Why Am I In Marketing? How About You?

Ian Lurie

[warning – navel gazing ahead]
Why the hell am I in marketing?
When I started college, my plan was to do ROTC and become a pilot.
Then I because a History major and decided to go to law school so I could Save The World.
Then I graduated from Law School and realized I’d be one of the worst lawyers in history.
After a few more years of drifting about, I landed first in copywriting, then in marketing copywriting, then in marketing. Then the internet turned out not to be a fad, and here I am.
So I’m not saving the world. The economy is crashing, the world’s screwed up, and I’m helping people decide what to buy. I have a receding hairline, a suburban house, a family car and 10 extra pounds. I’m a sellout! Augh!!!!
Or am I?
Good marketing helps people make the right choice when they’re deciding on everything from toilet paper to their next President. I work to market products I like and support, and causes I can get behind. You do, too. If you help one of those products succeed, you’re making the world a tad better.
Or, you can just hawk whatever comes your way, collect your check, and go home.
Why did you go into marketing?

Ian Lurie
CEO & Founder

Ian Lurie is CEO and founder of Portent and the EVP of Marketing Services at Clearlink. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (25 years, if you're counting). He's recorded training for Lynda.com, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Follow him on Twitter at portentint, and on LinkedIn at LinkedIn.com/in/ianlurie.

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  1. I fell into marketing after learning, seat of my pants, a bunch of marketing skills at one of my early jobs.
    I resisted it at first. I was trained as a lawyer and had never considered marketing even remotely as a career… and yet my phone kept ringing with marketing related problems that I was able to help solve.
    Done well it is an honorable profession like no other. To constantly hold a conversation with a very public audience, whether on my own or on behalf of a client – it’s wonderful. And it makes for a short feedback loop.
    I’m thinking of getting a “Trust Me … I’m in marketing” T-Shirt made, but not as a joke. I feel strongly that way. After all, what’s more honest than listening to customers?

  2. I’ve always had an interest in advertising, and thought it was cool growing up and watching movies or TV shows that took place in advertising agencies. Sounds strange, I know – but trust me when I say I’ve spoken to other marketers who told me they were similarly influenced. 🙂
    I started out in college as a music education major (I was a choir geek in high school and wanted to be a choir director). After a couple of years, I wanted to switch my major to music marketing (my university had such a program); but I flunked out of my voice juries (final exam for singing). So, I switched my major to communications.
    My first marketing job was with a tiny dot.com startup in 1999. That’s pretty much where it all began – the rest is history. From music education to online marketing in the space of 13 years – I like to say that the Internet has been good to me. I love what I do, and I love that this industry is constantly evolving. I also agree with Clark about conversing with customers – that’s what’s great about social media marketing. And I find that I have as much passion for this as I did for singing.

  3. My story began much the same as Clark’s. I never intended to go into marketing, but through a series of circumstances I began working for a company that needed an internet marketer. I took up the challenge and internet marketing became something I was strangely good at. I’m still new to IM in may ways, but I’m firguing it out thanks to articles and blogs like this one!

  4. 14 years and I was building these illegal warez sites (downloadable games, applications etc.). Me and my ‘partner’ forced people to click our sponsor banner to enter the site. At such a young age and making about $1000 / month was a big deal for us! (we spend it on booze and cigarettes haha)…
    Later on (age 20) I started a online clothing company and now 2 years later I’m the director of marketing for a web hosting company (while still doing entreprenuering on the side)…
    That’s my story 🙂

  5. As I ventured into the wide world with my various hobbies, I ended up learning marketing from the ground up. It does very little for one’s interests if no one else is interested. Marketing is the natural result of the business need to communicate and spread an original idea.

  6. In college, I majored in advertising because I liked the creativity involved. I loved it. When I graduated, I went to work for a small communications company that was just venturing into Web site development. One of our biggest clients was the Broadway Series. I’m a little embarrassed to say that we used Microsoft Publisher to build and manage their Web site. At that point, I got involved in Web site development/Internet Marketing and have never looked back. I love what I do.
    BTW – I enjoyed the great analytics Webinar the other day!

  7. I wanted to be the PR rep for a big company until I realized I suck at lying. Like most people I fell into internet marketing and was originally stuck “hawking whatever came my way, collecting my check, and going home”. Good thing you can change jobs 🙂

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