Taking on the Wild Wild West: A Conversation with Explo Marketing Instructor Jon Chang
Marketer, writer, and educator (and sax player), Explo Marketing instructor Jon Chang talks to Explo about how he transitioned from a degree in philosophy to a career in marketing and why he loves teaching at Explo.
Your marketing career is really interesting. How did you first get into it?
Thanks! You know, I’ve never actually taken a marketing course. I was a philosophy major, actually, and after I earned my degree I worked as a marketing manager for the Labor Arbitration Institute, a provider of Continuing Legal Education, focused on educational sessions about labor arbitration. I interned for a food and travel publication called Eat Your World, creating social media and content marketing campaigns in Mandarin Chinese, and I also interned for two months at Pricing Engine under the CEO, who's Columbia Business School's Professor of Digital Marketing. After the two months, I ran all marketing operations for Pricing Engine for 16 months, reporting directly to the CEO. Now, I'm head of content marketing and communications at Applauze, the event discovery and ticketing app.
What is it about the field that excites you the most?
I'm in digital marketing because it's the new frontier of marketing and advertising. I like to think of it as the Wild Wild West, because it's an unpredictable landscape that's quickly and constantly changing. Its future is dependent on the growth of technology. Unlike before, relying solely on creativity and connections doesn't cut it anymore. The growth of the digital age requires modern marketers to be masters of creativity AND analytics. Even the giants of advertising — Wieden + Kennedy, Publicis, etc. — have rapidly hired digital marketers and consultants.
Last year was the inaugural summer of the Explo Marketing Focus Program. How was it?
Last summer was a whirlwind! There was a giant learning curve, on so many levels, but it was great in terms of personal growth, teaching experience, and the community it created between me, my fellow instructors, and our students. We had very specific learning objectives, and the students bonded very well. They basically mastered one semester’s worth of a marketing course in only two weeks. Our professional partners were so impressed with the quality of work, thinking, and presentations of our students.
Why do think students should consider enrolling in Explo Marketing?
Explo Marketing Focus students have the opportunity to learn digital marketing from people who are on the front lines of this new movement, testing new tools and theories on a daily basis. Since digital marketing and this program requires creativity, analytics, and social acumen, it's a great opportunity for students to figure out which of these they enjoy most.
Could the lessons and skills they learn could translate to careers in other fields as well?
The lessons and skills students will learn in this marketing program translates to more than just refined business skills. Sitting in an office will teach them standard business skills and a certain way of thinking; whereas, engaging in an Explo classroom teaches them how to take risks and translate failure into education. There's no other environment that allows students to take real professional risks without fear of future repercussion.