It's Not Business as Usual: New and Emerging Careers in Marketing, Finance, and Management

By Miller, April | Techniques, November-December 2010 | Go to article overview

It's Not Business as Usual: New and Emerging Careers in Marketing, Finance, and Management


Miller, April, Techniques


Recently, while watching a minor-league baseball game, I overheard two men behind me having a lengthy conversation about e-readers. I had never given Kindles, Nooks, or even iPads much thought, so I was blown away by how much the men had to say about them. It was a rather surreal experience because not long ago, few people had ever heard the word "e-reader." Whoever is responsible for creating e-reader technology must be a genius, but there are others whom we should thank for getting e-readers in our hands. Who are those people? Marketers, managers, and finance professionals--unsung heroes from the business world.

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The changes of the 2000s go far beyond the e-reader. It was a decade of extremes, including meteoric growth as well as tumultuous decline. During those monumental 10 years, we witnessed the birth of the iPod, the evolution of social media networks, and an increased focus on business efficiency. In those same years, however, we also saw rampant fraud, the collapse of many of the nation's largest corporations, and economic crises.

Professional, personal and financial lives were irreversibly altered in the face of massive change, Technology advanced, government regulations multiplied, and the focus of business shifted. Out of these changes, new career opportunities in marketing, finance, and management emerged: positions as social media marketers, financial examiners, and project managers.

Social Media Marketers: Creating a Community of Followers

A few years ago, social media networks were nonexistent. Today, though, more than 200 different social media sites exist, and they are a part of everyday life for legions of people around the world. Facebook alone has more than 500 million registered users--more than the populations of the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Central America combined. To capitalize on the huge followings of Facebook, Twitter, and other social media networks, businesses of all shapes and sizes are bringing in social media experts to create a corporate presence online. This group of young, Web-savvy social media specialists is responsible for doing much more than simply posting company marketing materials on social media sites, though. They also work to build online buzz for their employers' brands. They interact with people on a daily basis to build a virtual community of potential and current customers, generate conversations within this community, and monitor these conversations to determine their markets' attitudes about different brands.

Just as importantly, these social media marketers make it possible for customers, both present and potential, to interact with products being promoted on these sites, thus building brand loyalty. Consequently, social media marketing--featuring brands as diverse as Wendy's bacon cheeseburgers and CBS news--has become an ubiquitous facet of American culture. Although most small businesses employ only one or two social media specialists, many larger companies are developing social media marketing departments. The manager of such a department is typically a social media strategist responsible for creating and measuring the success of social media marketing campaigns.

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Another senior-level position within the department is the community manager. A company's community manager oversees corporate blogs and forums, conducts outreach activities to attract customers to the company Web site and social media pages, and nurtures relationships with and among the company's online community of flowers. And, for marketers who have a knack for writing, corporate blogger positions abound. These individuals compose and post short articles (blogs) to Twitter and other social media sites. These blog entries may not always directly relate to a particular brand, but they often contain links to other Web sites where consumers can find out more about a company or product. …

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