9 Actionable Words of Advice for Students

Advice for Students

My friend Jesse is the Director of Marketing for a SaaS company called PhoneBurner. They help sales teams automate outbound dialing in a TCPA compliant way to close more deals.

He recently posted a question on LinkedIn asking for advice to share with marketing students at his local University.

Jesse got some great responses so I wanted to organize them here in one place.

Marketing Advice for Students

#1. Leverage your contacts

Jake Johnson - VP of Brand & Content at Versapay:

“Don’t be ashamed to leverage every contact you have for an opportunity. Volunteer with causes you like to build marketing experience. Read like a maniac. Always talk about bottom line outcomes, not vanity metrics. Understand not just marketing, but business.”

#2. Create your experience

Nick Lafferty (that’s me!)

“Build something and stay committed to it. It could be anything, a blog, podcast, newsletter, Instagram, or TikTok account. Talk about the journey starting it, growing it, challenges, and what you learned. The experience growing something would make them stand out to me.”

Nate Smoyer - Head of Marketing at Obie:

“Experience doesn’t require someone giving it to you. You need to take action and make something happen. It can be terrible, it can fail, and it can lose money, but it will be experience. Action > Pretty Resumes.”

#3. Become a t-shaped marketer

Dave Gerhardt - ex VP of Marketing at Drift:

“Pick 1-2 disciplines you can own and be great at. Ex: Content and SEO. Or Video and social media. Or brand and product marketing. I’ve seen the light on the power of become a specialist first — become a channel expert (roughly) and use that as the wedge to take on more.”

Trey Sheneman - Executive Director of Marketing Ramsey Solutions:

“First be a specialist and go deep. Then be a generalist and go wide. So, when the right opportunity comes you can be a capitalist and go high. And read the book Range.”

Bill Gaule - Digital Marketing Executive:

“Show, dont just tell. Ie have a blog, podcast, YouTube channel; something as opposed to just a resume.”

#4. Say “yes” early and often

William Schmidt:

“Always take the meeting. Always.You never know where your next conversation will lead, so don’t ever balk at the opportunity to talk with someone. Maybe you’ll learn something new, or get referred to a new client, or get offered a job. It’s always worth it.”

#5. Embrace lifelong learning

Robert Carnes - Marketing Manager at GreenMellen:

“You don’t stop being a student after graduation. You need to keep learning. Read books. Attend conferences. Get a mentor. If you’re not learning, you’re falling behind—and that’s true for your entire career.”

Kacy Maxwell - Executive Director of Marketing at Ramsey Solutions:

“Never stop learning. To be a great marketer you need to constantly be following changes in the marketplace. What they are learning in college are the basics not actual marketing. Take the basics and constantly be learning how to use them.”

Kathie Kinde Clark - Head of Marketing at Exstratus

“Dedicate at least 30 minutes a day to learning more. Follow experts in various disciplines. Read books. Watch videos. Your marketing education has only just begun.”

Bonus Tips

Jason Miller - Senior Director, Brand Marketing at ActiveCampaign:

“Two things: 1. Work on your “soft skills”. There are a lot of smart people out there, but not a lot of them have the soft skills to excel (critical thinking, problem-solving, communications)

  1. Figure out if you are willing to “play the game”. If you go to a large company that’s the way to success. It’s all about structure and many times less about innovation. The other route is to go start-up and be more of a disruptor and take more risks. (Check out Barking up the Wrong Tree by Eric Barker, brilliant book about defining success)”

Sherri Schwartz - CMO at First Orion

Be open to new opportunities:

“Another thing would be to introduce them to is the role of product marketing. So many are not aware of the importance of that role, the impact of a great product marketer.”

See Also