so logical and predictable. I really don’t experience much stress. Don’t get me wrong, I face difficult challenges every single day. Also, I work incredibly long hours, so I certainly face fatigue. However, I don’t sweat the crazy situations, and I do my best to help my team do the same.

Here’s what I’ve realized: Everything has a reason. Generally speaking, everything at work can be explained with logic. Most situations and people all make sense with enough experience. The cornerstone of my strategy is:

1. Realizing what’s happening based on past experience.

2. Remaining incredibly flexible and understanding. Realizing that I may be more mature and seasoned than others, I’m ready to provide ideas/guidance but also be flexible and “take one for the team”.

3. Laughing it off and helping my team do the same.

I cannot tell you the impact of someone with experience plus this strategy of logic and flexibility. It all ties back to lesson one about having fun! I also view lesson two as good management: Keeping yourself and your team happy/flexible will likely drive the best long term results for your organization.

I think a lot of craziness can hit someone in digital marketing because what we do is so multi-disciplinary. The craziness, however, becomes fun with that layer of analysis and logic applied to real situations.

Lesson Three: There Is No “My”, Only “Our”

It all goes back to that team again, and the power of the team. Even if you do work completely yourself, who did the work? It’s “our” work. Even if you hit the numbers without the help if others, it’s not “my” success, it’s “our” success. I’ve been a believer in he power of solidarity (the team experiences all successes and failures together) for a while. However, I’ve noticed a few folks saying “my” lately. I’m writing this lesson down because I know there are people that could benefit.

There are a few unique advantages to this strategy:

1. There is power in the team and this type of language bonds the team.

2. It makes you look like the bigger person. Be humble. Each and every day, strive to recognize everyone but yourself. The humble attitude is the mark of a great leader. After all, the leader is there to empower others. How can you possibly empower when you are not humble?

3. It’s motivating for everyone around you. It shows the team that they are not alone, they have help! Digital marketing challenges can be complex, sometimes it takes several smart people to solve them. It sure brings piece of mind knowing your teammates have your back.

When you say “my”, it can take away from the team. It can place you in your own silo. Avoid it!

Lesson Four: Leverage Surges In Energy

Digital Marketing is intense and requires extreme focus. Simply sitting and working for 8 hours straight is not going to do the trick. I have come up with a new strategy, one that capitalizes on times when I have the most focus and energy (“surges in energy”). My strategy:

1. Get up extremely early and get into the office (very) early. Try to grab a Starbucks on the way in. I find so much clarity in these early hours. It’s a great way to get a jump start in the day and get work done while it’s quiet.

2. Work 7 days/week. Energy can come at any time. Often, it only lasts an hour or two. I’ll find energy at midnight on a Saturday night, or Monday early AM. Energy can come at any time and you need to capture it when you can.

3. Go running throughout the week. Exercise is key to a clear mind.

4. Keep (somewhat) normal hours during weekdays, since I am spreading the workweek over 7 days.

5. Get to bed between 10pm and 12am (preferably closer to 10pm).

As I continue to grow, it’s very apparent that time is my most valuable resource. I’m leveraging surges in energy to optimize my digital marketing career.

Lesson Five: We Need More Values-Driven Leaders

Do you truly care about others? Do you have a strong desire to make a change? So do I. However, there’s only one of me. My solution: Challenge my team to be leaders. Challenge every single person to lead with purpose. There are many “leaders” out there, however, there are only so many at go above and beyond. I spend more time teaching leadership skills than ever before. I train leaders to truly impact lives. True leaders improve your company, the digital marketing indipustry, and ultimately the world!

I hope these tips help. I continue to learn each and every day. Digital marketing is the career that keeps you leaning and growing as a person, and for that I am forever grateful.

What lessons have you learned recently?

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Ian Lopuch

Ian Lopuch

Ian Lopuch is a digital marketer, technology executive, investor, and blogger. Lopuch enjoys educating, empowering, and helping others grow their careers.

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