Jacquelyn Carroll asked Rachel Beisel, 2/2/2016 3:49:15 PM

Your bio says that you moved through a lot of different industries before landing in the tech sector. Do you have any advice for transitioning into the tech marketing industry?

5/13/2016 12:32:50 AM,
Rachel Beisel replied:

Yes! Fundamentaly, marketing takes a lot of the same approaches across several different industries. The way and speed in which you do it is different depending upon the organization and industry you're in. Hopefully some of these steps below will help you. 

1. Admit when you don't know something. The quickest way to show that you don't know what you're doing is to pretend like you do. 

2. As it relates to number 1, try to figure out a solution before asking a million questions. If you want to annoy an engineer, just ask a question that could be googled and figured out in a matter of seconds. I have a 5 minute rule - if you can't figure it out in 5 minutes, then go ask. 

3. Earn street cred. If you're working in tech, you better know more than just talking the talk. When I started, I learned JavaScript and Ruby. You don't have to be an engineer, but I promise, if you show interest in what you're team is building and in their jobs, you will be able to market your product or service much more easily. It's like attempting to speak French in France. This is true for any industry though. I previously worked in textiles so I went to hosiery technology school (yes it is a thing). After that training, our marketing positioning changed completely. Now that brand is the first in class in it's industry. 

4. Marketing in the tech industry is VERY different depending on the size of your organization. If you'd like to be a specialist in your field, then join a larger organization that has more team members doing specific tasks. If you want to be a generalist, consider joining a startup environment where you learn and execute on just about marketing function. 

5. Simply ask someone in the tech industry that you admire if you can have a 30 minute chat with them. That could eventually lead to a shadow day, an internship or even a job if you're eager enough. I've had countless coffees, video chats, and even twitter conversations that 

6. Embrace forever learning. Autodidacts are respected just as much as those with a pedigree. Marketing changes so quickly (as does the technology industry) so you have to be willing to learn and relearn. Demonstrating that you're a lifelong learner will go far with the right technology organization. There are a lot of free and paid courses out there that help you become a technical marketer. There's no excuse - teach yourself even if you don't have the job yet. 

7. Put yourself out there and go network. Just like any industry, there are factions that meet regularly. Go to a hackathon. Participate in a recruiting event. Join a meetup group. There are so many opportunities online and offline to participate in the tech industry. And most of the time it's the marketers who are making the events happen. I've hired several folks who joined one of my events and were on the job hunt.