a Marketing Professional” (March 2012 interview of Steve Beren by Kayti Edwards)
Education Group http://www.sreducationgroup.org/
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Beren is a marketing consultant in Seattle, Washington. He has worked in the marketing field since 2003,
and opened One Spark Marketing in 2010. Prior to his firm’s inception, he
worked in operations for the internet marketing company Shoplocal.com, where he
honed his marketing skills. Steve specializes in internet marketing, publicity,
social media and political campaigning.
Why did you decide to go into marketing?
I never really decided to go into marketing. I started out as a manager at Shoplocal.com,
an internet marketing company. I was primarily responsible for organization and
operations. I spent more than five years there, acquiring knowledge about
marketing. After the economic downturn, Shoplocal.com closed their Seattle office, and I found myself managing the Facebook
and Twitter accounts of local businesses. Then that kind of expanded into
political consulting and client service consulting all within the framework of
social media and internet marketing.
What is marketing?
Marketing is selling, persuasion, and publicity. To sell something, you have to
make the public aware of it, which is publicity, and then you have to persuade.
People won't know if it is a good product until they have tried it, but a
marketing professional has to show that it is likely to be a good product or
service. Marketing is publicizing plus persuasion.
Are there common misconceptions about your profession?
Some common misconceptions are that marketing professionals are all
millionaires, or that marketing is easy to do. However, marketing is very
complex and very hard. I will recommend it to people who want to really work
hard and constantly be challenged.
What is a typical day like for you?
A typical day is to get up in the morning and maybe check my e-mail and see millions
of questions, concerns, problems and new opportunities. Then I head to the
office, where I work with one of my main clients. Throughout the whole day, I
receive a large number of phone calls, text messages, instant messages,
e-mails, complaints, requests, disappointments, excitements and compliments. Even when I get home, there is pressure to
take a look at my e-mail, and there is always more work than can be done in a
What are your favorite aspects of your job?
It is exciting to accomplish things. It is enjoyable to actually do what people
want. I don't want to try to convince someone of what they should be doing; I
try to find out what they want to do, what their product or service is, and I
help them publicize it." If that
can be accomplished, if they get more customers and they are happy, then I know
I have done what they want. Also, the technology is always changing. What
someone can do now on their iPhone, home computer, or laptop you had to call in
an expert and pay them a lot of money to do four or five years ago. So, keeping
up with technology is very important.
What are your least favorite aspects of your job?
It is challenging because sometimes 17 things will be happening at once, but I
might only be able to do 14 of them and disappoint three people.
What personality traits do you think would help someone to be successful in the
Some traits that would help someone to be successful in this field are confidence
and not taking things personally. It would also be helpful to have a great
ability to focus, because you will be pulled in so many different directions. This
job requires doing many things at once.
What personality traits do you think might hinder somebody’s success in
If somebody lacks empathy he or she is not suited to a career in marketing. Additionally,
sloppiness and a lack of dependability would hinder someone’s success in
Are there some fields of marketing that people might not be aware of?
Now there are a million subfields. There is video, there is audio, there is
blogging, there is TV, radio and so many interactions between. There are
innumerable and constantly evolving subfields.
What advice would you give to a student who is considering studying to go into
If you are considering a career in general marketing, I would suggest that you
take every business course and ethics course that you can.
should also learn about different industries and work a lot of jobs. If you
have worked in a restaurant as a waiter, ten years later you will have some
idea of how to market a restaurant. Don’t be afraid of work and with any job
you have, take it as a learning opportunity. If you are going into internet
marketing, learn all the technology you can. In addition, don’t expect to get
rich quick. Expect to work hard and enjoy it.