The Eternal Marketing Handyman

by | Apr 16, 2024 | marketing | 0 comments

As I’ve watched the marketing landscape constantly evolve, I’ve always adopted a philosophy that may seem counterintuitive to some. In fact, you’ve probably been warned about this very thing over and over and over and over again.

Master of many, expert of few.

That phrase doesn’t scare me nearly as much as when I was first staring out. Nowadays, I’ve adopted the moniker of “marketing handyman,” where if you need something done, I can probably do it for you. And if I can’t, I know who can.

Leveraging a wide range of skills allows me to pivot quickly between projects, understand various facets of marketing from SEO to brand strategy, and effectively manage cross-disciplinary teams. This versatility means I can jump in where I’m needed most, keeping projects moving forward and meeting challenges head-on. Which is good, because a lot of the stuff I see day-to-day definitely comes out of left field.

In an industry as dynamic as marketing (especially right now), adaptability isn’t just useful—it’s essential. I cannot count the numerous times I’ve heard the phrase, “We are all digital marketers.” But are we though? Do we all have a wide enough base of knowledge to pull that off?

But let’s rewind a bit.

Early in my career, a mentor asked me what I wanted to achieve in marketing. When I enthusiastically replied, “Everything,” she cautioned me, suggesting that I would need to specialize eventually. I thought about her response. A lot. Following her advice could have narrowed my path to a measured, successful outcome, but instead, I decided to do the opposite.

My personal growth has always been about proving it’s possible to collect a broad set of knowledge without sacrificing depth where it counts. And this path is not even confined to marketing alone. I consider myself a forever learner, constantly picking up new skills and information, even stuff I’ll never use, like woodworking or advanced cooking techniques.

That’s how I learned to mix music in DAWs, develop webpages with content management systems, edit video in Premiere and Davinci Resolve, understand advertising tactics for both traditional and digital channels, adopt AI strategy for bolstering content and automating processes, program my LED lights to blink when the doorbell rings, build video studio and streaming setups… you know, for professional reasons, not to be the next big Twitch star.

And I’m not always pursuing learning to do a thing, sometimes I just enjoy understanding the process. Hopefully through learning about those new topic areas and perspectives, I’m more easily able to form well-rounded opinions on a variety of topics. It’s about being prepared to engage in any conversation and the capability to offer unique perspectives, whether they’re directly related to my field or not. I certainly do not love getting stuck in a conversation where I’m completely out of my depth, and so I actively avoid that outcome.

But you gotta know when to call in the experts.

Despite all the skills I’ve accumulated over the years, I definitely know my limits. I can’t code very well. I haven’t learned enough about event management. I don’t really like Facebook or social media marketing altogether, so other people can definitely outperform me there. I can’t feel feelings, sorry Dr. Phil. But part of being the marketing handyman isn’t just about fixing every problem myself; it’s about knowing when to hand the tools to someone else.

The business world definitely needs deep-divers—experts who have committed to mastering very specific areas. Their depth of knowledge is invaluable, particularly in highly specialized fields where precision and expert insight are crucial. As an example, data scientists have a knack for digging into the details that I’ll never be able to replicate. There are also times when I can do a thing, but a specialist will just do it way faster and better than I could. That frees me up to help in areas that will best impact the business.

With that said, while specialists are crucial for deep technical needs, generalists such as myself drive connectivity and innovation across various disciplines. Keeping an open mind enable me to see the bigger picture and bridge gaps that might otherwise be overlooked, hopefully fostering a more holistic understanding of the business and leading to more innovative solutions. Like self-wrapping burrito tortillas. Patent pending.

TLDR for those who made it this far: if you ask me for help, I want to be able to say “yes” emphatically. Throwing the widest net possible is the only way I know to do that, and so I’ll keep pursuing new things every day, even if they’re as uninteresting as blockchain integration or unclogging a sink with baking soda.

While some say “jack of all trades” is a dumb decision to make, I’ll ride or die on this forever. Come with me!

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