Category Archives: jobs

Career Advice: Ignore Everything Everyone Ever Told You

On test one, I gave the example of Gary Vaynerchuk as an example of a sensor in regard to personality types.  Gary is an industry leader and thought leader because he hustles and is not afraid to say what he believes.

gary-vaynerchukAs a college student nearing the end of your college career, you have probably received a ton of advice – from your parents, teachers, advisers, etc.  Gary’s advice is to ignore a lot of the advice you have received.  In his speech to NYC interns, he delivers a 20 minute career presentation that probably is unlike any advice you have ever been given.  Take a look at the video, and ask yourself a few questions:

1. Do you agree with Gary’s advice and positioning for soon to be graduates?

2. Do you think you have been given bad advice in the past in regard to your career and your future?

3. Did the video change the way you think about your future career and goals?  Why?

4. What are your career goals?  What do you want to achieve in the next 3-4 years?

Leave comments below and we can discuss next class.

Chris Lovett


BMGT 411: Assignment #1

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JC Penney has been in the news of late.  In the last few years, their STS (Same Store Sales) have declined at an alarming rate as has their profit.  They hired a new CEO only to remove him after poor performance.  Here are just some of the things that happened at JC Penney over the last few years:

– STS Dropped 25% in 2012 (First Year of Ron Johnson at CEO)

– Laid off 20,000 workers, in stores and at corporate

– Is in a lawsuit with Macy’s over a Martha Stewart exclusive agreement

– The stock continues to hit new lows, now trading near $12 a share

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Find an article that talks a little about what happened at JC Penney?  What would your recommendations be to have prevented this?  What in regard to marketing strategy could have JC Penney done to do this differently?  Do you think JC Penney will survive?

Post your comments below and link to the source of the article.

Chris Lovett




The Formula for Successful Marketing Career

I still remember one of my past interns asking me this question back at a previous job.  She was driven, and wanted to succeed in marketing, and asked me if I had any tips for her.

She noted that she already talked to multiple people, and was not sure on which career path to take to be a successful marketer.  I will give you the same advice that I gave her a few years back.

  1. There is no path.  Gone are the days where you work for one company and climb the corporate ladder directly up.  If you talk to 100 successful people in marketing, they will all tell you a different story, and how they got there.  There is no “one path” to becoming successful in marketing.  To become successful, you have to make your own path.  You define success, and being successful can mean a million things.  Figure out what you want to do, and find a way for you to get there.
  2. Over Deliver.  Always.  On every project, give everything you can to it.  Don’t just skate by and deliver what is asked for.  The key to being successful in marketing at any level is adding value.  Anyone can deliver a project – you have to make it special to stand out.
  3. Never stop learning.  Never.  Marketing is a hyper competitive field, and you will need to stay at the top of your game to continue to grow in your career.  Think about 5 years ago – where the smartphone did not exist, and tablets were not mainstream. Now think about today, where social media and mobile marketing are a great way to reach and engage with customers.  If you stopped learning 5 years ago – you are dead in the water today.
  4. Try new things – even if you think you will fail.  Sometimes to move up, you have to move sideways, or even backwards.  Having a well-rounded background is a key to growing in marketing, so be sure that your skills are always up to date by trying new things.  Volunteer for side projects.  Take classes on the side.  Don’t fall behind, because there are a million people waiting to jump ahead of you.
  5. Don’t focus on job titles or money.  Job titles and money will come with time – but you have to earn it.  One thing you will find about successful people in marketing is they worked hard and paid their dues to get where they are at.  You will get there someday, be patient and humble.  Good things come to those who work hard and are dedicated.

Lastly – if you say you are going to do something do it.  It seems simple, but make that a goal of yours in your personal and professional lives.  If you say you are going to call, call.  If you promise a project on a date, deliver that project.  Always follow through.

So those are my tips – but I figured you might enjoy some tips from folks I admire in the field.  I have asked some of my friends in the biz to share their tips with you, and they are below.  Great advice from great hard-working people.  Another great tip in marketing is learning from others, and the folks below share some great advice on being successful in marketing, and how they got to where they are at.

Name: Angela Ferguson

Education: Bachelors in Communications & Rhetoric/Certificate of Professional Writing from University of Pittsburgh; MBA with concentration in Management from Point Park University

Internships: American Red Cross Southwestern PA Chapter, Marketing Communications Intern and Disaster Public Affairs Volunteer; Big Science Sound Studio Public Relations Intern

Current Role: Assistant Marketing Manager, Market District Format, Giant Eagle, Inc. Responsibilities include managing multi-million dollar marketing budget; communicating to customers through print, broadcast and digital media, direct mail, street teams and outdoor placement; creating a food experience by coordinating monthly large-scale, multi-store sampling events and guest chef appearances

What most excites you about what you do? First, I get to talk about, research and market on-trend foods with a group of people who are passionate about the business. The Market District format is a testing center for new programs with enterprise-wide implications, so creativity is welcomed. The marketing team is lean and therefore every day is busy and unpredictable. Also, the work is active and dynamic, involving interaction across teams with merchandising, legal, operations and HR professionals.

What is the best project you ever worked on?  Why? The Grand Opening of the Columbus, OH, Market District location. The store was built from the ground-up at the right size, with the right product mix, in the right market. We introduced the concept to a new market and built brand recognition. We brought in a celebrity host, Adam Richman of Travel Channel’s Man vs. Food, hosted Team Member Friends & Family, neighborhood and VIP open house events and opened to the public with weeks of ongoing activity — all while maintaining our marketing budget…and sanity.

If you could give one tip to a graduating senior looking to get into a marketing related field, what would it be?  Three tips: 1) Do something to differentiate yourself from the student next to you; 2) Don’t burn bridges, even if you think you have a boat. Your network will get you further than any job search website; 3) Be yourself and keep your confidence. Going from upperclassman to rookie is a big adjustment; you’ll have to work hard to prove yourself.

Name: Chris Droesch

Education: B.S. in Management Information Systems, Case Western Reserve University, MBA, Carnegie Mellon University Tepper School of Business

Internships: Nope. I was considering a career in the military and spent the summer between junior/senior year of college training at the Marine Corps Combat Development Command in Quantico, VA

Current Role: I work on an innovative banking experience. My official title is Senior Product Analyst Online. It’s a product management role, which means I work on identifying and implementing new features.

What most excites you about what you do? I love getting to work with teams from different functions: sales, engineering, marketing, and design, just to name a few. Also, there’s no better feeling than hearing a customer tell you that the product you work on changed their life.

If you could give one tip to a graduating senior looking to get into a marketing related field, what would it be?  When I was in college, I was afraid to pursue a career in marketing because I thought that marketing departments were the first to get laid off in bad times. This is simply not true. I also thought marketing was the same thing as “advertising.” There are many aspects to marketing; advertising is only one piece in the marketing puzzle.

Name: Diana Besoiu

Education: Grove City College,B.S. Marketing Management,Minor: Communications

Current Role: Social Media Manager – Manage my organizations social media properties including: content creation, execution, strategy, analytics

What most excites you about what you do?  The ability to think creativity (both proactive and reactive) in a quickly changing space

What is the best project you ever worked on?  Why? Vision casting for enterprise and lines of business. Love the ability to think freely and put all options on the table. It’s always nice to see where things could be, where they could go with the right amount of resources.

If you could give one tip to a graduating senior looking to get into a marketing related field, what would it be?  Educate yourself. Learn real-world advice and keep up to date on ever-changing trends and advancements.

Name: Alexa Davenport

Education: BA (Advertising), Michigan State University

Internships: Michigan Opera Theater, Production Department, Sales Intern at WLAJ/ABC 53 Lansing-Jackson, Delegate, 52nd Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival

Current Role: Assistant Vice President, eMarketing

I manage the onsite advertising on our site as well as the offsite display/mobile/tablet marketing for all lines of business within the bank. Our team works with each line of business to understand their goals for the year, and we collaborate with the ad agency to determine the best strategy to meet and exceed them. We approve media plans and creative and work with internal designers and developers to design and build new site content, landing pages and microsites.

Once a campaign is launched, we monitor performance on a weekly (at minimum) basis and work with the agency to optimize the media and creative. We report back to each line of business on a monthly basis, and help increase the general knowledge of the online space for each of our partners.

I also manage the budget and billing for our department to make sure that (1) we stay under budget, (2) we deliver within our monthly forecast and (3) our bills are paid on time.

What most excites you about what you do?  The online landscape is constantly changing, so (to be completely cliché) every day is new. The tactics and strategies I used at the ad agency 4 years ago are almost obsolete, so we have to stay on our toes to make sure we stay relevant and interesting to our consumers. The work can be stressful, but its nice to push yourself to do things differently and because we work with multiple agencies, it gives me a great opportunity to learn from many different points of view to find the most efficient way to accomplish a project.

What is the best project you ever worked on?  Why? Launching an innovative banking experience in 2008.  I was the digital media planner at my current banks previous agency and it was the first project I really “owned”. My media director had recently left the agency and the bank trusted me to plan and execute the first majority-online launch of what has become the lead product for the bank. Of course I had a ton of help from the offline media director and the account team, but at the digital “expert”, I had the opportunity to lay out the launch strategy, recommend the websites and sponsorships and work with the creative teams to coordinate the messaging.

The launch was a success and probably a big reason why the bank hired me 2 years later.

If you could give one tip to a graduating senior looking to get into a marketing related field, what would it be?  Learn paid search and online marketing in general.  There aren’t many people who are ‘experts’ in search, because it’s so data-driven, but this job will always be in high demand and you can work in any industry as long as you have the basic knowledge.

Also, TV will never go away, and neither will print and radio (to an extent), but advertising spend is quickly and dramatically shifting to online; if you don’t understand the medium and learn to work with the constant flow of information and data, it will be incredibly difficult to adapt.

Name: Maura Pohland

Education: B.A. in English Writing from the University of Pittsburgh (minors in Lit, Children’s Lit, and Psychology)

Internships: I had two, which were absolutely invaluable. Both were through the University of Pittsburgh — one was in the Media Relations office, working mostly on PR-related activities, and the other was in the Career Services office, creating an event series from the ground up that would connect students and professionals to talk about career options.

Current Role: I am a Marketing Specialist on the Advertising and Design Support team. This basically means that I support a team called Affiliation Banking (comprised of University Banking, WorkPlace Banking, Military Banking, and Employee Banking) with marketing across the board — events, advertising, collateral, promotions, social, messaging, etc. I like to say that my role consists of getting the train to the station on time without the wheels falling off — plenty of time management along with adherence to standards such as brand guidelines, customer engagement, relation to business goal, etc. In this role I get to do a little bit of every part of marketing but they are all grounded in project management and creativity.

What most excites you about what you do?  I love that every day is different — one day I’ll be collaborating with WorkPlace Banking on creating a sweepstakes promotion for their on-site tabling events, the next I’ll be working with University Banking on determining what messages resonate with students today, and the next I’ll be brainstorming with the University Access team on what can be created to further build excitement in-branch around the student audience. I also love that I truly believe that these business in particular are destined for great things. I have such a belief in what they can do, and it makes me passionate every day to push a little harder for their success.

What is the best project you ever worked on?  Why? The first is the University Banking 2012 sweepstakes promotion that we created for use at 50 schools at which our bank has an exclusive relationship. To me, promotions are always fun in that we get to play more so than usual with tactics and creative, and namely within this project, we created 50 porcelain piggy banks to be used as tabling enhancements, produced entry forms that had a perforated portion that could be turned into an origami piggy and served as the customer takeaway, and in conjunction with that, created a video that showed a real person making the origami piggy that could be used as instructions. It was a really enjoyable project to work on and bring to life, and we doubled the amount of paper and online entries received. A definite success!

The second project is currently still in the works, but its overall objective is to confirm and create customer-authentic messages and communications for the student audience. This is something we’ve never done, and it’s needed more than ever as customer insight becomes more and more important in what we do as marketers. I always find it enlightening and energizing to hear true feedback from the demographic we target in our everyday work because that will only make our deliverables more successful in the end.

If you could give one tip to a graduating senior looking to get into a marketing related field, what would it be?  NETWORK! It absolutely pays to know people — they can refer you for an open position, keep you up to date as what’s available in the market, and especially give you guidance and serve as a mentor as you look to expand your career. Don’t discount someone just because they can’t do something for you right now — you never know when it will pay off. So, with that, be nice to everyone!

Last tip: learn from the world around you.  You just got a huge opportunity to from the advice above.

Chris Lovett

PodCamp Pittsburgh 7: Build Your Digital Toolbox


I am thrilled to be a featured speaker at this year’s podcamp #pcpgh7.  What is podcamp?  It is a free event where you can learn social media and interactive marketing in a very “un-conference” like environment.  No pressure.  No stuffy suits.  Just real people talking about what they love to do each day.

My session is all about engaging with students using social media.  Blogs, interactive teaching, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.  Our role as instructors needs to be, whether we like it or not, to engage with our students on their level.

Would you take your car to a repairman that did not know about cars?  Should students trust instructors that are not aware of social media and how to use it?

The way students are learning is different.  Many high schools are going paperless.  Online coursework is evolving through organizations like Coursera and Venture Lab – giving students the opportunity to learn in new and exciting ways from across the globe.  As instructors – we need to embrace this change and become just as engaged as our students are in social media.

If you know anyone in higher education that is looking to increase their online and social media presence, please join me at podcamp pittsburgh 7 – and start building your digital toolbox!





Fall Internship: The Resumator

Class: a good Fall Internship at a Technology Start Up: The Resumator.

The Resumator is a quirky, Pittsburgh-based software company that is reinventing the way employers hire. Featured on TechCrunch, Mashable and CNET, we empower growing businesses with recruiting tools they°ve never had, but have always needed. Our 1000+ customers include some of the fastest growing businesses and hottest startups in the world like Pinterest, Klout, Instagram, and HootSuite. We ’re looking for a Marketing Intern to contribute to digital marketing, branded content, market research, media relations, and event planning efforts.

This role is a paid part-time position. Must be able to work at least 20 hours a week. This is an excellent opportunity to gain valuable business and marketing skills before you graduate. MARKETING INTERNSHIP Responsibilities Learn and utilize Google Analytics, website testing, and CRM software Compile reports on the effectiveness of lead generation and marketing campaigns Research and recommend new advertising and partner opportunities Conduct market research and competitive analysis Write marketing copy for website and sales collateral Assist with marketing projects for print production, email campaigns, and events Qualifications College student majoring in Business, Marketing, or Communications (Juniors preferred) Prior marketing experience a plus Well spoken and engaging Self starter with the ability to learn quickly Proficient with Microsoft Excel Can take direction well and work independently for periods of time Ability to derive sound conclusions from raw data Ability to work minimum of 20 hours per week Bonus Points Experience working in a startup Entrepreneurial aspirations Perks include occasional free lunches, snacks and Xbox gaming system.

Bring in your favorite movies to have as background noise, or tell us what video games you like to play and we°ll get them. We even have free parking! Join one of the fastest growing startups in the Pittsburgh region!

Apply Here:

Chris Lovett

What I learned this week: August 9

I am going to try to make this a weekly theme.  We will see how long that lasts.  Here are some of the things I learned this week about marketing and life in general.

1. Facebook actually launched something brands should be excited about: 


In case you missed it, Facebook launched an advanced targeting feature for brand pages.  Now, instead of a wall post everyone sees, brands can customize the message so it is only seen by certain demographic profiles.  As noted here, you will soon be able to tag you wall posts to these demographics that are fans of your page:





And a few more.  This is a pretty good opportunity for brands to create customized messages to their fans.  A clothing company, for example, could target college age males with their back to school deals, or a car company could tailor messages and models around gender or education, etc.

This is a pretty exciting development to watch.  Social Media continues to transform into a very targeted medium, with marketers able to almost talk 1:1 with their desired audiences.

2. High School Kids are Paperless:

I met a great kid this week who job shadowed me because he was interested in a career in marketing.  He told me that as a junior in high school, he does not use books.  He does not turn in papers.  Everything is done on an in-class netbook, and turned in over email or a blackboard type interface.

Wow.  This blew my mind.  It blew everyone’s mind I told.  For the first time in my life, I felt old.  The way children are learning is changing, and as a college instructor, I need to be ready for this change.  Every college needs to be ready for this change, as well as employers down the road.  What amazes me is that this kid is going to go to college, and be handed a book, and be required to learn all over again.

I give this student a lot of credit, as when I was in high school, the last thing I was worried about was a career choice.  He was driven and very mature, and I have no doubt he will be a success in whatever he chooses to do.  Part of his assignment was to ask me a bunch of questions.  While I answered them yesterday, some I put a little more thought to:

What do you like most about your job? I work with a very talented team of innovators.  I work with people who push me to do my best everyday.  I also feel that the product I work on helps people become better people.  It helps them manage, and helps them save.  It can help them pay off debt, and save for things they really want.  Or in some cases things they need.  I truly love what I do, and I thank the student for reminding me.

Did I know in high school I wanted to work in marketing?  No.  In high school, I only knew one thing.  I wanted out.  I wanted out of poverty.  I wanted to be far away from the drugs and violence that I was surrounded by.  I did not know anything about my future, except there was only one path to reaching my goals, and that is working as hard as I can every day.  Proving people wrong.  I have never looked back.  While it was a much harder path – I need to take a step back every once in awhile and remember where I came from, and where I have come.  Sort of reminds me of one of my favorite commercials of all time.

Basically, a kid half my age reminded me where I came from, and how far I have gotten.  And gave me a little motivation to go even further.  That is one of the reasons I love teaching.  I end up learning more than I ever will be able to teach.

Chris Lovett


So You Want to Be a Marketing Rock Star?

I was talking to our intern today, and she inspired me to write this post.  As a young person trying to break into the marketing field, she was interested in hearing my advice on how college students or recent college grads can land a gig in the highly competitive field of marketing, advertising, or public relations.  So I thought I would give it a go.  Finding a job is not easy.  Finding a job in marketing can be twice as hard due to the current economy as well as competition.  So here are my tips to land a gig in marketing.

Take a Step Back: I think this is the most important step.  Take some time to figure out what you really want to do, and which companies you want to work for.  Gone are the days where you can simply send your resume to a bunch of companies and hope they respond.  Monster is a lie and not real anymore.

Your search should be just like a successful marketing campaign, strategic and highly targeted.  Focus on at most 10 companies.  Research them.  Know who the players are.  Find out how to get in.  Develop a marketing plan for yourself on how to get in.

Throw Away Your Resume: Seriously.  Take a look at it, and then throw it away and start over.  Resumes today need to tell a story, and if yours is simply listing out what you have done, it may not catch the eye of a recruiter.  Someone in my circle recently applied to a marketing job where there were over 400 applicants for one position.  To win this game, you need to stand out early.

One of my best tips to resume writing is to have a core design (if you are using a Microsoft Word Resume template, throw it away, burn it, then burn it again) and customize that design for each job you apply to.  If a company posts an open position, they usually list the skills desired.  Take your template and create a resume that highlights exactly the skills they are looking for.  Note: Do not lie, just focus your experience and tailor it to their needs.  Become the person they are looking for by highlighting your skills that are relevant for each position.  Don’t list “internet” as a skill either.

Remember Every Day is an Interview: I was recently reminded of this at work, and it is good advice.  If you are a student, you are interviewing with your peers who may land jobs, your instructors who probably have jobs, and a variety of other people day in and day out.  You are under the microscope every day on how you handle pressure, challenges, and create opportunities.  Never miss a chance to sell yourself in any situation.  Be a rock star every day – you never know who is watching you.

There is No Career Path: When you talk to marketing professionals, you will soon realize that they all have a very different backgrounds.  The days are over where you start a job after college and have a career path to a certain position.  You need to make your own path.  Every job you have from here on in is experience and a way to network in to other organizations.  Take advantage of all of your experience.  You will find you will also need to make your own way, and no one can do it for you.

Your First Job May Be the Path to Your Dream Job: While you might want to start your career in a corporate marketing department, you may soon realize that these positions often require experience and are not entry level.  While that can be discouraging, don’t let that stop you from reaching your goal.  Let’s say your dream was to be a Marketing Manager for Ford – but are unable to get into the door at corporate.  Take a step back and understand the experience you might need to make that happen.  You could possible explore working at JWT, Ford’s advertising agency, or getting experience somewhere else in automotive.  Never lose sight of your goals.  If you are driven (Ford, Driven, see what I did there?) you can reach your end goal.  It might not be easy, but in the end when you reach that goal it will be that much more rewarding.  You could also reach out to @scottmonty for advice on getting into Ford.

Network: Talk to your instructors.  Join LinkedIn.  Meet people in fields that you want to work in.  Most marketing people have huge egos and would love for you to listen to their success stories.  Half kidding here – but for the most part they will be willing to help.  Talk to as many people as you can.  If you land an internship, connect with people and stay connected with them throughout your career.

Be Mobile: While you are young, the positions and opportunities may not be where you currently live.  You may have to move for awhile to gain experience.  Look at it this way – you can always return after you have experience.  Trust me – do this while you are young and before kids.  Making your way in a new city is one thing, uprooting a family is another.  Hopefully you won’t have to do it – but if you cannot find a gig in your current city, making the move can be a great opportunity to gain experience.

Be Humble.  Be Patient: Hard work is still the key ingredient to success in marketing, as in any field. Put your head down in whatever you do and work hard.  Be honest.  Work smarter.  Be patient.  While your first job may not be your dream job, it is what you make of it, and remember you are creating your own path.

I read an article about goals in 2012 – and I think they are valid for every year.  To make every year your best year.  Good advice to share today and always, especially for young people: Do what you say you are going to do, otherwise known as accountability.

  • If you say you are going to call, call.
  • Promise to send someone information? Send it.
  • Finish a job when you promised–or earlier–with quality work.
  • Let people know as soon as you can when you are running late for a meeting or won’t make it at all.
  • And, my personal favorite, make good on the promise “Let’s get together sometime.” Make a note on your calendar in the near future to set something up. Or don’t say it at all.

Pretty simple advice, but amazingly, we can tend to forget it.

Don’t Get Discouraged: You will probably get shot down a few times.  Maybe more than a few.  We all have.  Don’t ever let that discourage you.  Once you get discouraged, the search gets even more difficult.  Don’t blame others.  Don’t blame the economy.  Just get better and keep getting up.

I realized I left out that whole interviewing thing – but this felt like a good start.  Maybe next time we will touch on that.