January 16, 2024

Why I (sort of) Chose Marketing As A Career

Jacques de Villiers spills the beans on why he went into marketing as a career.

Article 8/365 of Jacques’s Writing Quest

I’m not sure that marketing was my first choice. If I’m honest, it was to be a time traveller. But until Elon Musk invents a time machine, I’ll have to cool my heels. A flâneur had huge appeal to me. Lounging around Parisian coffee shops and observing society is a cool gig if you can get it. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a trust fund, so that one went out the window. I toyed with the idea of becoming a philosopher like my father until I realised that there are no philosophy factories giving out jobs and I didn’t want to take a vow of poverty.

I’m not even sure that there was a grand design to me going into marketing. After two years of compulsory military service, I decamped in 1982. I studied public relations, worked in PR firms and became a PR copywriter for a mining company. I also gained experience in crisis management while working for a communications company. Later, I joined an advertising agency and eventually started my own business in 2000.

But, there may have been a grand design, albeit, subtle. 

It was my father, you see, that led me to marketing. He was pregnant with potential. He had everything going for him and an intellectual pedigree to boot. 

He came from a wealthy family. He got a double doctorate (philosophy and theology), both summa cum laude, from the University of Zurich. He was taught by the renown Swiss theologian, Emil Brunner. He was present at lectures given by Carl Jung. He had a music degree and played the violin for a symphony orchestra. He was a Dutch Reformed minister until his excommunication in 1960 for speaking against apartheid. He became a member of the Christian Institute, alongside Beyers Naude and Ben Engelbrecht. He authored three books and finally ended his career as a political analyst and/or spy.  

Ironically, with this rich background, he became neither rich nor famous. In fact, my two brothers and I had to support him for 10 years+ until he passed in 2000.

I’m convinced that if my father knew how to market his gifts he would have been the Jordan Peterson of his era and have made a decent living. To be fair, there weren’t the marketing tools and reach that we have today, available then. 

That’s what drives my career path today. I see too many people who are like my father taking a vow of poverty. People like you who are geniuses, people like you that should be playing on a bigger stage and people like you who can really make a difference in this world, languishing in oblivion.

I’m convinced that marketing would make all the difference to those people. To you. 

Don’t be like my father. Embrace marketing and share your gift because, right now, there’s someone out there that needs what you have to offer. Don’t deprive them of the privilege of having you serve them.

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