One Piece of Advice from the DMEF Rising Stars

Posted by Paull Young | Posted in Business, Life, Marketing | Posted on 01-06-2011


I was recently honored to be nominated alongside Avinash Kaushik, Shane Atchison, Steve Froehlich and Megan Pagliuca as a 2011 DMEF Rising Star.

The awards dinner is coming up in June, but ahead of that date I asked each of the Rising Stars to contribute the single most important piece of advice you would give to someone just embarking on their career in marketing/communications?

I’ll start to kick us off:

Keep learning. Every single day. Students and new professionals have never had access to so much information that can expand their lives and careers.

Join Twitter and follow smart people, start a Google Reader and subscribe to a range of blogs and RSS feeds, visit news websites every day (or read the paper over breakfast!), subscribe to some quality magazines like the Atlantic. Read some books!

The more time you spend now absorbing information the more you’ll expand your worldview, your career prospects and your strategic thinking doing the track. And it’s like eating right or going to the gym – you need to make it a part of your every day routine to get results!

Avinash Kaushik, Analytics Evangelist, Google

Draw a Venn diagram.

Circle one contains the things you are really good at and passionate about. This requires far more soul searching than you might imagine, in the end you have things you LOVE doing.

Circle two contains things your audience (co-workers, Twitter followers, etc) really care about, things they value. This means asking questions, listening, asking follow up questions, listening some more.

What’s at the intersection of those two circles? Is there anything you are passionate about (also good at) and what your audience values?

Build a career doing that.

You’ll live a life of bliss. Your audience will cherish you. Everything good in life will come from that.

Megan Pagliuca, VP Display Media, Merkle

The advertising industry is going through immense change, an evolution from an offline world to an online world. Immense change enables immense opportunity, both for ambitious young professionals and for new visions and innovations to make the advertising world work better than it did before. A few pieces of advice for someone starting out:

1.       Break the Rules – In school, breaking the rules did not work to your advantage.  In the business world, breaking the rules is a critical piece of success.  Breaking current processes, creating new ways to do things even when you’re given a million reasons why they can’t be done, is how you innovate.

2.       Believe in the Vision – In order to be successful, whether it’s delivering better results, creating a new technology, or generating efficiencies in the marketplace, you must believe in what you are doing and do it with passion.

3.       Take Calculated Risks – The consequences of doing nothing is greater than the risk of failing at something you want or believe in. Take the job at the smaller company where you’ll gain more experience, challenge your competitor to a head to head test, or build the product that you know will win in market.

Steve Froehlich, VP Membership, ASPCA

My first response was only 4 words: “you gotta burn to earn,” but I thought this sounded better:

As a direct response marketer in nonprofit fundraising, we should recognize that we are standing on the shoulders of giants who were writing direct mail copy and delivering data on tapes to service bureaus when I was just a baby.  As technology continues to evolve, it comes as little surprise that the basic principles of RFM segmentation, urgent & emotional creative, efficiencies of scale, meaningful mass personalization, and prompt acknowledgments remain at the core of what we do. Fundraisers who see a dip in performance can (and do) often blame external factors like the economy, natural disasters, or even their agency… and while it has taken me some time in life to understand the difference between what is urgent and what is important, the best advice I’ve ever received was from a dear friend who told me, “you’re a fundraiser: spend the most time on what raises the most money and spend the least time on what raises the least.”

What’s your best tip for young professionals? Leave a comment!

Comments (5)


My advice would be to find someone to mentor. It is incredible, how much you learn just by trying to help someone else.

Mentoring also helps develop better presentation skills. If you can make a convincing argument quickly, you will be very valuable for any organization. So, find people to practice on.

My advice to Avinash would the step thats suggested it absolutely correct but still i feel that this practice should be done long before starting a career, it should be done while joining the final graduation program. but still i feel that it is good if we draw some diagram or path which will lead us to success specially in the field of marketing.

Also i liked Megan’s approach of experimenting different ways of achieving goals, who know a new ways could turn out to be trend setter.

Lyena – thats a superb idea. I had personally experienced it. :)

Great advice as expected from these Rising Stars. Just to add to Lyena’s point on mentors. So valuable. Personally, with the amount of knowledge I’ve been able to tap into from my mentors, as well as sharing experiences, and then creating new opportunities with them, has done so much for me personally and professionally.

[…] » Blog Archive » One Piece of Advice from the DMEF Rising Stars Single most important piece of #advice I would give someone just starting a career? Draw a venn diagram: – Avinash Kaushik (avinash) (tags: advice) […]

Give away more than you get … in all areas. Not only does this make for great relationships and success, it is incredibly satisfying and gratifying. To all of the Rising Stars, I’m so proud to know that we at the DMEF are honoring each of you. Your distinct viewpoint, strengths and contributions are inspiring. Thank you for being such a great example for all of us.

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