ABLe – Always Be Learning

If you’ve seen the movie Glengarrry – Glen Ross, you know the sales mantra, “A-B-C. A-Always, B-Be, C-Closing. Always be closing, always be closing.”

Marketers didn’t have a mantra of their own, so I created one…ABLe: “Always Be Learning.”

School Never Ends

I was speaking to a group of college students the other day as part of the University of West Georgia’s Guest Marketing Lecture Series. My old friend, David Nickell, invited me to talk with students about my career in marketing.

It was a great opportunity to share some lessons from the school of hard knocks, and provide some advice and encouragement to the next generation of marketing mavens.

One of the students asked what I look for in hiring marketing talent. My answer wasn’t what they expected. Instead of citing specific skills, I told them how important it is to be flexible, especially when things aren’t going your way.

“Fail fast,” I said. If you know in your gut something is not working out the way you had planned, it’s better to move on quickly rather than drag out the pain. Regroup, learn the lesson and move on.

Embrace Change

I also told the students how much I love the fact that marketing is always changing. Change keeps life interesting for marketers, and a love of learning will serve you well in this field.

In 2000, the start-up I worked for was one of the earliest paid search advertisers on Google. (I still have the beach towel they gave me as a thank you.) Today, social media is changing the marketing landscape, giving customers louder voices than ever before.

Over the years, I’ve seen lots of really smart people wander off the road to success by losing sight of the latest technologies and how they impact marketing. They make the fatal mistake of hanging on to old ideas without integrating new thinking.

Getting stuck in a rut is a sad fate for a once-promising career, and I hope it won’t happen to the bright minds I met as UWG. Instead, remember “Always Be Learning.” ABLe is a great acronym to remind students that graduation isn’t the end of the education. In marketing, it’s just the beginning.

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