My experience in marketing isn’t typical. Now that I think about it, my education, as well as a career path, have been anything but typical. I switched majors seven times in college. That’s right – seven. I lost track of my credit hours after they exceeded 160. After earning my BA in Communications, I didn’t visit the “Accounts Tab” on my University’s website due to the nauseating feeling in my gut, resulting from the flood of “I can’t believe I wasted all of this money” mental sewage being sent throughout my brain. As a Freshman, my major was “Undecided;” I later test drove International Studies, Education, English, German, and Public Relations to no avail. In my mind, it all equaled up to a big, fat, useless waste of money.
That is until I began working in “the real world.”
Marketing is a career where one wears many hats – the more hats you wear, the stronger candidate you are for a career in marketing or a related communications field. Surprisingly, another hat I acquired over the years was makeup artistry. I started a small business, and this is when I really got to “know” marketing – and was finally able to look at the accounts page with less disdain.
The makeup artistry business in areas that don’t have a fashion industry vastly varies from markets such as New York or California. Most makeup artists’ bread and butter for small markets consist of Bridal work. This means on-location artistry. On top of the small market being unique (I’ll just keep the term polite for now), the competition is fierce. The only way to succeed in my type of market is to live, breathe, and eat marketing.
I began creating a business plan and designing a website (I forgot to mention earlier that after my BA I went back to school for Computer Graphics Technology). I researched my market and wrote, edited, and published all of my web and print copy. I designed a logo and business card and incorporated myself. The next steps were setting up and updating social media pages. I recorded makeup videos and tutorials for my Youtube page. I added tabs on my business Facebook page and ran contests. The most time-consuming aspects of marketing my business had to do with creating literature for media packets, and continuously designing fresh, contemporary print and web designs.
One of the most important aspects of marketing for my business was making sure everything was optimized. SEO is just going to get more and more important. I made sure to optimize all photos and graphics by including vital metadata before publishing. Tagging falls in this category as well. Very often a blog post will come up earlier in searches than its originating website’s homepage. When discussing my Marketing ideas with people in the fashion industry, many of them look at me puzzled: “So are you a Makeup Artist? A Graphic Designer? A Copywriter?” My reply, “Yes. I’m an Artist and Market-ista.”
My advice to college students and recent graduates is to use the tools you deemed as “useless” in your Undergrad years; you never know when that random, money-pit-of-a-class class can put you a cut above the rest in the real world. Best of luck to everyone in the communications field.
And to you artists: switching over to the “dark” (corporate) side is not always a bad thing!