The Double-Edged Sword of A CTM Major
There are several varying opinions about the “kind” of people CTM majors are. Oftentimes we’re classified as the creatives of JGSOM, or as jacks-of-all-trades who can’t commit to a single path. And with many of us setting out to pursue a career in marketing, we’re also often tagged as budding capitalists, learning how to exacerbate the ills of the world with reckless manipulation and consumerism.
Many people are hostile towards marketing given all its horrible manifestations – fueling dissatisfaction, driving overconsumption, feeding our deepest insecurities. Ads are ruled equivalent to mental garbage, destroying our self-esteem with impossible standards and constant reminders of all the ways we fall short.
Sometimes the perceptions are deadly accurate. The unfortunate truth is that many marketers really are bad practitioners.
Yet when marketing is done with integrity, society benefits.
Marketing has already begun to have significant effects on many of the world’s greatest problems. It’s made massive contributions to the movements towards healthier food and eco-friendly products, and it’s helped out NGOs by hailing brands that give back to charities or advocate for a relevant cause. Advertising has also proven to be an extremely powerful tool for raising awareness on various social issues, from AIDS and alcohol risks, to LGBTQ+ rights and women empowerment.
Marketers can create value by attaching emotions and stories to just a few simple words. But perhaps what I find most incredible about great marketers is how they can detect when something needs changing – and their ability to act when they find this to be the case.
In a world where most individuals feel like they’re too insignificant to change anything, it takes a whole lot of courage to come up with new ideas and share them with the wider world. Championing for change means challenging the status quo, and challenging the status quo entails opposing deep-seated convictions on what is right, or true. In the modern world, marketing can shift perspectives and pioneer movements; fittingly, CTM has taught me to question defaults, listen to what the world needs, and imagine all of the ways that the world could be different.
The negative impressions attached to my identity as a CTM major are still bitter pills to swallow at times. The distress kicks in most when I’m in my classes for my Development Management minor, quietly listening to my classmates from Development Studies and Health Sciences discuss possible solutions for the world’s greatest ills. I often wonder if a person like me belongs there, and if I am part of the problems we’re all scrambling to solve.
But becoming an ill to society was never on my agenda when I decided on my course. I pursued CTM because I like to create, because I’m passionate about people, and because I’m convinced by the power that innovation has to transform the world into a better place. I’d like to believe that changing the world and earning money aren’t mutually exclusive; so while it’s true that marketers and businessmen are capable of great evil, it pays to remind ourselves that we have a remarkable capacity for goodness, too. The challenge in our hands now, is not just to make sure we’re doing things right, but to also make sure that we’re doing the right things.