Own Your Past

Our past experiences teach us more than we think and instead of hiding, we should embrace them. Appreciating this all comes down to a matter of perspective.

As I’ve previously mentioned, some of the self-professed ‘experts’ in a field have little more than a couple years experience, repeated over and over. There are certainly valuable perspectives and insights you can provide an organisation, even if you are coming from a different industry or skill-set. You will approach and see problems differently, often with a refreshing, new lens.

Let me share a personal example with you. Coming from a health-background I would often need to determine the root cause of lower back pain. This would involve detailed questioning and examination to rule out the plethora of potential causes. Did the client recently increase training load at the gym too quickly? Is there a pre-existing injury which has led to over-compensation of certain muslces putting strain on the lower back? Is the client not lifting with correct alignment? Lacks flexibility through the spine?

I THEN marry up the interviewing questions with my examination findings to arrive at a provisional diagnosis, or what I believe is the root cause of the issue.

Now putting on my marketing hat – say I am diagnosing why the conversion rate to a product might have dropped 3% through a channel. First off, I would delve through the data (like my physical examination), to arrive at a core issue (diagnosis) that is likely causing the reduction in conversion. Was it because on that particular day when the decline started, our dev team made an update to the website? A new competitor cut their costs? Changes were made to the check-out process?  (NB – on that note, you can see that issues will arise if you implement too many changes at once! – it becomes difficult to diagnose the problem). Can you see the stark similarities in the above situations?

I could have easily occluded my past as a health-professional, but I truly believe what I learnt in my respective years working in health made me a better marketer (empathy, running experiments, the list goes on!).

Based on this, you can really see how transferable the skills can be across industries. As long as the mindset and willingness to achieve is there, the tools (e.g. Mixpanel/Google Analytics) and skills can be easily acquired through practice.

This is why it’s important you own and don’t downplay your past experiences. Re-framing them in this way can will make you more desirable.

Author: Allan Manuel

Allan is a Digital Marketing Consultant who specialises in startups and also happens to be passionate about helping others find meaningful work. Allan is CMO of Topme — a prepaid mobile top-up platform that gives consumers the power to leverage their social data for rewards. Get in touch with Allan here.

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