As I’ve continued to scan paperwork into a digital portfolio, I came across a pile of old school work and found a funny pattern. Turns out I was always going to end up in the marketing/public speaking world.
One of the earliest finds was a fundraising letter I had put together in elementary school/junior high (too long ago to say in confidence anymore). I was offered a spot in the People to People program and due to the amount required, could only consider going if I had outside support.
In my letter, not only had I shared my story and passionate interest in studying abroad–I offered sponsorship packages. Ideas like wearing official company apparel in photos when we visited certain sites, presenting to applicable leadership upon my return, etc. I was an enterprising little being. While I didn’t get enough together in time, it was my first sign.
Skip forward a few years into 8th grade. I was taking my high school qualification tests and there was a section where you needed to share what you’d like to do in the future. I was in private school and we had these sort of assessments often.
Reading, grammar and verbal communication were always my strongest areas of interest. I remember this diagram with different academic focuses. I was still determined to go into the film industry, so I kept putting it down. The areas I kept getting recommended? Journalism and advertising.
Freshman year of college. Second semester’s approaching fast. Based on a few conversions and professors hearing more about my goals, my major is addressed. At the time I was an Accounting major and Theatre minor.
Why this focus if film school is the plan post-graduation? Well, I want to become a producer eventually. That role entails a balance between business sense and creativity. I figure, get the accounting down pat and when I’m on set making sure we’re adhering to the budget, I can have a little more of a leaning to the creative aspects.
Have you thought about Communication? There are some solid similarities there as well and you can still take business courses? I…never thought about that. You see, the idea of changing my majors and loosing credits wasn’t acceptable. Four years was the absolute longest I was willing to spend on an undergraduate degree.
But that conversation really made me think. Suddenly, my 10-year plan didn’t seem so proper anymore. I’m so busy with the end result…I hadn’t considered that there was more that one way to get there. I change my major AND my minor…while still graduating on time and with extra credits.
I start using Myspace to promote bands. The bands I work with end up in major school projects–including a student commercial for the University and my senior Communication case study. I’m asked if I’m getting paid for all this work. I lie and say yes.
It wasn’t about the money. I had just discovered my passion in the world. The fact that people are letting me market them Stateside, with just a few conversations and a lot of trust–the experience is all the currency I needed. I’m getting interviewed by multiple media sources and I’m not quite sure why. Is it really that unusual?
The marketing internship. I pitched my interest in the opportunity after the director spoke at my college. Her passion for the arts mimicked what was in my heart. We were on the same wave length. A panel interview with the heads of every department. A blush covering my face as she has me retell my story of promoting Japanese bands online. No, I don’t speak the language.
It’s fun. I like bringing attention to the other creatives in the world we’ve somehow missed in the US. I find myself suddenly maintaining and creating social media profiles for an Arts Center. I get to help the webmaster with small updates on the backend. This is what a website looks like on the other side? Fascinating…
Just a short while later I’m giving the board of directors a presentation on my contributions during the summer. Stats on the increase in the digital presence and what I think it will take for them to continue and exceed my work.
Family and friends keep hearing me discuss the bands. My crazy week in Sweden. The clothing sketches I used to create in college as classmates talked about dances and my curiosity of fashion design. The commissions–paid by food, movie tickets and the occasional cash–begin.
Everyone’s picking my brain on how I “got into social media marketing”. But I couldn’t get anyone to understand I hadn’t searched any of it out. I was just living my life and going after the opportunities that gave me the most interest. A random Myspace follower wrote me a comment that brought me to tears. “You aren’t afraid to be yourself and go after what you want.”
If only she had seen the years of pain woven into this early journey of my life…Was it truly how I came across to everyone? It’s hard to process. Just focus on the people on promoting. That’s what I’m here for. It’s not about me. That’s what I love most about marketing. That’s what I was to shout out loud. And yet, I’m still not understanding it.
Marketing is now even a part of my job title. In the midst of all my projects, work and personal, I’m finally taking the breath I deserve. Yes. Marketing is what I was meant to do in this world. It takes many forms as I keep jumping into different opportunities.
There’s nothing wrong with accepting the credit given–when I know it is deserved and stay humble about it. All the clues were there, it just took years for me to change how I observed my life. At it’s most basic level, marketing is about finding the way to give someone else the same spark in your eye about the same subject. Some say it’s an art. Some say it’s a science. To me? It’s a lifestyle.