Not everyone who currently works in ecommerce or who wants to pursue ecommerce as a career has an MBA or a business degree and studied brand marketing in school. In fact, most didn’t. Many come from IT backgrounds, and I’ve seen many others transition into ecommerce from far-removed careers such as law, teaching and retired military with zero experience in marketing an ecommerce brand.
I had a college marketing professor who stated that the brand is what remains when marketing leaves the room. You buy Apple products because you believe it stands for quality and that they stand behind their products. You contribute to the United Way because you believe in their cause. You always stay in a Comfort Inn because you like the service, the price and the cleanliness. Considered a more strategic exercise than ecommerce, branding is crucial for any successful business operation, and It knows no size limits. I’m seeing it more and more on ecommerce job descriptions with clients of all sizes, so I felt it was worthwhile to issue a memo to those who are relatively new to the field: It’s essential that you understand the importance of the ecommerce brand. You’re being hired to do more than just sell stuff on the internet. You’re also being hired to communicate what the business is and what it is not. You’re being hired to help build loyal customers and to create advocates who will “like” their experience with your brand and share it with others. In highly brand-driven consumer packaged good companies, ecommerce departments have big time interaction with brand marketers. Just like author John Gray put forth that men are from Mars and women are from Venus, ecommerce and brand marketing tend to live in different worlds. The ability to think like brand marketers do, or to at least understand what’s important to them, will make you a much more effective ecommerce brand marketer.
If you have some brand marketing know-how, be sure to include that on your resume and discuss it with potential hiring managers. When I see on a resume how an ecommerce marketer has helped “build the brand”, it stands out. If this is a subject you’re not strong in, make a point to do some learning in this area of marketing the ecommerce brand. I always tell my candidates: Ecommerce and digital marketing are a life long exercise in on-going education. Instead of learning more about stuff you’re already really good at, bone-up on areas you’re not. If you lack formal education in marketing, not to worry. There are tons of educational resources online. You might have a boss you can learn from. And if you’re lucky enough to personally know a brand marketer, take him or her to lunch sometime and learn what they do and how they do it when it comes to promoting the ecommerce brand. It will be one of the best hours you spend as you build your career towards becoming an all around, stronger ecommerce marketer.