As marketing professionals, we watch our industry go through changes very rapidly. With new technological advances, certain processes and tactics we practice become outdated or can be done in an easier and more effective way. As the upcoming generation streams into the workplace, it is up to us as professionals to teach them the knowledge we have attained through our experience, but also to learn from them.
I currently teach a class at University of North Carolina Wilmington, called Strategic Writing for Integrated Marketing Communication. This amazing opportunity appeared at a networking event and I jumped at the chance since I enjoyed working with students during my time as a graduate student. I graduated from my program four and a half years ago and even in that short time period, it’s mind boggling to me how times have changed.
Below I will share a few reasons why and how we should educate the next generation.
1. Understand and accept the new norm.
The different pillars of marketing including public relations, advertising, design, etc. have been taught independently. Now, most universities are teaching a curriculum surrounding “integrated marketing communication”. Why you may ask? Well to us in the industry, this is a no brainer, even if most of us did study a particular field while in school. While we still use each pillar, they have grown collectively and intertwine at almost every level of a campaign. Students are learning multiple skills instead of focusing on just one aspect, creating a more open-minded and talented individual.
2. Share your knowledge.
Teaching or mentoring future marketing professionals is a way to take what you do every single day and apply it to lessons, showing them that what they are learning is actually important. Using examples of what you do every day for your organization personalizes what they are learning in a classroom setting.
3. Enhance your own skills.
Public speaking and sharing your ideas in front of an audience can seem daunting and it takes practice. What better way to practice than by talking about what you know best? This also builds confidence that you can take back to your organization in meetings and presentations.
4. Learn new ways of thinking.
Each class I always learn something from my students. No one person knows everything, and if you continue to have a positive attitude towards growing your skills and learning new things, this will benefit you in your own job. The perspective that students share can hold a new light to an issue you have never even thought of before.
How do I get involved?
You may not be able to teach a class, but there are many ways to get involved and interact with upcoming professionals. My colleague is involved in our local PRSA chapter and sits on multiple panels a year while offering her advice to college students and even brings them into the office to get a feel of a professional workplace. If you do have a college or university near your organization, see if they need guest speakers in a class or mentors for a program. There are a number of opportunities to share your experience and while you do, maybe learn something new!