Are you about to graduate and facing the “What’s next?” question? Or have you already started your career but find yourself at a crossroads of continuing with what is familiar or trying something new? Whoever you are, it might not feel like it right now, but from my perspective you’re in the best place with nothing to lose and everything to gain. And I have one piece of advice: take a chance on the unknown.
When I began a Functional Trainee Program at adidas I had the choice to work within product marketing or digital brand commerce. While I had a solid foundation in marketing from a prior internship, digital brand commerce was a giant question mark. Sure, the word digital is everywhere and a hot topic within every industry. But what actually is it?
Digital commerce in a nutshell
Let’s put it this way. Historically, consumer contact was very planned and involved a direct visit to a brick-and-mortar shop with window displays, dressing rooms, sales teams and cash registers to make a final purchase; time-consuming and generic. Today, companies and consumers are in constant contact with varied and dynamic touchpoints via the digital experience, be it a quick glance at a phone, from home on a computer or on a tablet while in transit. And the experience is highly personalized, thanks to digital experts like, well, me. Though, at the time when I chose the path of digital rather than the familiar one of product marketing, I was anything but an expert and actually I’m still learning each day.
Removing misconceptions reaps rewards
I have always been interested in media, communications, marketing and a good cup of coffee. Talking about digital used to mean simply being an enthusiastic user of all lifestyle gadgets like smartphones or catchy applications. I never learned how to code nor how to change a light bulb. So why would I choose a traineeship in a digital field? The digital world is run by super-smart, nerdy science and engineering people with complicated software, right?
Nope, not really. Well not completely. I do run reports on analytical tools but, actually that’s the exciting part. Prior to taking this leap into the digital world I had never even heard the names of programs and processes, much less did I know their capabilities and how to interpret their results. That’s what’s made this such a rewarding experience. I‘ve extended my capabilities and can now take data that fascinates digital experts and filter it with my marketing mindset to create a storyline.
Unlocking secrets in a Generation Y world
My curiosity and eagerness to dive into unexplored territory led to my taking the chance on the digital brand traineeship…and I haven’t been disappointed. For a Generation Y like me, it’s like finding the keys that unlock the secrets of the world I’ve grown up around. I’m learning about and working with the different analytic tools within MicroStrategy, Google and Adobe. I’m becoming familiar with our digital project management tool Confluence and discovering how to ensure a campaign correctly goes live on digital platforms like our ecom shop or social. Most importantly, I now see digital as a creative collective where I can be a key contributor rather than an outsider.
Working in a digital area doesn’t mean you need to have a computer science degree or be a hardware engineer. After all, tech is only one part of the puzzle. The other pieces are solution-oriented thinking, drive and creativity.