So you want to be a strategist

I’ve heard marketing youngbloods utter these words A LOT:

  • I want to work in an agency—with multiple clients. Feels so refreshing to meet new people and discover new industries!
  • I want to create strategies to help many businesses succeed in the modern marketing landscape.
  • I want to charge big companies for my expertise through consulting gigs.

I can’t blame them. I thought the very same thing when my ass was still on a school bench.

The allure of big advertising and creative agencies. The breadth of the “360” approach. It’s inspiring!

But there’s a fallacy blindsiding these green, aspiring strategists.

You can start by working in agencies. You can advise clients. You can spend your whole career doing so.

But you can’t be good at it if you’ve never done the actual work yourself. You have to dirty your hands with marketing tactics. To generate tangible results by executing concrete operational tasks. Whatever the channel or industry.

To grow into a well-rounded marketer, you need the tension of having skin in the game and a minimum of stakes.

Most strategists are charging big bucks for their advice. They all take credit when their strategies pay off. But almost none take the blame when they don’t. They can always say their strategies weren’t executed correctly—because they’re not the ones doing the hard work.

So prove yourself first. Advise others after.

The best consultants and strategists I know have all actually worked in the field. No, they haven’t mastered all marketing channels. But they’ve had lunch with colleagues in the trenches of almost any channel. And they know what it takes to make a home run, and how it feels to hit a wall.

When they tell a team to do XYZ, they have a pretty freaking good idea of what that team will go through.

That’s the kind of strategist you want to be—the one with street cred.

My partner Georges always tells me not to complain without a potential solution. So let me end this rant with some constructive feedback.

How can you start getting your hands dirty?

  • Launch and grow your own side project (online store, blog, YT channel, SoundCloud, whatever).
  • Offer specific freelance services to small businesses in your network.
  • Get a job in an early startup and wear the many hats.
  • Get a junior job inside a fleshed out-marketing team (spot potential mentors).

So yeah, I strongly invite you to do the work first.

Go get that street cred, youngblood.


If you want to learn how to do kickass content marketing and SEO, we’re searching for a junior marketer at Snipcart.

Hit me up.

Oh, we’re also looking for an experienced/senior inbound marketing [content and/or SEO] person.

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