The Case for Developing Marketing Skill During COVID-19

I didn’t “choose” to become a marketer.

Growing up, I knew I wanted to be in business. And that I wanted to be a leader. And it was important to me to lead purposefully, make a difference (and to get paid well for doing it).

When I made it into the workforce – I chose operations.

I chose event management. 

I chose technology.

I loved (and still love) these things – in addition to loving marketing.

But I didn’t specifically choose to develop my marketing skill until one specific moment in my career.

At that point, I had a really shitty boss. He was like that Katy Perry song – Hot N Cold. One day he was your best friend, the next your harshest critic.

Literally one Wednesday he came in to say “Love your work!”. Then by Friday, he had called me into his office to sternly critique my recent performance.

(That asshole.)

I cried my way home that day. And for most of that weekend, I wondered whether I’d even return at all.

I did return. But not for long.

That Monday, our web developer took me out for lunch. He’d been in the office the week before, saw what went on, and gave me some advice.

“Most of the stuff you do – admin, operations, events, tech – are on the expense side of the business. He sees you as someone who costs the business money.

But some of the stuff you do – sales, lead-generation, marketing… Those things are on the revenue side of the business. He values money. So if you can stay over on the revenue-generation side, you’re more likely to get paid well, more likely to get promoted, and more likely to have your skill respected in good times and bad.”

So I did.

I leaned into marketing as something I was good at, enjoyed, and could quickly develop skill in.

And I did well at it.

And people began coming after me to offer me things – jobs, business partnerships, opportunities, consulting gigs, income, coaching opportunities, speaking opportunities, etc, etc, etc

And I was able to create security for myself in times of difficulty and crisis.

I don’t see too many skilled marketers being fired or stood down during the current crisis. Most of the ones I know are busier than ever. After all, for a business with fixed costs, there’s never been a more important time to be great at marketing. And revenue-generating staff are the last people anyone is standing-down right now.

And I don’t see too many business owners who are skilled at marketing shutting-up-shop. They’re either thriving in the chaos, or adapting old strategies to work in the new world.

There’s nothing more recession-proof than being great at bringing in clients, sales, and revenue.

I can’t think of a single set of skills more valuable than this today, or in 6-12 months time when we’re restarting this economy.

So my advice to you today is the same advice I received in 2005…

If you want to be valued, respected, and secure – plant yourself firmly on the revenue side of business.