Office of Continuing Education

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Christa Sterling

October 24th, 2016

Kim Phillips provides strategic marketing and creative services for clients in a broad range of industries and in the nonprofit field. She is a marketing consultant for the marketing firm Tiny Creative House, formerly Lucid Marketing.

You’ve got over 30 years of experience in sales, advertising, and marketing. Did you set out to get involved in marketing, initially, or is that something that you ended up falling into?

I had a general liberal arts education and was fortunate to have some early managers who steered me toward marketing (advertising and public relations, specifically) and I grew into the role as the company grew from a small regional bank to a major financial institution.

How prevalent was sales and marketing when you were first getting started? Was it hard to break into the field, initially?

Marketing wasn’t a widely respected field and still isn’t, in my experience. Sales, on the other hand, is respected so long as the salesperson produces.

You help your clients achieve their goals using strategic, creative, and expertly executed marketing communications. How can some sort of official marketing education help a marketer focus their marketing strategies?

Training for marketing in a specific field helps, as well as a general marketing or marketing communications degree. Seminars and workshops on specialized topics like branding, SEO, etc., where the learning is very concentrated, can be immensely useful.

You offer the expertise of a full marketing agency, but at a fraction of a price. How can getting trained as a marketer help an independent marketing consultant compete against the majors?

In my corporate role, I had experience managing large campaigns with multiple agencies over a wide geographic area. When I became a consultant, I began using that experience t provide top-quality marketing services to companies that couldn’t normally afford that kind of help.

The U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics predicted that the number of adults aged 35 or older continuing their education would rise by up to 7% a year, until the end of 2016. Why are so many adults pursuing continued education, do you think?

It’s really necessary to remain employable. The technology of marketing changes so fast that it’s a challenge for anyone, of any age, to stay on top of it. Companies don’t tend to believe that workers over 35 can keep up.

How can continuing education in marketing and sales help someone break out of a dead-end career?

If that person isn’t already in marketing, it may make sense to pick something to specialize in, rather than trying to get a general marketing degree. For example, perhaps become an SEO expert if numbers is your thing. For sales, if you can hustle, you can succeed.

Marketers have more resources available them than ever before, but it’s a lot to keep up with. How can going back to school help marketers, new and old, learn the newest marketing technology?

School isn’t usually where the most recent developments are learned. If the person doesn’t work for a company willing to invest in seminars and other concentrated learning, they may have to go it alone.

What are some ways that continuing education be good for a marketer’s career, as well as their intellect?

More (or different) education could help a person discover that marketing isn’t their thing at all. Or, it could re-energize them and steer them into a specific area of expertise. It’s much harder to be a generalist today.

What are some areas of marketing that are going to continue to be important, do you think? Which of these trends might be difficult to learn on one’s own?

SEO or something like it, and other targeted means of sales yet to be developed, mobile platforms, soft marketing embedded in “the internet of things,” any ways of marketing that use technology to target consumers more closely and give them what they want. If done correctly and seamlessly, “advertising” would no longer be considered an intrusion.

Degrees and certifications are great, but it’s mostly about the CV and portfolio for marketers, at the end of the day. How might someone use going back to school as a way to build up their portfolio? What are some ways a marketer could showcase their new skills and work to find new clients and leads?

I like the idea of doing pro-bono projects for local nonprofits. They can use the help, and it gets a marketer out of a run. Having said that, the volunteer marketer should be highly conscious of the nonprofit organization’s brand, mission and history, doing good work without reinventing the wheel. Lastly, I would advise anyone building a portfolio to include information on results.

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