When I was first starting in this business, I looked up with envy at the various VPs and C-level executives with their big fancy titles. In my naiveté, success was heavily tied to going from a coordinator, to a manager, to a supervisor, to a director, and so on all the way up to CEO.
Almost 20 years later, I realize how little those titles mean when I now judge a person's level of success. After meeting plenty of 24-year-old vice presidents of tiny companies -- or even more to the point, very experienced and respected directors -- titles mean much less to me now than they did when I first entered the business world. Now I judge personal success on the excellence of the organization I'm working for, how engaged am I with my day-to-day tasks, and if I'm personally satisfied at the end of the week with the work I'm doing.
The digital industry has thrived being the new kid on the block and shedding legacy ways of doing business. In the early days of digital, the traditional teams joked that you could tell who the digital guy was in the room by who was wearing jeans and had facial jewelry. This trailblazer attitude has certainly extended to the job title forum -- would "guru" be acceptable in any other industry?
Silly job titles are not so silly to the folks behind them. Adam Broitman is currently chief creative strategist of Something Massive. However, when I met him a few years ago, his title was "Partner and Ringleader" at Cir.cus so I thought he'd be perfect to comment on this little quirk of our business.
"I have always felt that it is a bit odd for agencies comprising of three people to have a CEO or managing director -- something about that just seems disingenuous," Broitman said. "Given that fact, the fact the name of the company was Circ.us it just seemed like a good idea to forgo traditional titles. After all, John and I (my partner who was also Ringleader) were ultimately responsible for everything, so no title would have properly captured the essence of what each of us did on a daily basis. On top of all of this, John and I are a bit snarky and while we take our work seriously, life is too short to take things like titles seriously."
To demonstrate this point, the following pages contain 17 real titles pulled from the profiles of marketing industry professionals found on LinkedIn. Enjoy!
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I like to change titles with my mood. Of course, I work for tiny startups. Most recently, I've been the Duchess of Demand Gen. And now I decided to call myself "Chief Lifehacker." Tomorrow...? You never know. :-)
I need a new job title. Henceforth, I shall be know as Apptegic's Marketing Megazord
Jennifer - awesome on the content markers - So you know Imedia Connection is my start page in the every day. So thanks to you and your teams!! This content is no where out of date like you find on some very major sites. Recently I have found articles that come from 2007 and I do recognize that this is not the place to start this debate, but I wonder why the impression on the content from 2007 is worth the same a content from 2012? To me, the value doesn't seem the same - but.... HAPPY HOLIDAYS ALL!!
Thanks for the feedback, Lloyd. We certainly didn't mean to trick you into eating "cold French fries." Rather, we've historically found that a few days of "Best Of" content toward the end of year has always been appreciated by many of our readers. It's a way for us to share some of our favorite and best-performing pieces of the past year at a time when many in our industry are taking stock and making predictions for the coming years. Our daily newsletter and social media channels clearly package this piece and other articles as our "Best Of" content for the year. Going forward, we'll try to make sure it's also clearly portrayed as such anywhere else people might access the articles. That way, those who have no interest in previously published pieces can pass over it as such.
Understand – right or wrong two of my pet peeves are "Cold French Fries” (for who wants to spend what you could buy 10lbs of potatoes for and have them cold) – or – OLD CONTENT.I would think with all people who read this site that maybe some of them would have written for free… or are you saying no ones working during online advertising most important week?Happy Holidays>>LL
Hi Lloyd, During the holidays we run "best of" content on our site. We will resume our regular daily coverage on Wednesday, Jan. 2. Thanks for reading!Jennifer MarloAssociate Editor
why is there such old content being re-purposed?
So glad to see people in our industry still have a sense of humor. I always wanted the title, "Direct Marketing Media Queen", but didn't think anyone would take me seriously. Ringleader--just so clever!
Nicely done, Josh. As we used to say in the restaurant business, not every bartender is a mixologist...but every mixologist is a bartender.
I had wanted to start a list like this, particularly for marketing titles. It's getting ridiculous to the extreme. A label can be useful, but not if it's completely fabricated. The marketers who think their cute titles create differentiation simply don't understand the discipline. If I were hiring someone, I would run the other way.Titles actually used to mean something and indicated a person's expertise and experience. That all changed around the late 90's with title inflation -- when admins were directly promoted to marketing managers. The practice deflates everyone else. And it creates confusion, especially for people outside of creative professions.Glad you've covered the subject so thoroughly. Loved the images -- the ninja is my favorite.
Funny... We did have a silly title when we were just starting up - 14 years ago. My now COO was called "One of the main maniacs for sure" on her business card. Today, she does have an Operations Ninja reporting to her. And we're not a start up anymore. Personally I like the creative titles. Why not?
Hey Josh. Very funny article - I've notice how creative people have become in describing their jobs. I understand that people want to express what they do but sometimes it's a bit of stretch.
Senior director of client and industry solutions. Not just client solutions but solutions for the whole industry too! All joking aside, great article.
Hey Josh,I cannot believe you did not find a title with Pimp in there somewhere... Nice article!Joey
Awesome article, Josh! Thanks for the laughs!
Josh,I got a resume the other day that listed "The Grateful Dead" under "Skills & Interests." Wonder how that plays out on LinkedIn.Adam
Thanks for sharing all your "finds", must have taken a while.I love all these creative titles; they actually suggest to me that we are all longing for recognition and tired of being one of the masses on SM today. This is one of the biggest challenges, and opportunities for brands, to make people feel special.From the C3C Catalyst ;-)
Happy to entertain :)
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1 Blogs every marketer should follow
2 9 Facebook hacks that will blow your mind
3 The most meaningless (and hilarious) job titles on LinkedIn
4 The best social media campaigns of 2014 (so far)
5 The most overrated platforms for mobile marketing