Some of you might graduate and transition to your first marketing job while others are returning to work after many months of working remotely. Either way, things have changed and offices around the country will likely look a lot different than your last experience. If you’re entering your first marketing job, you must transition from jeans and t-shirts to something a little more formal while those returning to the office might find dress codes relaxed during the pandemic and won’t return to the way they were. Of course, other elements of a marketing job changed over the last year and a half since you moved to remote work. In this post, we discuss not only how to dress for the marketing job of today but how your marketing job looks different today or in the near future.
During the pandemic when most folks with a marketing job worked from home, the above image shows how you dressed–formal up top and comfortable below the level shown on your computer screen. As long as you didn’t stand up during the meeting, no one knew you wore pajama bottoms, sweats, or shorts from the waist down. Or, if you were really bold, maybe you only wore underwear below the fold. As for students, let’s just say their mode of dress wasn’t office-ready, especially for female students who wore something much more provocative in a school setting than sends the wrong message in an office. Women often have a tougher time figuring out how to dress for a marketing job since they may lack appropriate role models, especially if their mothers and older sisters didn’t require appropriate office attire for their jobs. Unfortunately, Hollywood seems fixated on showing professional women in attire that’s too sexy if you want everyone to take you seriously in your first marketing job.
To make it even more challenging to know what to wear for today’s marketing job, everyone from bankers on down emerged from the pandemic with a less formal notion of attire appropriate for the office. Plus, marketers, especially those working in digital marketing, always expressed themselves more freely in the way they dressed, borrowing from tech where even CEOs like Mark Zuckerberg and the late CEO of Apple, Computers, Steve Jobs, wore jeans and t-shirts for even the most formal occasions. It’s said that Steve Jobs had an entire closet filled with the same jeans and black mock turtleneck so he didn’t waste brainpower figuring out what to wear every day.
Dressing for a marketing job
Working in a marketing job is a combination of creativity and analytics that always gave you more freedom than working as an accountant or in finance (the traditional bastions of formal attire). Plus, as a liaison between your firm and customers, it’s always been important to dress in a manner that made customers feel at ease when you met them while representing the values of your company to the media and partners you met during the course of your day. As younger workers with their own sense of values, today’s marketing job emphasizes comfort and sustainability over decorum, according to a recent report on NPR. So, if you’re just starting a marketing job or returning to work, consider leaving your dress-up clothes for after work, where fashion trends significantly favor a more polished and put-together look than in the past.
Here are some accessories to consider as you put your ensemble together for work.
1) A quality work bag
Whether you’re more comfortable carrying a briefcase or handbag, you need something to carry your stuff to work, even if you just have your lunch in there. If you have a marketing job in tech, a backpack is still a good option, although you’ll want something in good shape and understated rather than the ratty old one you used for school. Of course, a nice leather bag or synthetic leather is always a good choice. Consider something more convenient, such as an all-in-one backpack!
2) The Not-Quite-an-Investment Watch
A watch is another thing that every worker needs, but it doesn’t have to be a $2000 Rolex. There are plenty of stylish looks out there at all price points! In addition, a not-quite-an-investment watch goes with anything you wear to the office or out at night and lasts for years. Many younger workers may prefer a smartwatch that tracks your steps and general health while synching with your smartphone to keep you up-to-date with messages. You can even unobtrusively check your messages during a boring meeting without looking as bored as you feel. In a pinch, you can even place or receive phone calls using your smartwatch. Having the latest tech shows you’re in sync with your market if your target market is younger or you work in a tech marketing job.
3) A Water Bottle
Speaking of sustainability, every worker needs to stay hydrated, and carrying around a reusable water bottle is an easy way to make sure you always have access to H20! During the pandemic, many public water fountains were shut down to avoid transmission of Covid-19 and most haven’t turned back on again. At least not yet. This makes having a good quality water bottle an even greater necessity.
There are so many different kinds of water bottles out there, like stainless steel, insulated options, and even custom koozies. You can even get a collapsible version that takes up almost no space in your bag or cupboard when not in use!
Also, consider a reusable straw to avoid the vast environmental damage caused by the billions of plastic straws thrown out every year. Often these are easily cleaned to ensure safety and many come with a carrying case so you always look professional when carrying your personal straw.
Preparing for your marketing job
Of course, what you wear to work isn’t as important as the product of that work, the lift in brand image and product sales resulting from your marketing efforts. No matter how good you look, performance is the ultimate factor determining your future. Many things changed over the last few years and you need to upskill to take advantage of these changes to both benefit your company and your future. Here are a few of those changes.
1). The pandemic accelerated the transition to e-commerce and that transition will likely continue at least in the foreseeable future, as you can see in the image below.
As businesses adapt to this increasingly digital market, you need different skills than those you learned in school where faculty often lacked digital skills and curricula represent the industrial age rather than the digital one. This is especially true for older workers who must upskill in digital to remain relevant in companies that are spending more of their marketing budget in digital than traditional media.
2) Changes to your marketplace
Just as firms got a handle on selling to millennials, Gen Z is now a major force to be reconded with in the marketplace, representing $143 billion in annual sales; nearly 40% of the global marketplace. Gen Z is significantly different from earlier generations with their purchasing influenced by the following:
- They’re digital natives who spend a significant amount of time on social platforms but not the ones, like Facebook, used by their parents and grandparents.
- Consumption choice is based on shared values with a brand, and they’re willing to pay more for brands demonstrating values they hold dear; brands that act ethically and are socially responsible.
- Unlike their millennial siblings and cousins, they’re less interested in self than the community and are motivated by uniqueness.
Obviously, these changes in the marketplace require a serious retooling and change to your existing marketing strategy.
In conclusion, a marketing job changed in terms of both how you look at work and the job you do. If you embrace some of the advice in this post, you should crush your marketing job and face a bright future.
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