Not so long ago, people were expected to find a job and stick with it until retirement. It’s safe to say that those days are well and truly behind us. Recent statistics show that today’s professionals are changing their careers an average of 5-7 times throughout their working lives.

And with the rise of so many new tech solutions, it comes as no surprise that marketing is a popular choice for those in search of a career pivot.

If you’ve considered changing your career path to marketing, you may be wondering what it takes to find success in the field. Do you have the skills and know-how needed to plan impactful marketing campaigns? Or do you need a little boost, some additional education? It also goes without saying that marketing has a huge emotional element . . . What are the soft skills that will help you to excel?

John Flanagan, a lecturer of marketing at GLOBIS University, shares his insights into the marketing industry and discusses what steps you should take if you’re looking to pivot your career into marketing.

“Marketing is both an art and a science.”

John Flanagan


John Flanagan:

If you want to change your career to marketing, go to GLOBIS and get an MBA. [laughs]

No, first of all, you need to learn marketing, and if you haven’t had exposure to it, obviously getting an MBA and focusing on a lot of different marketing courses will help you.

Marketing is both an art and a science. Of course the science part is about being able to go through data and find important facts or trends that will help you understand the market better, understand the consumer better, and understand where the gaps are that you can fill and create value that wasn’t there in the past.

But the overall marketing function is also about the art side. So the art side is really [about], “How do we move the consumer’s heart? How do we motivate them to take certain action?” [You could be] talking about an image, or it could be a video, or it could be just some text. So how? In this very small part of something that you create that’s part of something the consumer’s watching or doing. It’s not part of their routine. They’re not looking for this. How do you get this message [to stand] out and resonate with the consumer [so that they eventually] take some action that you want them to take.

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That’s the key for marketing. And so to do that, you have to have an innate understanding of human behavior. I mean, you could take psychology classes, but basically you have to . . . like people and work with people and understand human behavior through that perspective. But you also have to understand what kind of materials—creative materials, or text, or whatever—will appeal to the consumer. And of course, understanding human behavior is important to that.

Empathy is very, very important in marketing. So the skill of being able to understand the consumer and their emotions is very, very important. But understanding not only that, but [them]. How do you influence them? That’s the other side of it. Simply understanding their emotions is one thing, but then how do you influence those emotions?

You have to have experience to really become a great marketer. So find a job that’s going to give you some marketing experience, and then your successes will lead on to greater and greater responsibility in marketing. Focus on learning, and then getting experience, and then succeeding as you’re doing the jobs. That will lead to ultimate career success.

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