December 17, 2015
On Christmas morning, my dad sat down at our kitchen table while I was eating breakfast and said, “So Maggie, explain to me what it is you do all day.”
People ask me what I do for a living quite often. Usually, I rightly assume they don’t want the long version, so I reply, “I work at a marketing agency in the North Loop.” People usually say “cool,” and then we move on.
But what does that even really mean? For many jobs, a title or industry is pretty self-explanatory. For example, my mom is a teacher and my dad is a banker. I also have friends who are lawyers and software developers. Most people can reasonably guess what their day-to-day life is like. If I were to poll five of my closest friends, I’m fairly certain that exactly one of them would have even the slightest clue how to answer the question my dad asked me on Christmas morning.
Marketing is a very broad term, and can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. So, I asked a few people I know to describe what they think I do for a living. These were their replies:
“You are a media-relations expert and keep up to date on all forms of media to help your clients. You also work to obtain free publicity for your clients through the media and with the use of people like movie stars or musicians.” – My mom
“You work with a team on a particular client and come up with an advertising campaign for them. Once you come up with the campaign you follow through on executing the campaign, which includes getting ads and promotions made for the clients and monitoring those ads and promotions to see if they were effective.” – My dad
“You spend most of your day juggling emails, phone calls, press releases, events and other tasks. When you’re not doing that, you’re propping up the area coffee and cocktail economies. You claim this is a necessity in your industry, but I think that part is more selfish in nature.” – My boyfriend (for now)
– People I know from Twitter (Side note: I did almost run that guy over in the entrance of a Barnes & Noble while looking for the most recent issue of Minneapolis-St. Paul Magazine to give a client. My job is weird sometimes)
So, apparently my mom thinks I’m a publicist, my dad thinks I work in advertising and I’m fairly certain most everyone on the internet probably agrees with Mr. Weinandt.
Who is right? Well, kind of everyone.
What I love most about working at Fast Horse (or “in marketing”) is that every day I am doing something different. When my dad asked me what it is I do every day, he got a very long, drawn-out answer: Some days I do research or creative work, and other days I am helping a client make sure an event runs smoothly. Often times I’m writing press releases or sending emails or shipping boxes (glamorous, I know). Sometimes I’m even creating legal contracts and managing relationships with bloggers and Snapchat stars — yes, that is a thing now. I’m even getting pretty good at creating equations in Excel documents, something I definitely did not go to school to learn.
I feel very lucky to work in an industry with such a broad definition. Half of the time I’m doing something I have never done before, and I have to just figure it out along the way. It often means some early mornings and late evenings, but having a job that changes from day to day, and often even hour to hour, is something that many people don’t get to experience. That’s really what makes it so difficult to explain what it is I do every day — most of the time I don’t even know until I get to work. I think that’s pretty cool.
I do also have a bit of an online shopping habit, and I buy too many expensive coffees and cocktails. But to be fair, I work in the North Loop, so all of that is basically required.
So, in conclusion, if anyone ever tells you “I work in marketing,” you might just want to say “cool,” unless, of course, you have a lot of time to kill.