5 Things New Marketers Can Learn from Broadway’s Hamilton
The hottest ticket on Broadway, even after two years at Richard Rodgers Theatre, is still Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony Award winning Hamilton. Not only has the show attracted a stellar list of celebrity audience members and won 11 prestigious Tony Awards, but now with productions in New York, Chicago, and London, as well as not one but TWO National Tours with stops scheduled across the country we, “normal people,” finally have the chance to maybe snag a ($400) ticket, if we’re lucky.
If you’ve been living under a rock for the last two years and haven’t heard of Hamilton, here’s a 26-word summary for you: The story of immigrant, orphan, Founding Father Alexander Hamilton’s successes and failures while he helped create our nation, sung through hip-hop by an ethnically diverse cast.
With creator Lin-Manuel dipping his quill in the inkwell of the smash hit Disney’s Moana and actor Leslie Odom Jr. singing sweet jingles about which insurance company you should choose, Hamilton’s success is no secret. But what can new marketers learn from this smashing sensation? Here are 5 tips from Hamilton that marketers just getting started can use to move their career forward:
1. What Comes Next?
So, you’ve just entered the wild and ever-changing world of marketing. Congratulations and welcome!
“What comes next?
You’ve been freed
Do you know how hard it is to lead?”
One of the biggest mistakes I see early career marketers make is not taking the time to recognize the importance of how difficult it can be to lead a group of creative people. Take time to pick your boss’s brain about how they lead and what they’ve learned from the leaders that came before them. It will help you stand out from the pack and give you a chance to understand how your boss came to lead the way she does. Whether your boss is great or terrible, there is always something you can glean from their experience and by observing their leadership style.
2. (Not throwing away) My Shot
As an early career marketer, you have the opportunity to learn not only from your own mistakes but also from those around you. In Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda raps:
“I’m young, scrappy, and hungry
And I’m not throwing away my shot”
Use your hunger to your advantage! Early in my career, I sent bold emails to those I admired. I couldn’t believe how many responses I actually received! Work your networking magic and lean into your scrappiness.
“I’m a diamond in the rough, a shiny piece of coal
Tryin’ to reach my goal”
There’s no shame in being new to the game. Look for opportunities to learn in your day-to-day—practice presenting in front of a group, take a seminar offered by your company, take a class outside of work. Lean in and accept that you’ve still (thankfully) got a lot to learn.
3. Say No to This
Don’t jump at the first opportunity that presents itself unless it’s truly the one you want. It’s tempting to be romanced by a company that will hire you TODAY, by a bigger salary than you were expecting, or by a desire to enact real change within a struggling organization. Take your time in making the decision of where you will spend roughly 25% of your time each and every week. It’s okay to say no to an opportunity that just doesn’t feel right to you or one that goes against your personal brand. In the musical, Hamilton cheats on his wife repeatedly while knowing all along that he should Say No to This. Don’t cheat on your long-term goals with something temporary.
4. The Room Where it Happens
Make sure you’re getting out there. Keep up with your networking and make time for fun as well. As marketers, the easiest thing to do is become comfortable in your current situation, allowing your creative juices to become stale. Tap your friends in other industries for happy hour, attend an event, check out a new bar, or visit a new store. Be in The Room Where it Happens. You never know when a new opportunity might present itself or what you might grab inspiration from!
5. Blow Us All Away
If we lay a strong enough foundation
We’ll pass it on to you, we’ll give the world to you
And you’ll blow us all away…
Remember when you were a little kid and you would complain to your mom about all of the cool stuff that adults got to do that kids weren’t allowed to do? “Don’t be in such a hurry to grow up,” she would say, “being an adult isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Enjoy being a kid.”
Enjoy being a kid in the marketing world. You have so much to learn and so much potential. I know that you’ll blow us all away, someday…but for now, be a kid! Don’t be afraid to embrace your inquisitiveness and ask as many questions as possible. Learn, grow, and lay that strong foundation to build your career upon.
If you’re an early career marketer who can’t afford a ticket to a Broadway show quite yet, you can wait for the movie or live vicariously through the soundtrack (and mixtape!) on Spotify. But if you follow this advice, I’m certain you’ll be able to afford front row tickets next to Beyoncé in no time at all. When you do, let me know what marketing advice you grabbed from the show. I can’t wait to hear what you thought!