Taking a Mid-Career Plunge Into Digital Marketing and Analytics

I am presently in a “career-transition adventure”, making friends, learning about companies, and making decisions that may determine my trajectory for the rest of my life. I’m in good company, as about eight-million fellow Americans are presently doing the same thing. (Hey guys!)

A bit about me …

I’m a husband, father of four, manager, and all-around fixer.

I’m creative, curious, and future-focused with a bias for action. My passion for making things is manifest through many hobbies including gardening, cooking, maintaining a small fleet of aging Toyotas, and conducting small to massive DIY projects around the house.

Professionally, I love pioneering new arenas, building new operations, and developing talents in the people who run them. I believe in doing a good job, having fun while working hard, and that all business is personal.

I’ve worked 25 years in graphic communications, design, and digital production. I have a B.S. in Operations Management from the University of Memphis, an M.B.A. in Finance from the University of North Texas, and have recently concluded a 17-year career with the world’s largest integrated communications company, RR Donnelley.

Time for a change

For the past 9 years I led a large team on-site at RadioShack’s headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas. My group produced nearly all print-marketing communications programs including circular, in-store POP, direct mail and packaging, with services including creative development, copywriting, photography, photo-illustration and retouch, desktop production, digital asset management, technology-based services and business process consulting. RadioShack’s bankruptcy resulted in the discharge of all vendor contracts, and I was obliged to dissolve the business.

I am now in transition, and taking the opportunity to upgrade my skills. However, it’s been challenging to decide where to invest my time. This is a chance to re-tool and choose a trajectory for (potentially) the rest of my working life, and I want to make sure it is in a field that is growing, stimulating, and populated with smart, creative people.

Discovering digital marketing and analytics

Over the last couple of months I’ve parsed hundreds of job postings, and have seen substantial demand for Digital Marketing and Analytics.  Nine years in traditional marketing has provided some peripheral exposure to the field, which has grown and evolved during that time, and recent study on the subject has been a real eye-opener. I’ve decided to dive in and add digital marketing to my portfolio of skills and experience.

Why digital marketing and analytics?

This article indicates that 71% of companies have gaps in their digital marketing teams, with the biggest gap being in analytics.


All indicators are that digital marketing will continue to displace traditional marketing, especially as digitally-integrated millennials enter the workforce and wield their effect as a consumer powerhouse. This will continue to increase the pressure on companies that are already struggling to find capable staff. Unlike petrochemical engineering, which was recently touted as one of the hottest career tracks in the country (and later tanked as oil prices dropped), digital marketing and analytics isn’t closely tied to the fate of any specific commodity. With all indicators pointed toward growth in demand and a shortage of talent, it looks like a great bet for people with a bent toward marketing, technology, and data.

My education in operations management and finance was heavy in decision science, information systems and statistical analysis. Additionally, my work in premedia has been highly focused on information technology and the development of expert systems used to manage marcom information flows. Digital marketing and analytics is a natural extension of my education and experience, and I intend to immerse myself in the subject over the next several weeks.

Fortunately the internet is awash with free and inexpensive resources to acquire proficiency in the craft. Google doing their part to fill the gap by hosting free training programs through their Analytics Academy, and I have already begun work toward a certificate in Digital Marketing and Analytics through the University of Illinois Urbana-Campaign and Coursera.

Why the blog?

I’ve set up this site to share thoughts on the overlapping roles of art, science and craft in the business of communications and marketing, to share discoveries (as well as the odd side-interest), and connect with others doing the same thing.

Please feel free to comment below with your perspective, advice, and questions.

In the mean time, best wishes and have a great Labor Day weekend!


2 thoughts on “Taking a Mid-Career Plunge Into Digital Marketing and Analytics

  1. Great post! It’s interesting how quickly things can change in the industries we spend so much time working and developing skills in. It’s even more difficult to adapt if we’ve created systems and tools that we’ve perfected and become very efficient at.


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