January 22, 2007

Online Marketers and Career Planning

Here's a question for my pals on the online marketing side of the business. These are the folks that manage search, portal and affiliate programs (even e-mail campaigns) at B2C companies.

Has your company outlined a career plan for you that goes beyond the Vice President or Director of Online Marketing? Is your company developing your general management skills so that one day you can run your company or division --- or is your company expecting you to stay satisfied within your niche? Is your company even talking about these topics with you?

Lastly, do you see your career path happening within your company, or do you see yourself jumping to another company for better opportunities?

I bring this up because I am starting to see challenges for folks who are developing skills in the highly specialized niche of online marketing. What are you observing, and how do you plan to deal with the questions I raise?


  1. More most internet marketers, I suspect the career path is to vp marketing or CMO. As online marketing becomes more of a driving force in all commerce and marcom, I have no doubts that smart marketing organizations will recognize that this niche skill set can become a huge asset to a general marketing officer, assuming that this person has been building out his or her skills to include more traditional marketing skills as well.

  2. Let's hope you are correct. Right now, there seems to be a glass ceiling, and online marketers are at times bumping up against it, moving laterally to other companies to improve their standing.

    Maybe my sample is biased, but that is what I am seeing.

  3. I think the concept of a corporate career path is becoming extinct. People see a company as a resource to gain experience in something they are passionate about, or as something that pays well (or both if they are lucky). My guess within online marketing areas like you describe, those that do advance are those with the initiative to carve out their own niche whithin the organization.

  4. Dave, thanks for your comments. Interesting.

    If what you say is true, that's too bad. I would guess that companies did this to employees, causing employees to view companies as a resource, huh?


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