Wave using all your fingers and other lessons for your first 90 days in marketing

I’m not sure when the clock started for the first 90 days of my marketing career. Did it start when I did my first freelance illustration? When I got my first job in advertising (which was actually in sales) or web design or demand generation? Perhaps it started long before I even learned to draw, when I was a kid sweeping the floors for my father’s business.

Though those careers were quite different, I think they also had some common threads that you can use as you begin your career, or as you begin your next first 90 days.

1. Behave like your name is on the door

My dad would tell me to behave like my name was on the door, because it literally was on the door, and it was his name too. It meant being polite, doing quality work, and making sure the customer was satisfied. It also meant not giving other drivers the finger when driving the company van – I guess some lessons just have to be learned. Today, we’d use some flowery marketing-speak about being a brand ambassador or embracing company values. It’s the same concept, wave using all your fingers.

2. Measure twice, cut once

It’s good advice if you’re a carpenter and don’t want to waste materials, but it is even better advice if you’re a marketer and don’t want to waste time – whether it’s yours or someone else’s.

Planning is critical to any project and it is also the best time to ask any question. Ask, ask, ask! No real marketing leader will mind a lot of questions, and in fact they will welcome it, and if you’re not sure you understood the answer, ask again to be sure. A few more minutes now will save hours or possibly days if you head in the wrong direction on an assignment.

3. Don’t take it personally

The most important benefit of going to college for design was the process of “Critique”. It’s a process that puts your work in front of the professor and the whole class for comments and criticism. Most of my fellow students dreaded critique and depending on the class it could be brutal. There was a rule, however, that your feedback had to include both positive and negative aspects in order to be constructive. Needless to say, there’s no rule like that in business AND you are the only person who has their work on the wall. There is also a lot of money at stake, and that money is not yours.

It’s important to be passionate about your work and to be able to articulate your thought process. Often an explanation about why you did this or that can help someone see a perspective they did not perhaps think of. Sometimes, unfortunately, the answer is still no. Don’t get upset about it, regardless of how it was communicated. Accept the feedback and challenge yourself to take it to the next level. This will probably take some practice.

Follow #First90Days  on Twitter for more great tips. This blog was written as part of Avention’s 'My First 90 Days in Marketing' blog series, which can also be viewed at www.avention.com/blog.