“What are you going to do with that?” This is a very common question asked to humanities majors post-graduation. In a still-recovering job market and in a time when the humanities seem less and less applicable, I found myself wondering if I had made the right choice investing my energy into the subjects that I love so much. However, as time passed and opportunities fell into place, the answer seemed very clear. The humanities matter, perhaps more than ever. This is why:
At Revlocal, our ability to communicate is the most important aspect to our job. We talk to clients from all over the country with a wide assortment of concerns and goals every single day. Being able to relate and articulate our solutions in a clear and comprehensive way is vital. In the world of Internet marketing, which changes constantly, being the direct line of contact between our clients and the complicated workings of local search algorithms means we are expected to relay this information in a concise and relatable way. One of the aspects that sets RevLocal apart is that we are taught to not only answer the "what" but the "why" as well. It was throughout my studies in the humanities where the exact same teachings were stressed by my professors. “Why does this matter?” “Why do I care?” “Why does this makes a difference?” Without this way of thinking I do not think I would be able to as effectively communicate the importance of our services to my clients asking these very questions.
Recent studies have found that the methods of communication today are having a negative impact on the muscle in our brain that allows for spontaneous conversation. Twenty-first century communication allows us time to collect our thoughts, type, and edit responses. All other forms of communication are trumping face to face and the part of our brain that influences fluid and natural conversation is weakening. The ability to think on your feet, to perform well in interviews, to genuinely engage with others, is going away. Now more than ever we need this muscle to be strengthened. The great irony of the Information Age is our lack of meaningful human interaction. It's no longer the norm and that’s exactly where RevLocal exceeds. A great communicator can be the difference between successes and failure. Technology is amazing and has created tools never thought possible, but ultimately it can't replace the human brain. RevLocal doesn’t sell a service, it sells a relationship.
The hours I spent in the library sifting through books, formulating the perfect thesis, and laying out the best argument taught me how to approach and overcome multilayered questions. It is critical thinking, this sense of problem solving that is invaluable in today's market. I believe that our generation is one filled with problem solvers. There are many aspects to our cultural, political and global landscape that need critical thinkers. When it comes to applying critical thinking to marketing small business owners, the obstacles sometime seem never ending. Being able to understand the frustrations that plague every business and formulate the best method to overcome these issues is through critical thinking. Without the ability to look at a problem from all perspectives in order to create a strategy that will best serve each individual business, the frustrations will only grow. Calmly and effectively dealing with these issues is what makes a great marketing strategist.
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This ability to look at a problem from 5,000 feet was a common tool used by my professors. Get the whole picture and you’ll better understand the question and offer a solution. Back in the early days of digital marketing, Steve Jobs broke the mold when he began designing his tech company from the average consumers’ perspective. He realized what wasn’t available to the average person and has forever transformed the way humans use computers and digital devices. Locating the problem from 5,000 feet is what allowed him to think outside the box. In the maze of digital marketing, sometimes you’ll only find your way out once you expand your view. Helping a small business owner understand the full picture is why we’re here. Humanities classes are notorious for these grey areas; you need to go beyond and delve deep into the many factors hidden beneath the text or the surface of a painting. There is always so much more than what meets the eye.
An extremely important aspect to all basic human interaction, it is very often ignored. Today's world is filled with a spectrum of devices designed to distract, but listening is still the best way to make a person feel connected. The cornerstone of RevLocal is the relationship we offer; listening is crucial in order to build this trust and rapport. When our clients call with a question, they aren’t transferred to a call center, they’re transferred to you- their Internet Marketing Agent. This is what sets us apart. This relationship building begins with a simple conversation where we actually listen to their concerns, goals and story. Listening is what we’re here for, it’s what we do.
In college, sitting through endless lectures and study sessions, becoming an effect listener was crucial in your understanding of a subject. Just like in all relationships, listening to one another is the first step to understanding. It's something we all need and it's something everyone should always be improving upon. The only way we can make a difference in the world is when we stop talking and start listening. One of my favorite quotes is from Bill Nye: “Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t.” People tend to be self-absorbed, busy running through their own problems and goals, but we need to make an effort to listen and learn every day. When we do, great things can happen.
A form of communication that is quickly turning into one filled with typos and careless sentences, the ability to write well is a rarity. Long ago are the days where letters were exchanged and a person prided themselves on their poetic penmanship. Now, texting and spell check have replaced reading and dictionaries; novels and newspapers substituted with blogs and tweets. It is hard to escape the ease modern technology has placed on our daily communication. We are losing the art of writing and the ability to be sincere when sharing our thoughts. Writing is how humans express their creativity, whether through stories, songs or poetry. This creative expression is studied in classes and critiqued as a science. Being a great writer is a skill and something that one needs to practice, like a musician or athlete. As Internet marketing embarks on its second decade, we hear over and over that content is king. Anyone with a Wi-Fi signal and keyboard can blast out what’s on their mind, but those who take the time to craft their content are the ones who will succeed.
Beyond the skill to write an impressive email or blog, is our ability to tell a story. We often refer to successful marketing campaigns to learn from and one studied is Budweiser. Their commercials are filled with horses, puppies, farm land, anything but a glass of their product. What makes this so successful? It's because of they sell a story, they sell America, they sell you. You remember them. Think of ads for Oreo, Coke-a-Cola, Gatorade and Subaru. These companies offer an experience, a full picture to which millions can relate. That is why a creative mind is needed in a marketing strategy. You can have a team of accountants, tech gurus and financial experts, but if you don't have a team of creative minds, your sales won't perform. If you can't appeal to the heart of your consumers, you've lost before you've started. Good writing means good story telling. Without it, there is nothing distinguishing you among your competitors.
I feel the time I invested in the humanities has allowed me to think outside the box. I am a marketing agent with the ability to comprehend, formulate, and communicate an effective marketing strategy. It's what sets me apart. It's what makes RevLocal such a great place to be and what allows us to continue to be successful. We are a team of professionals who go beyond the analytics and offer a genuine relationship based on trust and communication. In the end, our clients place much more value in the effort we put into their business than what the numbers show. Working together to bring our clients success is our foundation. I believe that without those who love art, music, literature, history and languages this world would be a very different place. These subjects are what make us human and it’s what makes RevLocal such a well-rounded company.