My 5 best career lessons for aspiring digital marketing professionals

I’ve been in the digital marketing space for nearly 8 years now, 7 of those within the online gambling (igaming) industry with brand such as and later the Betclic Everest group of brands.

Whilst there’s a lot of great career advices out there from very smart people, I’ve often found it hard to identify myself with those people typically writing such career advice posts. They either tend to be HR people themselves or some kind of career coaches.

These 5 career advices are such I’ve picked up along the way. Part of writing them down is to share them with you, part is for myself, in the writing process, to reflect over them and not repeat the same mistakes again.

1. Pick your fights carefully

It didn’t take me long to learn this one. Still, it’s probably the hardest one to follow. I’ve been blessed with extraordinary managers over the years that were resilient enough and could guide me in the right direction when I picked the “wrong” fights.

If you’re a driven person like me, if you like to challenge things in search of a deeper understanding of the bigger picture, then it’s easy to pick a fight just about every time. Needless to say, this doesn’t work in an organisation.

Wether you’re upset about your wage, working conditions, projects or team-mates, be very selective in what fights your chose to pick and be clear about what the worst possible outcome is. Is it then worth to pursue, or should you drop it this time?

Pick your fights carefully

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2. Everything is about perception. Everything.

I’ve learnt to take for granted that there are as many opinions and views as there are people in the meeting room. Opinions are shaped by perception, and if you let perception freely float, you’ll have a group of people who are not at all aligned each with their own perception of the subject.

This became obvious to me when I started working with social media related projects. Each of our, back then 1,200 employees, had (rightfully so) their own perception of what social media was and wasn’t. And there was no right or wrong.

But for projects to kick-off and succeed we needed an aligned view amongst employees of how we looked at social media. By cornering off the topic using 5 large key areas we gave some examples of how social media could be used in the organisation. This gave our employees a mind framework and helped us aligning the before widespread perceptions.

Someone has to decide wether the glass is half full or half empty. It’s not about being right or wrong, it’s about helping people shaping similar perceptions of the same things.

Everything is about perception

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3. Nothing is ever perfect

Who owns the definition of perfect? It’s a bit like the above subject of perception. I’ve come to conclude that it’s better to ship stuff and fix problems later, than trying to constantly ship perfect stuff.

Why? Constantly trying ship only things that are perfect is almost impossible in an organisation. As a result you will end up not shipping as much, and you will waste an awful lot of time on perfecting the wrong things.

Better launch and fix later than never launch at all.

Nothing is ever perfect

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4. Doing your job 100% better wont progress your career

Every job comes with a set of tasks we need to do, regardless of our position in  the company. But it’s unlikely that doing these tasks 100% better or faster is going to take your career anywhere. You’ve to seek our new challenges, new problems to solve and extend your impact beyond your given job description.

This means walking a fine line between delivering on expectations, not forgetting about your main duties and seek out to solve new problems that will progress your career. No one will ever come knocking on your door thanking your for a doing a great job and giving you a promotion or a raise, you must fight it and earn it.

doing your job isn't going to fast track you career

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5. Work performance is not measured by the hours you spend in the office

We like to believe that burning the midnight oil equals doing a great job. Maybe because #number-of-hours-spent-in-the-office is a simple and quantifiable metric that everyone understands, or that we’re showing a dedication and loyalty to our company with our physical presence?

Of all the people I’ve worked with though, I’ve yet not seen any obvious relationship between making an impact on the business and numbers of hours spent in the office.

Have the guts to say no to meeting invitations and figure out how to do your work in 40h or less each week. I like to get 4h straight of uninterrupted time each day where I do real work, the rest tends to be spent on admin (I call emails admin) and meetings.

Sleep at office


About Joakim Nilsson

I've this thing that I'm obsessed with helping brands and organisations to make better use of their social media data... so in 2013 I launched the SCRM Cloud, now a Paris based Social CRM agency providing some of the biggest names and brands with technology and professional services for social media monitoring, analytics and engagement. My +10 years experience in various online marketing & communications roles have provided me with a solid grounding in both operations and strategy, most notably as Head of social for one of Europe's largest iGaming groups. Having an entrepreneurial mindset and genuine passion for Internet applications spending part of my time as a small seed investor with various Internet start-ups such as; Curious Hat (500startups), Casumo, Casino Saga, FundedByMe, Nordic Design Collective, Kyoogi, AvalanShare, Unified Inbox, Åre Water, Virtuous Vodka and NOA Potions.