Welcome to our weekly "What I Do Wednesday" series where we highlight people in real jobs making real impact. If you're thinking about changing careers, this could be a great way to learn if a field is for you! Enjoy!
So Maria, why don't you tell us a bit about your job and company you work for.
I am currently the Business Development Manager, for a startup tech consulting company called Ennovo Group. I helped start this company and have gotten to watch it evolve and grow into what it is now, which has been so fun!
Ennovo Group specializes in helping small- to medium-sized businesses leverage technology to more effectively compete, particularly in the healthcare industry. We help companies figure out what their next step should be to reach their goals. In a lot of instances, we then assist them in implementing what we recommend (that’s my favorite part!).
My job at Ennovo Group really consists of 2 parts: One being internal. So I handle the branding, lead generation and marketing. Secondly, I consult externally for clients in the Middle Tennessee area. I do everything from marketing strategy to software implementation and integration to digital. I’m a total nerd about marketing and business and completely love it. Anything that’s a challenge or new is something that I am going to be drawn to. I love solving everyday business problems and then being able to see and quantify change! It’s great!
How did you get there?
My story is a bit unique. From the time I was little my dad had wanted me to be a doctor. So I went into college as a neuroscience/pre-med major. I very quickly figured out that wasn’t for me, so I switched to criminology/pre-law (my mom always said I would make a good lawyer). It only look a couple of pre-law classes for me to figure out that this was no where near what I wanted to do with my life.
It was towards the end of my sophomore year of college, and I was confused and frustrated with what I wanted to do with my future. I remember sitting in my friends apartment and thinking about what my strengths were. I loved communicating with people, being creative and working with numbers. And after taking an Intro to Marketing class, I absolutely fell in love with it. I finished my degree in marketing and immediately went into an MBA program. While I was getting my MBA, one of my professors recommended me for a consulting role with a small financial services start up company. After getting my first consulting gig, it kind of got the ball rolling and eventually alongside some other people, Ennovo Group was formed! I’m really fortunate to be able to be at the place I am in my career and I could have never dreamed of the opportunities that I have.
I remember growing up my mother used to always tell me that good things come for those who work hard. And as cliche as it is, I believe it 100%.
What do you love about your job?
I love getting to see change happen firsthand. I always tell people that since marketing is an “external” part of business, that it is the most dynamic. Customer needs and preferences change at an instant, and in order to be effective, you have to be ready to adjust your strategies. I also love marketing because all business functions are completely reliant upon it. If you don’t have an innovative product and/or service to sell, then all other functions of business are irrelevant.
What’s kind of hard?
Marketing is a very lucrative career. It’s so much fun, the pay is good, but it’s very hard to break into, unless you want to start in sales. But if you work towards ways of differentiating yourself, then you can be very successful. I spent some time teaching as a professor after completing my MBA, and I would say about 90% of marketing graduates go into sales, which is a great career option. But if you are interested in branding, analytics, advertising, etc. Then you HAVE to work your network and figure out way into the industry months before you are ready to make a career change.
Are there any preconceived notions you’d like to debunk?
Marketing isn’t all creative. In fact, I think the most important part of marketing has to do with numbers. It seems like people go into this field with vision of working in a creative agency where you sit around drinking beer and writing random ideas on a white board. While this can happen at some places, advertising is just a small part of marketing. When I’m explaining marketing to my intro classes, I always start off by saying that marketing is the process of getting an idea out of your brain and into the hands of the consumers.
What advice would you give someone who is looking to get into your industry/job?
Become a subject master. When I was in undergrad, I had a professor tell me that I could skip years in climbing the corporate ladder by becoming a subject master in my field. Read as much as you can about marketing and how it is constantly evolving. Then write your thoughts about it and talk with other people in your industry about it. This will help you grow in your knowledge of marketing, as well as articulate yourself better in interviews
Another piece of advice I have, is to surround yourself with people who are ambitious and determined. When I was a senior in college, I went to hear Miki Agrawal speak on entrepreneurship. And one thing she said was that you are an average of your ten closest friends. When you surround yourself with people who have similar goals as you, it drives you! Conversations become more intellectual and you have more accountability in your ambitions.