My journey from Physics to Marketing

Experimental Physics and Marketing are not as diametrically opposed as you might think.

How did I end up in marketing? The short answer is that I completed the course requirements and my research was nearing completion for my M.Sc. in Physics. Then life happened and put me on a different path.

It was devastating to give up on something that I had been dreaming about since I was a preteen. Science was (and still is) one of my passions. I want to know how things work. I was *so* close to my goal…but with my supervisor demanding more experiments before I could defend my thesis, combined with several other stresses in my life, I hit a wall.

I mourn the loss of those dreams. However, I cannot regret my decision because it was the best path forward. My mental health was more precious than a piece of paper.

I chose to do something completely different. I quickly landed a full-time job at Chapters Bookstore. (I love books!) This is where I got my first taste of marketing. I now have a new passion, Marketing Communications. I do research, planning, experiments, analysis, make discoveries and educate others every day. Not so different from my life as a scientist.

© 2021 Tracey Copeland, Rolling Sands Consulting. Originally posted to LinkedIn on July 30, 2020.

True Prioritisation

Having 10 priorities is like having 10 children. You love them all equally but only the one that’s screaming gets your attention.*

Choose a direction. Set your goals. Chaos is a bad use of your time and energy!

Prioritisation in our modern, noisy, cluttered world is an essential skill for every marketer. A few years ago, I sat down with a new manager to discuss my marketing plan for the following year. With the ‘children’ analogy in mind, I had carefully whittled down my ideas to 1 main goal and 2 key strategies. It was an ambitious, yet achievable plan given that it only included one of the two product categories I owned at the time.

The meeting took an unforeseen turn when my new manager asked why I hadn’t included more goals, more strategies, more tactics, etc. My first thought was, Is this a test?

Unfortunately, it was not!

How did this person make it so far without the ability to truly prioritise? It became evident over time that they accomplished what they did at the expense of their work-life balance. I did my best to ‘manage up’ until, to my great relief, they moved on.

Here’s an article I really like on this subject from Harvard Business Review: https://hbr.org/2020/01/dont-bog-yourself-down-with-too-many-goals

*This analogy helps me be a much better marketer. I wish I could remember where I first heard it so I could say “Thank you!” to that truly brilliant person.

©2021 Tracey Copeland, Rolling Sands Consulting. Originally published to LinkedIn on July 23, 2020.