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Q&A with Drew Neisser ‘79, Founder, Renegade & CMO Huddles

Published By Duke Arts / published on: October 29, 2021

In this interview for the Duke Entertainment, Media, and Arts Network (DEMAN), marketing guru Drew Neisser ‘79 shares his advice for students hoping to turn their creativity into a career. This Wednesday, Nov 3, join Neisser and Duke Marketing Club for an in-person conversation on navigating a career in marketing post-college.

Major: History / Minor: Economics

What are 2-3 ways your Duke experience helped prepare you for your current career role and/or previous roles?

  1. While running film series for Freewater, I learned basic guerrilla marketing tactics.
  2. While on the Duke Union, I learned how a small group could make a huge impact.
  3. While interning at a local TV station, I learned I didn’t want to be a journalist or news reporter!

How did you make the transition from Duke to your career? What are a few helpful takeaways from your first years out of Duke?

I took the summer off and camped around Europe. What I noticed is that I was always taking pictures of billboards and posters (mainly ads). So when I got back home, I decided advertising would be a good place to start my career. I was willing to start at the lowest rung in the business in a small market and once I got some experience, made the move to NYC to truly learn the business.

How did you decide what you wanted to do after Duke? And how did you make transition(s) to different fields?

I knew I wanted to be in a creative profession surrounded by interesting and talented people. The ad biz fit those criteria perfectly.

What is your favorite thing about working in your profession? Most challenging?

There’s never a dull moment in this ever-changing industry. Being on the agency side of marketing is not for the faint of heart. Clients can be fickle.

What are 2-3 pieces of advice you would offer to a student interested in your field(s)?

  1. Take on a marketing challenge at Duke (for a club, fraternity, group, local charity, whatever). Start with a strategy and have some metrics in mind. Document everything.
  2. Get an internship where you are exposed to a broad range of marketing activities.
  3. Learn about personal branding and get started building your own brand.