Friday, December 07, 2007

Alternative Careers For The Strathclyde Business School MSc Marketing Graduate

As a fresh graduate, or as a victim of downsizing or just boss-ego firing you, the job seeker becomes acutely aware of how competitive marketing is and also how few good jobs are advertised. Indeed there are few obvious career ladder jobs advertised, with the majority of positions being secretarial, menial or sales related.

The problem is there are just too many internal candidates, streaming in from the sales force and other areas.

You can of course choose not to fight in such a tight arena and instead bet on using your MSc know how in other sectors and functions.

Business Analysis
Customer Services
Project Management

I've blogged on this overall topic and some of the choices above before, so today is just a quick look at purchasing.

Purchasing and procurement is a cinderella function. Entry level jobs can be very boring and administrative and this keeps out the very personality profile for a successful negotiator! It also tends to exclude or preclude the interest of well qualified business graduates from the better schools such as Strathclyde!!! Instead purchasing seems to attract a particularily dull first jobber, either from another function with school leaver origin or from a poorer college.

Why on earth is purchasing seen as so unglamerous? After all, it is shopping girls!!! A job with a serious concern can mean international travel, visits to conferences, being wined and dined...and also using your bossy side to negotiate. You can turn up to work in a bad mood and you don't have to be all smiley and nice to everyone like in sales and marketing! Also with some experience, language development and a tasting course you can get to work in the most glamerous of all --the wine business as a buyer!

On a more serious, career minded, academic note, purchasing and it's big brother " Strategic Procurement" utilise skills in analysing supply, demand, margins, discounts, quality, the market, the supply chain, key benefits etc etc.

Purchasing is changing. Now many departments in larger companies have a strategic procurement department, and many new internet or retail innovators employ category or product managers who spend most of their time buying. Dynamic e-procurement and demand-supply IT solutions (or tools) are now reaching maturity and companies are developing more user friendly interfaces and integrating SAP and so on throughout the whole business and it's customer/supplier interfaces.The type of person who has sat and issued purchase orders and hassled suppliers for contractual penalties need not apply.

I was at interview not long ago with Statoil Hydro for a strategic job and it was really very interesting to give an example for you. It was to analyse internal trends in purchasing and external macro-economics and market conditions to create future policy and shape long term relationships and contracts. In fact it was the type of desk job that is like a mirror image of a marketing job!

Generally said, purchasing is still a little unglamerous. So that makes it time to jump on it!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

FOr the Strathclyde Uni Student of Marketing...Now progressing their career.

You now, with my advice and coaching, have your first or even second job. WHat next?

Firstly you have to ask yourself if you have not already deliberated on whether or not this is a career making job or a stepping stone?

Remember at this stage money is very much second fiddle to experience...look at the requirements for the more seniro jobs advertised, and think about your other functionaries in marketing. Talk to them about what tasks they are landed with and what skills they develop: these are usually not very academic, certainly outside market research anyway. For example they may need to develop good lsitening and talking skills, steering /moderating group skills, negotiating, purchasing and general selling ideas skills.

There will also be some key projects which are tick boxes you need to cross off. Likely are: project managing / hands on with at least web site if not whole e-comms or even better, e-commerce solutions. Buying in a new agency and media planning. Buying in and managing print and DM service. Developing a contacts database or managing / working or specifying a CRM. Writing and executing PR is a good hands on one. Running events with customers, consumers and sales force . Budgetting and getting value for money! NPI- launching a new product.

If you are moving the right direction you will be "ticking many of the right boxes " above. If you are very focused in an area, such as database/CRM then you have to ask yourself if you need to broaden out your skills and experience to acheive your goals especially if that is general marketing management. Being specialist is a very double edged sword. At some point it will either hold you back or force you to taking on responsibilty in a large, stressful firm- whilst the general marketeeers boss you around!

It can be best to get yourself out and work a year or so in a small to medium, full service agency which has for example, CRM solutions, but in which you will be hands on for wider projects- this is exactly what I did and in retrospect, I should have been paying them to work there!

So now you are in a job, the last thing you want to stop doing is looking for other jobs. You should, at home, look at the key recruitment agency web sites ( MPM etc), look at the web sites of the most attractive companies you know of, register at the best of the web-recruit web sites and at work read the marketing "comics", the business pages / financial times to learn about new developments.

TO revist promotion and the key to earning really good money- in marketing this means becoming a people manager. Now, managing people is a rare commodity in the flat structured , multi functional marketing department. For a typical medium firm or department there would be director and a couple of spesialist leiutenants, with a completely flat structure under that. It's very easy at this size, or in larger firms to get stuck at say Product Manager level because the firm restructures above you into "business area managers" which are usually managing more people and intended to be heavier into influencing the sales channel than the traditional stand-off marketeer. Ok you may attract the name "senior PM" or even "group PM" but you will be unlikely to be actually man-managing more than one or two APMS.

so...."GO UGLY EARLY" ...

Companies set such a high price on man management and group reporting on budget and performance at a board level meaning, that they will recruit people with very diverse industry backgrounds. ALso a given company may have a strategic agenda to move towards sales or integration to that other industry or want to have some of the management style important and translated from there. The best example is in Biotech, where bosses now are often recruited from pharma/medical equipment manufaturers into marketing to get "closer to the patient and work in a more regulatory environment". To an SMB biotech this is the kiss of death for many a flexible marketeer as they bring in all the baggage from MBA challenge management and matrix reorganisation... but that's another story. It may be that a particular company bring in a marketing manager/director who is very CRM / IT experienced with heavy hands on project and people management from a totally alien industry for another example.

Okay, so going ugly early means picking out the girl in the disco who will provide experience for the virgin man-manager whilst the others chase after the skirts of the glamerous ad agencies, FMCG companies and big IT companies. Going unglamerous to get a position to manage and even better build up a marketing / >S&M team is really a good idea as you can always jump back into something more glamerous later. Trying to climb the man management tree in a down sizing, super profile company is just making your odds to high unless you are a very talented marketeer and politician.

The Trophy Bride

Having said go ugly early, that's all well and good, but perhaps you do want to work at some hot shop agency or marketing department. The trophy girl freind is a strange phenomenon- a middle messig guy suddenly pulls and keeps an absolute stunner. The shine rubs off as now he attracts a lot more attention from other girls and respect from the guys. As a youngster, maybe they split up, but he gets back in with a chopice of girls and hey-presto- another stunner! Sound trite to you?? Well no, it is a real effect and happens in business life. Guys are mostly not clint eastwood, whilst there are more recognisably pretty girls out there. And girls are way better at jusding the relative looks and appeal of other girls, so you get rated second hand. Also the guy who has dated Miss Dakota, becomes far less afraid to approach other glamerous girls, who may actually be fed up with the smooth, arrogant shaggers and possive maniacs they usually get propistioned by. Just so in business life. I worked quite a short time at McCanns, but still people pull this out in interview or conversation!

Having a trophy bride on your CV pays dividends because you get a lot more respect. It builds a branded credibility for you. It's outright unfair. You can actually be a little threatening for small companies thereafter in fact, but extablishing you wortked within a small, tight knitted team at Coca Cola is probably a way around it.

People believe there is somethign magic about working for a blue chip- I think there is something magic about working for a start up or gazelle SMB but there you have it! Big companies work with more reporting and hot air meetings than small. Instead of the owner-director megalomaniac there is the divisional manager/director job nazi. It's suprisingly similar to work for a small company in rapid expansion with demanding investors. In a large company you maybe have a tighter sphere of authority but must influence more people to get things done. You get promoted in any company by doign a good job and being sureptisoulsy up the bosses ass.

Small, established companies tend to have directors who mingle in networks outside and actually spend a lot of time with hot air and eye-off the ball. Fast moving companies can't gaszp for breath and shoot from the hip. A trophy bride helps them buy you.

After some more years of experience and especially given you have a speciality, like bitoech or IKT/CRM, then you have to decide if you are going to be a big company salary and benefits guy, join a gazelle at the right time or actually start something yourself. I've decided to join a pre-gazelle when ever I can, or a start up incubator as an internal consultant, exiting with the best firm I can. I think the risks of not succeeding are less than the big company risks of merger and downsizing!

But if it's blue chip and divisional director /silo manager you name it for you here are some tips

1) get in the door with a clear possibility for advancement: your back ground fits and the employee before you is promoted. If you can't get a good entry job or there is some magical glass ceiling, like having an PhD or MBA, work around it: get either a trophy bride or man-manage with a go-ugly-early girl, erm, job!

2) work hard, work visible! get browny points and jump through hoops. Assume responsibility and authority over some projects you get the chance to, and exclude your enemies. Get recognised.

3) expand your MSc into an MBA

4) suck up to the right bosses. Be relaxed and a little below the radar with the wrong ones and the top ones - let them gather your reputation from your line management. Be a very can do, solutions provider/finder. Be modest and fauning to those above you and kick ass to those who become your subordinates when you get a ball to run with.

5) develop a good personal branding...the do-er, the thinker/solver, the peace-maker, the people-manager , the nice guy, the triangle, the go-getter, the tight shipper ...

6) threaten to leave if you dont' get a promotion, a raise, or an advantageous job move internally.

7) work your meetings- pre-sell participants on those you can win, and wreck those you can't. Avoid ambushes.Set goals for your meetings and make structure. If the boss is leading them, kiss their ass and let them get out asap. When not running meetings, always take as much decision making off line, winning people one to one, working your way around the houses. Avoid using e-mail for anythign but approved internal comms and announcements and chittle-chattle decisions; press the flesh instead.

8) keep below the radar with the big bosses in your first year or two. If it is a smaller division, with only one director with two layers of separation, then charm them in your introduction and then ...keep below the radar. Flagg all problems to your boss and problems with your boss to personnel.

9) if an enormous multiheaded beast, network with the MBA types and avoid socialising with the lepers...these are often totally different groups between two companies...IKT can be the nerds in one while the gods in another, sales can be the untouchables in one and the marajahs in others! Get a profile with the new level of up and comers in and especially outside marketing..they are likely to talk about you as a candidate because they like you.

Monday, October 29, 2007

SO what have I learnt so far hos syslobb?

Firstly a very wise bit of advice. In an audience, as in life, seek out friends.

All my life I have been trying to tackle bullies. They love the oppmerksomhet they get. So now it's time to ignore the bullies, as if they weren't there. Also I have noticed in myself that I am much more interested in the shy person than the obvious communicator. I look for signs of openness and common interest and realise that to them I can be a sounding board and an ally in their audience! I set a price no won working with shyer folk and avoiding the more obvious extraverts.- easy come, easy go.

Secondly and most related, try, try, try to listen to your own voice. People are terrible listeners. Also they are terrible cynics mot folk like me. I need to be more of a politician...have a ready answer which is not an answer, just a statement ...or be the salesman, fight back with three open questions So it's high time to keep on with what I am interested in, where I am going, and what I want to say which brings me to...

Three three: have a message. Have a personal brand. Think what this is. Think how appearance, tone, body lanuguage contirbute to this and then think what you want to say. Think of both a strategy and a tactic and take any decisions off line when they affect you. Know where you stand with people and if you don't be careful. ....

four...coming right up from that last point. Sound people out. Are they with you or against you ? which brings me full circle back to choose friends.

A key issue for me is that I must, must offer an opinion and I am not ready when it is actually a pretty poorly thought out one or open to attack. Think of Jack andreassen..a man with seemingly no opinions. A typical norwegian who just plays his cards very close to his chest and goes with the flow. When he means something he asks a couple of questions before maybe offering a solutions.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Why Telesales doesn't work

just think of all the countless legions of telesales workers using all that electricity to sit in an office with their ass suitably heated / cooled with a whirring PC and central board operating ..and 99% of it is wasted ....

Today the bosses here wanted a great big telesales marathon from all employees. This is proving of course to be a lot of hot air. Most people of course know that taking some time to find out more about the company and trying to even evaluate their needs or aktuelleness in the market.

Telesales is hugely unproductive and only serves to support sales manager empires and a wanten lack of investment in marketing. What does however work, is telephone research and intitmate marketing.

The trouble is that these sit between two stools. Telephone research and scoping out of companies is of course not beyond the average persons ability but it is beyond the average call senter/ sales managers psychie to organise, structure, measure and the young bull, they see a cow down there and they want to run down into the heard, shag that one and if it turns them down they want to move on to the next. At the end of the days rampage, the whole heard think the bull is an asshole, but he has got in with the easy cow who actually is the company with bad economy who will sleep with any supplier, or the one who wants to make their current suppliers get a quote.

...............walk down and shag them all, says the old bull. Take your time to see th ebody language and get in tune with each cow and then when they are ready, fu'em all.

The old bull though has long since given up being a sales manager and is higher up in the feeding chain., haven given up the Omega with two slices cheese.

Now the old bull story says alot about how business structure fights against effective customer identification, conversion and retention. Sales managers understand running down and fucking a cow, then running back up, talking strategic goals just to run back down with a "quarter making" sales pitch - usually bringing orders forward on discount which is the same-old-same-old tool in the hands of the "powerful" sale mangement. Marketing are just tarts and farts. They don't grind the shoe leather and make it happen.

But the world is changing and not only are some companies embracing new forms of sales but new companies are stealing business by being more intelligence oriented and media-effective. Some SMEs are even defining their strategy as keeping small- keeping close to their customer psychically and geographically so as to focus on these relationships. Expansion is based upon :

  1. a model where the business unit scales by duplication not structural growth
  2. when their initmate customer need evolves into being a wide-marketable productised package

So what do I think works?

Well it's bad news to both the sales manager dinosaur and the kotler muska-marketeer.

It's business intelligence and intimate marketing. This is not just the reserve for B2B but also in consumer markets where visible relationships function by reference and word-of-mouth marketing...the intimacy is visible and transmissable. However, of course, as a discpipline in it works best in B2B ..Why?

B2B has a rather small customer base either from known clients and potential customers or from prospects. Marketing has got to be therefore, through channels which touch the customer in a segment ...mass marketing is usually a waste of time. Often a focus is kept on a well definable business segment which is easily targetted. This is a double edged sword because while FOCUS is good and sounds strategic, if the benefit reaps more value in another application or further up in the value-chain then the business suffers from targetting MYOPIA.

Now some B2B is actually just that in name- it is really mass consumer marketing with a transaction interface. Buying is driven by brand influences, trends, information / buying convenience, cross-purchasing (basketing). So knowing which ball-game you should play in is important as initmate marketing and business intelligence is often expensive per head of customer.

I had a new CEO come into a biotech tools company from an engineering firm and the first things he put on the MUST have list were all sales realtionship oriented around swinging "the big deals". He wanted to book the fantastically expensive bill-board above the main down esculator at arrivals in some US airport near a well known customer, JUST so he could talk about it and the committment to the bio-area with the directors at the customer. 99.9999999% of passers by would see no relevance in the ad'. It took him four years to realise that the company was in fact a mass marketing company, as it had been from outset of being DM driven!

Further to this- at this firm in one analysis I did I found out that 80% of the business came from ...wait for it-...... 80% of the customer base. A further 10% came from just 2% of the customer base i.e. there were some huge deals on the books, BUT not a focus to drive growth and investor value. To be balanced a little more to all those Harvard MBAs- the company was actually missing out on some other big deals and knew it, but this was because they were not intimate with small gazelle customers or new project R&D managers. These gazelle opportunities would suddenly scale-up and hey-presto "where are we", "we went in on price and lost , why?" and so on. To get in as a qualified/documented and approved supplier for high growth, high risk projects you have to be validated early...or rather you are an out supplier until you accept the cost of re-validation. Only one in maybe 20 of these projects goes to market or to clinical trials scale up but if you aren't in early - forget it.

So in a B2B (or some special consumer circumstances!) environment tred carefully before you actually plunge in with money for intimate marketing becuase.

  • intimate marketing is done with relative few customers pulling in relatively many employees
  • is therefore expensive in tools and internal resources
  • Communication is easy to get wrong by not understanding the customer enough
  • SO the key events, meetings, PR, sponsorship or stunt can go wrong
  • it is to build committment and trust and hence loyal non switching customers
  • Time line to purchase is critical. They must be HOT leads.

The kotler marketeers aren't liking this because they know what is coming: intimate marketing means for an organisation:

  1. multi level contact with customers
  2. shared, organastion-wide intelligence
  3. events are key
  4. risk of bad communication is high

The one group of people who are liking this so far are the product managers who have at some point worked in sales and currently work a lot with the field reps. And they like it for the same reason sales management don't:

  1. PMs take authority and marketing take over one sevy thing from SMs
  2. The brownie-point score is ridden by the PMs and not the SMs
  3. Authority is further stripped from the SMs by the multi-level contact

God, everyone gets in on the old game of chummying up to customer. Marketing come out their academic 'target segment' shells, customer services say what's really the problem, R&D talk willingly about joint NPI and customer needs to customer R&D and cheif executives get to reside over the whole thing without having the vaneer of sales management distroting the information flow in a selfserving way.

How does the key sales process 'translate' into intimate marketing then? that is the Prospecting, developing, pitching, closing and retaining cycle?

Prospecting: the whole company becomes the eyes and ears. Lost customers take on a new prominence and lost potential deals get re-examined without the sales management filter. New cutomer enquiries are treated like diamonds falling from heaven in "joined up marketing" integrated to sales and customer services. Other functions go out and meet other companies in the industry or target segment and start chin-wagging. S&M people start going to R&D conferences as participants out of their suits! R&D people start manning booths at trade shows...

Soon new customers get the feeling that the whole company cares about getting their business because they met someone who wasn't tell-selling them!

Developing, Pitching, converting: this becomes the multi level task groups which organise resources about the key meetings which will happen. Small, intimate events for less than 100 participants are organised by the PMs to channel in several potential customers. Then a focused effort of mulit-level detective work is swung into action to deliver the key intelligence on customer needs and behaviour which will inform the pitch. The pitch is done at the appropriate management level, with those delivering in the selling company attending ie. every point of influential touch with the customer is mirrored in the conversion group.

Retaining : now by this time much of the work of retention is already done. No longer is it a sale driven by price and sales-filtered information. Compared to going through one sales repsonsible and their sales boss, the whole sale is probably on a shorter cycle to close. Also the resources are already lining up, and not stuck blind infront of the 'closed deal' from a suicide or volume based quote. True costs and implications of "resource alignment" at the vendor are much more accurately assessed and hidden costs or opportunities to bill for support services are aired and not swept away by the "close now" old fashioned sales channel.

Now traditional sales management hate all takes away that deal doing, commission getting thrill and power from them. To begin with they think, hey great, I get those dossers in marketing to pay for my meetings...which is the trojan horse senior managerment and marketeers should for customer group meetings with high value content for the attendees. When R&D turn up, the SMs get a little nervous. Customer services can be patronised away, but when PMs run the show then there can be outright war because the writing on the wall is KAM managed from HQ and not the field.

Intimate marketing is especially effective when introducing new products or technologies which will later take on a wider transaction market down the line. It is very worth doing to influence the opinion leaders and those inovators who have a high profile. The trickle down is good, and the initial sales or projects are of high value in either payment or later pay-back for the early "test marketing" and relationship building. In the self-same market for biotech-research tools, the best growing and stronest performing companies are using it with all their NPI and KAM work. There are many other B2B markets, (it's B2B which employs the most marketeers actually) for which this approach is very suitable.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The alternative, lateral thinking and naughty tricks side of job hunting for MSc Marketing Students/ Graduates.

Guilt is often a motivator in my life....... as is sheer boredom! The eagerness to share is also there. But mainly it's the guilt of knowing that you folks from the MSc 2007 and 2008 will face not only a tough time getting jobs, but a hell-ride in progressing your career and even occiasionally holding onto a job. No one came and spoke to us way back-when I did the MSc.

So What Are the tricks?

What are the alternatives firstly-

Firstly consider this- many a young post graduate learns the ropes of a small business while on a summer job or placement, or just biding time and paying bills post graduation/peri graduation.

However often they think the long hours, financial risks and sheer tenacity of starting their own wee enterprise are not something for them...they then go out and get a job in an ad' agency? duh!...d'ya get my point?

Most marketing people will at some point end up working 14 hour days for a mediocre pay and under a false illsuion that they are in safe employment. Experience informs we of a bit of grrey hair to work clever, prioritise and push back...and of course delegate to the minions..

However, starting your own business is a very worthwhile alternative, even if you at some point fail. I mean anything from window cleaning to a new software and internet company set to take on youtube. I choose window cleaning because a friend of mine did just that- cleaned windows to scratch a living. Last time I was over he had about four different business areas employing maybe 100 people - be that on mostly part time basis,...but hey, it's impressive despite the unglamerous nature of it all.

I did the round for the boys a few times when they were busy way back when. They started without even a credit rating and just begged, borrowed, stole and got support from the local enterprise people for some training. At some point soon they are going to walk into a business opportunity which has better margins and just requires hard work and dedication to the customer. Then they will be rich. Originally they set out as a business to make houses look finer, not just clean windows!

So the best way to apply a lot of you knowledge and attitude to marketing being a key, neigh integral driver of a business is to start your own idea.


Another area which is not for the feint hearted, but a realistic option for most, is to get in early. Be on board at a Gazelle business or even an early stage new start up. Googles VP marketing (or th elike) was the girl they rented a room from when they made their first search engine in 1996.

There are two routes- the gaselle, first tuesday clubs. Find out what, who and why and do some targeted homework. Go along maybe in a suit with your tie undone and here are some tips:
  • Avoid the issue of who you are or what you are currently doing -
    • focus on what excites you about business X. Focus on where you are going with your masters...where you'd like to use your business school education next. Avoid saying that you are a student.
    • On the latter - do you homework on who is going to be there, presenting or in the audience. Find something which excites you or is clearly getting near marketing budget time!
  • Avoid saying you are looking for a job---if you do, then you are just another mouth to feed and not a contributor yet.
  • Say you are interested in hearing more on this and looking at possible areas you could maybe get involved with early on.
  • Think of money as the noise you will no doubt make ...even say means getting in early and using your skills and personality is more important that pay per se.
  • ..say you'd really like to sit down and here about the business model and the challenges ahead and see if you can either do something for them or put them in touch with someone
  • If pushed about what you actually are doing right now, say okay, I'm fresh out of business school masters and looking to work really hard in something new where your drive and committment will count more than resting on the laurels of ten years experience! Youhave this advantage over all the family men and the broody brides.
  • Leave a business card and ask to take theirs and get a meeting on this basis.
  • In following up, don't ever send your Cv. Kiss of death. Instead get a meeting and talk about what their aims are and what their needs are for people to cooperate on or come on board. Walk away if they are too busy. If you really like the business find another contact at them and say you were speaking to Mr X, and thought it was really interesting....
  • Get it down to specific projects- make it clear that you have a network of people you can chase around ( your class, lecturers, the local enterprise companies, your family contacts, all these people's LinkedIn contacts, the other people you met punting wares as first tuesday etc do the shoe leather and keep the left hand ignorant of the right...
  • If it is going no where, get to know who their investors are and who their advisors are. Which names at the LECs, the venture capitalists and the financial auditors/managemtn consultants. You'll soon find it's a small world in any given area and you will start to get referalls both ways int he mesch!

Which brings up one point and leads to the next. So point one- this is really all about the elevator conversation / fly pitch when you sneak up on someone using their vanity and enthusiasm to talk about what they do and present your personal brand..which is something like:: business school masters candidate eager to use their grey matter and work really hard, being as tenacious as hell!

Now this takes us to more on networking

Gazelle Advisors

There are swarms of bees on the honey pot of entrepreneurs. Mostly they want to give advice on strategy ( high fees) or link investment to ideas ( small % but lots of cash when it comes).

90% of this for a good business idea in hard working hands, is hot air and slime. But however there are some very good LEC people ( local enterprise) for instance who can often take you on a project with a view to placement or just recommend you. Also there are good, specialist marriage firms who link investment to new ideas glued together with experience and some personnel who can bob in and out of several companies without being a burdon on any one.

There is always a gravy train and a bear train...the gravy is soft capital and government grants while the bear is VC. It is very clear in a company if they are competatn in either or both of these regimes can just smell it in the air. A gravy trainer will be a consultancy who have pressed all the right admin and qualifying buttons at the LEC. ( Or the LEC internal empire itself!) The atmosphere will be excited or glib...they will be arrogant, but maybe a little funny in meetings. They will want to see if you can smooch and not upset or challenge people. They want you to be a nice little girl or boy.

At the Bear Train they are hooked into serious sharp capital who are expecting high competancy. The atmosphere will be like a lamb walking into a corrie with eagles at every precipice. They will ask sharp, challenging questions. They will be expecting sharp, conservative answers to go with the suit and tie. They will be no fun to work for, but if they are a McKinsey of this world in miniature or big, then you will get a couple of hell years on your cv in gilt pen. Worth it's weight in gold to your career, especially with a big name in man'cons' investing in gazelles.

At a failure in either there will be an obvious nervousness. Right from the minute you walk in the door. The receptionist will either be a temp or know that they shoudl be looking for a job. No recpetionist is always a sign of a cash-strapped company. Are there empty desks? Are they moving premises? A bit like the VC advisors above, they will be hawking at you, but nervously and in an agitated way. They are quite likely intereted in either getting you free or finding out if your daddy has money. They are usually the type who butt-in at First Tuesdays when they see you, a young gun, cornering someone older. This is because they are desperate to survive. Usually as a seeker of a job or in my case business, they are only worth the list of their former "client" companies who have refinanced or exited to an FPO/ PLC etc.

The Dirty Tricks book of Job Hunting

Now for those of you who follow this so long, now you desserve a bit of dirty tricks when it comes to getting a job rather than all this networking at first tuesdays and lesbian in business breakfasts.

1) mulitple applications: okay I cannot in writing advocate that you write multiple fictitous applications to jobs from several temporary H-/G-mail accounts which lack mobile numbers. That would be a very unscrupulous thing for a person to contemplate. Perhaps instead you coudl ask your mates in employment to send in a CV and see if they get a bite. Then they can either just cancel the interview or recommend you directly as a substitute available and interested. You swing in to look for cancellations the day they cancel.

Alternativley: if you find a job on more than one web site then you can risk spamming them, especially if it is a rectruitment consultancy. You can always politely explain away three CVs coming to them, but the chances are they will skim read and delete two only to then come back to your latter version with interest once they can't get 20 CVs to forward.

2) work around recruitment can be very obvious when a company is starting a new in your country, region or market segment. Use the consultancy to find out who the employer is, politely decline to take it further and then go direct to find the marketign director and the personnel contacts. Go direct, open application maybe a week after the rectuitment contact if they had got your name and details already...darn you slipped up there.

3) Use sales interviews to weed your way in. ( also relating to 2 above) Companies are always recruiting new sales people because like you and me, most people see sales as a cheesy way to make a living. It doesn't have to be at all, but the shit sticks. Use my earlier tactics in a previous blogg to get forward in the interview process to the HQ interview and when away from sales managers get an idea of who they recruit into marketing and if they have vacacncies. Sya to them that if the current career opportunity falls through - you are generally really interested in the company and would move to HQ if something else came up. leave a business card and a very marketing version of your CV at personnel or better yet with the marketing director or a brand manager for example if you get introduced.

4) LinkedIn is a great networking tool with respect to 3) above and many other routes. You can search by company and get introduced. Great way of doing it...but eventually the spammers will get in there. So use it now and get a big network of 100 + in the next year.

5) work around personnel...often they will just black ball you. I worked at one place after many years of 'failed' applications and psychographic tests only to discover they had an unusually high level of roman catholics working there...I never dared to ask if it was truly favouritism, but it was as thick as the south bank of the boyne in 1690 with them!
It was something to do with personnel being able to screen out candidates at will, and as soon as I was at a level to speak to marketing director level I got offered a job---working round in fact a recruitment consultant at the same time.

6) when let down, but asked to keep your CV on file, phone up and make a point of not having it there. Aks them kindly to destroy it or send it back. Don't give a reason. This does two things
a) it means you are fresh each time you take a bite at the cherry. A name is easy to look up in a file of CVs and then say " yeah, we had this guy in before" . It means that you can have a better lookig CV next time even if you didn't get any more experience.
b) it will get them a little interested in you...they will probably say something like " we will quite likely be rectruiting in marketing shortly.." Get in for an open-interview with marketing people on the back of this.

7) do paper CVs..people have overload in box and screen fatigue. Recruitment consultants often have an all whistles web site, but prefer to send paper on because of this! If given the choice send a paper CV in, addressed "private and confidential, addressee only" so your classmate temping in reception or hte mail-room doesn't send it to round filing cabinet, floor located. By all means follow it up with an e-post which takes me to..

8) hit hard on your personal branding and send a CV accordingly...refer to job history as an available addennum. Focus on your can do's, have covered at business school, projects completed or worked upon (incl. univeritys) and most of all your personal qualities and ambitions. This is best for open appliations or just chancing your arm for a brand manager job. Send one (in paper or on their web site) to personnel and find out who the marketing manager / director is and send one by post as in 7) Make an impact on who you are and where you are going rather than where you have been.

9) as on these monster, step stone or large employer web sites, always tease with your actual work history if you can get away with it. Me, i've changed jobs on a regular basis or boredom and malcontention, but hey I'm not goign to be "branded" as that!! Once again focus on your personal brand and where you are going. Leave work history or include the business school course as a cheeky "employer" to give a continuity, leaving it out of education. These things are searched on tick box key words and not firtsly on your academics.

10) Keep in touch with your old mates at the business school. add them into linked in. Many of the MSc students will fail at being able to work in a non structured environment and you can swing in on the ir bad luck. If they are on the up, they should be recommending you verbally or via LinkedIn. Find out where as many of them are working as possible and if you are in a shitty job y1, chase up 12 months later to all these. Some will be "moving on".
Furthermore keeping in touch is great not because they are much more worth than a pint with a view down their cleavage now, but that they will be most important in networking into a better company in five years time from now. I gave up on them all. Shit.

Pick 12 class mates you either fancy or are actually mates with and make a point of seeing one each month AT LEAST. Whittle out the losers and focus on building a career network based on maybe four or five. You may not like them all that much, but their mates may be yet more fanciable or actually work in companies with proper marketing budgets! In terms of mates and jobs, "your people" who will invite you in to play are never more than three degrees of separation away and usually just one or two! God- the shags I've had from ex uni girls and freinds of a friend I just happened to take a pint with. In your late twenties it all becomes network and sublte introductions and mathc making , like it or not. Cold calling ends about 29. Onøly go to a disco with a network thereafter. Same goes in working life to some extent.

12) ladies...women have two big advantages in getting a decent job in marketing in decent company..the work suits a feminine style of agreement seekign while offering companies a chance to even out their gender balance in "management". Secondly they can tart their way in. Sods! A pretty girl even working reception is 10 times more likely to get a job in same company as a bloke from the same MSC or BSc.

Girls, you have it made if you are pretty or at least have a good curve or two. Just remember the whole whoare / madonna thing. Go tarty on days when you are NOT going to the boozer with the guys....when i say tarty, it's got to be short skirts and low blouses or tight t-shirts. On days of going to the boozer, dress conservatively in line with what marketing generally wear. The aim is to tease but be a nice girl. And the same goes for any dating ...just tease and get to know how marketing works- who calls the shots, who is leaving, getting promoted, useless, ugly, unpopular.....never shag in the department until the job contract is signed and you are appointed there!!

girls have the last great advantage of erm, being one of the girls. This means coming in with a marketing MSc to an entry level job where you maybe better qaulified than the boss is ok. Big no, no for a guy to guy thing.

last and only for the priveledged few- nepotism

14) nepotise and be evil: I have never had a good fanily network but you probably do! You are probably only two degrees of separation max away from your dream job and someone in your family 'owns someones' ass" there. They can be a supplier or a customer. This is very, very common amonsgt the lesser public shcools in england. MDs are pissed off that said expensive education has lead to shitty networking and so daddy uses dirty tricks. They coerce either suppliers by force / will of suggestion or bribe potential customers with their secring the business, or discount by employing offspring on other projects. Quite a few business deals are signed on the back of kid A getting into a job, and marketing is often the soft touch for an extra cadavre on the pie charts and point of sale material.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Drags on and on...

It seems like this organisation here is just a little helvete for the time being.

There is nothing too clear to chase after and only competitors and not cooperators for me.

Days were becoming a bit of a carbon copy so today I bought a city bike card and looked for jeans "down town" ...horrid shopping malls....asylum seekers wasting their money in african themed cafes...romanian beggars.

The ony good advice I've had so far is:

1) that networking is the way forward and a focus must be added to that.

2) Also to go with this a personal branding is important and just giving a little interest in the other person and their circle...the step one away is often the one which pays. The elevator pitch with the key two scentences is to be included in all communications

3) there ain't a lot of demand for what I have to sell. Even ford kennedy and schebbie had to move south apparently- so you have to be mobile if you are a specialist.

So what is my key two scentences? My MMO ? My own brand foot print?

Well it also has to be adaptive. I need to work the recruitings byrå with a slightly more KAM / marketing and also maybe some interesting companies on the B2B front for at least an "In"

this is where competanse kartlegging comes in I suppose- to pick out several potential spiss points and to then focus a couple of target messages to the market segments.

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Personal Branding

As pointed out to me today, once again,in life it is all about self-actualising . This is the reason that my seilas career has gone so well...I can use my personality without the feeling of needing to adapt away from that which I am.

This is the key for actually solving this little puzzle- why I am such a good sailor. It is in large

a: competanse finds expression without skepticism
b: I am competitive- I want to do a good enough job to win
c: I like the team, the interaction and being bossy
d: I challenge and suggest and refuse to accept
e: Coinversely I do bend to the consensus / or boss and let them make their own mistakes, biting my lip sometimes without moaning or challenging
f: i am prepared in light of e to talk about things "off line" and seek agreement backstage.
g: I feel equally important to everyone but the owner/driver and I feel in tune with them!

In work on these same points

a: I don't always prepare my competanse. It is often challenged. I listen too readily to criticism. I don't trust my abilities. I don't revise and train often enough eg marketing books, mol biol papers

b: I hide my competitiveness. I bow too much and listen to others opinion - I should learn to listen to myself and them whom I should influence

c: I hate the team because they seem to not like me. I like the boss. I am teachers pet. I give too much when I interact.

d: I show frustration instead of challenging or being able to walk away. I suggest good ideas in front of the wrong people. I should "keep it in the bag" and come up with other suggestions. I give more importance to other peoples ideas.

e: I bend to consensus too early- I show frustration and alienation at this- this is tolked as childish and egotistical behaviour. People bully me , side line me because they find I am like an odd stand off guy.

f: I give up too easily, go muttering away with the 'decision' without playing the houses like Fabienne was so expert at. I don't see the back-stage politics. I don't just walk away with a "I'll think about it"

g: I feel probably as capable as everyone, but end up feeling inferior. I have this strange inferior-superiority complex from the West Coast of scotland. It is to do with bad body language. I should feel the situation more and if I am in a strong posiiton or in a good mood I should focus on my input being equally important as others. I should not be impatient. I should do a jack andreassen and cut off at the right time by reading "interest" body language. Learn to take the conversation when it can be taken. Find freinds instead of enemies, and find resolutiuon instead of conflict on some points.

Adaptive Workstyle
From the DISC I knew I had an adaptive workstyle at IVGN which supressed my

1) enthusiasm
2) drive/ dominance
3) influence

Yet at the same time it did not give me time to develop my precision with admin which I could have jumped the hoop of. In fact, had they screened me with a view to the wee admin lassie thety were really looking for, then my profile would have failed and rightly so. However for a general IVGN PM role, I actually pass pretty well.

On HUPI I go in a little more depth, It uncovers a deep lack of self confidence and a mistrust of people- a healthy skepticism I and tor arne agree on. But also a lack of self-actualisation which also goes hand in hand with a good dose of self-skepticism. A percieved need to adapt my current and future work styles away from that which passes to my personality- dvs- to become more objective, colder, assertive whilst NOT being enthusiastic, dynamic etc

Think of archie paton- he did very little details, he used other people. He was a show man and a mizxer. THen think of louise- she was total control. No one liked her apart from that doormat she had working for her and her boss...get the picture. To be the alpha male like person a marketing guy has to get into something new, early!

TAS recommends a joint KAM- marketing profile will get me at least a lot of airtime with the byrå. So lets committ to that.

It showed very realistic team abilityies in the "medmennesklig" området and very high reasoning abilityies. This would suggest that KAM with an intellectual kind of stand point would be good. Perhaps it's more the people processes I should concentrate on- the customer DISC, the customer's standpoint, the customers' smokescreens.

I still see a lot of drawbacks with KAM for me. I probably need more team interaction, but perhaps can get this on the customer side. Also I don't give a f.. about cars, particularily if it means long journeys and long hours in wet, frozen, snowie, hot humid eastland.

My comfort zone says "go marketing", sit and write reports, attend meetings, build up slowly- but not only will I have to wait for an international job to come up, I am back of the queue as far as the rekrutting byrå go. KAM woudl challenge me to come out this and use:
1) influence. Enthusiasm. Drive
2) infomasjonsformidling

all the issues I am good at within

while developing

1) patience, empathy, listening
2) proactiveness, follow through, deliver,
3) sense of achievement- self confidence-self actualisation
4) trust in people and seeing the good.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

I have a rather annoying pal who I managed to find an excuse to dump after he tried to invite himself to use our hotel facilities with access 24hours.

What was annoying was his over inflated self image, and his outright bitchiness with mates. His ego got carried away with itself many times but i humoured him because of the links to my better half.

Of course now there comes the flagrant boasting arena of the web and his CV appears for all to see. Also he advertises his services to young ladies via the web. All failry blatant and it wouldn't take a minute to track him down and have him bumped off if you were that kind and knew a cheap and very nasty polak.

His use of the web is unashamed- he even boasts his own name site "dot com" , lucky to get the name. It makes a few of the right noises while still looking like a student project from 1998 with it's landing page and cringing use of 'business people' from the photo libraries. His CV is a download as a pdf, oh yes, he knows a thing or to about interactivity don't you know!

Now on his linked in he goes a little further with the fibbing and smnoke screens than his CV. Probably because he can at the flick of a button, remove the offending items or explain them away. In two jobs I know for a fact that he knew he was leaving, and used a postponement in cesation to get a temporary promotion. He worked in finance sales to the trade, B2B, yet he cleverly avoids any mention of by what value he actually increased the business. Also mysteriously he actually worked for the same company but this was paved over by mergers and a 'secdondment' rather sweetly to avoid the whole issue of 'sticking in the mud' . In fact he makes it look like he didn't bumble along in a crappy sales job for 6 years at all!

I caught him in a sales call once when coincidentally I worked near one of his customers ...they had an all glass, open cieling show room and there he was in the middle of the gold fish bowl, giving it the hard sell like the current idiot of a tory party leader. Forhead forward eyes beady and staring locked on the target ( who was supposedly a mate!) , head tilted " this is important and I am patronising you". In fact I think the whole venture probably came to an end. No doubt he would have stats to support his great rise in the company, but no doubt 50% would be a little stretched of that which is not pork pies.

It's kind of interesting that bloggin began as a psuedonym, anonymous oft fantasy or real meanings/ attitudes outlet( names changed to protect the guilty) . People were afraid of stalkers and afraid of just standing out and being taken at their published word. I took the bait and also the hook of vanity do hope that people read the blogg and get some fun or some inspiration out of it.

But blogging is quickly becoming the new personal PR of the ultra yuppie and MBA super manager world. Like music clubs, entry is cheap but only those who give a shit about the turn go in and spend some time hanging out. The magical, what have they got, what do they know, how can I assail their dizzy heights?? all this leads to an ego fantasy which is far less restricted than the go between press. In fact the press probably hate it---full and unbiased story on the blogg a couple of hours after the crafty journalist spun their exclusive article. It's important not for the job they are in but to be headhunted to the next...and the content is probably like watching paint's not hte content which is talked about, it's the presence...... they just dare to do it and they are known, or should be a 'name' amongst the first tuesday folk and the failed rack of MBAs out in shitty SME land or on the farm at county crappy operational division. All the wankers who want to be in "strategy" rather than getting on with the job at the coal face.

Anyway, it's a place for rampant egoism backed up by the narcisisstic vanity publishing aspect - just as much- as the web is a place for any other freedom of personal expression. $30 per month, ADSL - assymetric digital shite line......the assymetric part being that you feel you are more important than you actually are

I've decided not to Down Size ( see the "dampers are on" blogg ), but to Right Size myself. On the web this means maybe the use of Linked in on a bit of a teaser basis. Keep my career focus and be ready for a stepping stone job. Otherwise I'll leave "super size me" to mr Hosea...

Monday, October 08, 2007

Sooo I took my action to take action and got myself on the course pisslib.

great...we give some lectures and then you do the rest and keep it perpetuating for us at the same time...pretty nice to slip a lot of the sales side in a small business

But it has a very, very high success rate based on the use of the sys concept sell to actually do self- networking .... so out we pop on the streets with the idea and the 'in'. Luckily it works in both types of labour market, but being 'bull market' for we seekers then it is still good to get around the mass of applications from wage-players, dream job upgraders and grass-is-greener chancers.....

Problem now is that we have a surplus of worn out old marketers and the guys my age are all kind of whacky alternative lifestyles in shoes, shops etc ...that is to say no one is a helper and most are a hindrance...and vice versa

The fine arse (with some bum cleavage showing the top of two fine, big buns and boobs to match) which just walked in to hassle me is just an example...people here express opinions and talk about that which seems a little more than 'talk about the weather' but in fact it is just that really

Ossholites are very judgemental and gang is enough...people never really ask after me or the like...they give opiniions and cut me off and talk about something else....I just don't fit and any case most of them aren't lookign for anything and are a bit injured and lame

I feel so excluded as to really consider not continuing but I need the practical / physical prodcess as the kick in the ass catlyst to my next step.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

big stones first

Job Hunting for the Strathclyde Uni MSc Candidate is further down the page BTW.....

Things finally seem to be coming together here.

After a bad year I decided to put MY big stones in the jar. ...and as if by magic I suddenly had time for the wee stones and started to see the family stone as not one which is tied around my neck.

The stones were self respect and independance...cycle tours and walking, yobbs being on the back burner. coupled to the odd hand shandy to keep that at bay.

Strange that now I feel really on the cusp of something...joining the 109 is like a really pleasant surprise. The people are nice, the ra cing is pretty good and the challenges are there for me ...but without all the frustrations and pauses of many previous boats.

For starters on the night before I reckoned that the no3 needed to go between the shrouds for beating...riktig!!! it took much better just like that. Like I felt the rig and looked at the mast and reckoned with a need for way more uppers and some more d2 and less d1s. the rig bounced about and both sails needed slipped out in the 28-32. Bothe the lee shrouds and the forestay were pretty unstable. But I trimmed main and we eased jib. Just goes to show that dinghy style can pay and we were fast and even on height ( if a little low for my 'liking') But the helm coudln't just feather which showed the sails were too full. Maybe the slot was not enough open too.

There is a kind of relaxed enthusiasm on board.

This boost is going to last a while and take me into a new career....

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Job Hunting While on the MSc Marketing Course at Strathclyde University
part 12...the final countdown

As an exercise it is aimed at preparing the strathclyde university marketing MSc graduate with some advice, approaches and even tricks in the job market. Further the student should get a grasp of setting goals and planning their career.

....quantity and quality

as mentioned, you will have set career goals and know some steps which can take you towards that. You should have an idea of your first career move and foot on the ladder. Don't be afraid to chance it and aim a little higher, but onlyu when your USP is super-relevant or confidence is high.

If your first goal is some expereince in that industry at an entry level job(or with the type of IT tools you wioll be using later) then you may find that you have a choice of job offers after quite a short search in areas like customer services, admin, retail-supply chain, IT-data work or internal-sales / telemarketing.

However if your first rung on the ladder has the label 'marketing', or 'advertising' then you will always face high competition by all the means possible IF the job is OPENLY advertised. Also for very sexy companies you will be up against many, many spec applications from other enthusiastic graduates.

TIP- go unsexy...forget glamerous...go for a marketing job or first step in something very unglamerous..sewage/waste B2B....mail fulfillment...printers. This will help you get on the ladder with a titlle like marketing assistant which you can use to sell over to other positions towards your goal. TIP on YOU interviewing THEM- "you can judge a company by it's carpets and coffee" - keith melvin, 1995.

Now you will have to note that there are hundreds of applications for jobs which are like Herald or marketing week, MPM advertised. Still go for these with the tactics discussed before..calls , photos, call backs, getting your CV early-in person. But your real quantity of effort will be in looing for the needle in the haystack. The job opportunity for which there are maybe just 10 applicants or even better as has worked for me...the job which is MADE for you!! ( i've had maybe three or maybe four!! )


1) The internet and e-mail are great...but full of spam and huge m\numbers. Use your head...look focused in on the companies you want to work for and get names for personnel and marketing in there. Send paper based letters of enquiry, marked private&confidential addressee only, instead of e-mails to marketing people. Take the time to apply on line after first contact and only send a CV if invited. Use the web service.

2) use the wee companies...look for the smaller web sites, the smaller recruitment firms and the smnaller players in your field of interest. Especially when these happen to have big clients!!

3) as in 1, trawl your wider industry and it's supply chain on the web and keep on going back to careers to see if they are recruiting

4) look for the weird job titles or search options and non marketing ones on the big search / job sites

5) look at the herald and scotsman job sections 13-18 months ago for marketing assistant jobs. The takers will believe you-me be moving on jobs!

6) look at the senior level new marketing departments or budgets appearing...get your CV into the company's personnel and then find out who the new director/manager is.

7) think a bit laterally- remmeber people believe you have more to offer and will work harder IF you are in a job already...a little story / tip

TIP- retail and supply chain. I marked this in bold above, because this can be a very good step into an industry and gie you some good behind the scenes views of trade channel marketing and the effect of advertising and brand on consumers.

lets take a hypothetical example ( i worked in dales cycles, but with no bike manufacturers in scotland it was very unlikely to move on for me being a bit cale-sticky!)

You are into sport X. You now go out to all the shops win glesga or home town and get interviewd for shop jobs over the summer. You then move on to work for a wholesaler in say, order handling, or to the most sexy shop in scotland. You get to know some of the reps from the big brands and know when they are leaving the job or they have to cover scotland from say Bristol! You get a job as a rep and then hey presto you are a year or two later a brand manager for whoever you are with or would like to be with....all from a part time job with real hands on consumer contact and as I say, you are all eyes and ears to the sales banter and the channel marketing.

this is the real networking and using the inevitable screen of recruitment consultants in getting on...working in the general industry to get specific experience at the sharp end will be a big USP at the end of the summer or come the 2008/ 9 january-february hiring-blitz. It puts yuou in a very postive light when networking especially as it impresses... it's like offering to make the tea for a year without having to do it! i.e. you shopw you will grovle and shovel shit with an ambition to move can graft and you are a bit savey. just dopn't shove it down their throats. If it's a shop job keep it in perspective and don't oversell it- but do put it in a n S&M context of how you are exposed to custoemrs and the competiting products and marketing messages.


As a jock, I know we have problems with our calvinist upbringing which is at odds with our cultural sense of pride, 'industry', rebellion, independent thinking reality of the scot as a self-object. So we some times puff ourselves up a bit too much, or the opposite we undersell ourselves. Many of us swing between the two, always adapting our behaviour infront of the wrong situations...either hiding or gloating...

It is easy for scots to get into using a lot of adjectives and presenting things as personal triumphs in a context of body language and 'bonne aire' which intervewers just dinnae like...especially sasenachs who have a bit of a superiority complex as we know.

The self same soft southerners have got their jobs by being positive, using effective communcation - neiogh near over-communicatiing ...and most of all being objective. Putting it simply many of them are able to talk more about themselves as an object and their acheivements in a matter of fact way. We scots tend to either hold back, or take even it too personally. many of the english just seem to get on and this is why when they choose to move to scotland they are far enough up the feeding chain that they get high paid management jobs over the heads of all the 'wee mary-s' who have been frustrated int heir junior marketign roles.

The key is to let other people read in between the lines. If the job says you have to be an excellent communicator, then spend a lot of time on the letter and CV, get a practice 'enquiry abou the job' phone call with the recrutiment services at the Uni and a practice interview. Plan out all the questions and counter or follow uip- questions in advance and learn how to summarise what you know about the company..while having some very specicif c examples or success they ( or you) have had. Remember the STARS and remember these can be very basic.

In a selection screen and then interview basically they want to know

'1) are they presentable, punctual and polite
2) can they communicate 2ways
3) are they a threat or are they too weak for the team*
4) can they do the minimum operations to fulfill the job
5) are they showing high motivation (emotionally- not often explicit from the interviewers)
7) are they better than other candidates in respect of 1,2,4 and 5
8) when are they available

and if you come from a recruitment agency
1) why you have been screened thorugh
2) are you just a filler interview or are you a real candidate?

These are presented in very much the order they are done consiously, but 3 can be decisive. If a fat frump just dumped is confronted by a young lithe thing then they can feel attacked. You won't get through the mental block and onto 4. On the plus side, your build up (see soon below) and your intiital presentable ness can reinforce your motivation and set the whole interview and apllication in rosey glasses.

* this is the real reaction, and is relevant to that which I wrote about scots above...firstly, are they too pompous or over enthusiastic ...are they playing too "big" in the interview. Are they a jumped up little tosser? Will they do as their told, work hard while having enough initiative to actively get things done? WIll they be my boss in two years with their MSc! Are they better looking than I I feel challenged by their physical and psychic impression. Are they too trendy or too dowdy?

A lot of what i give in this list and the undernote"*" paragraph is about "when two people collide". IF you can get over the initial hurdle and premept the first impression with the key decision maker in the interview, and your direct boss, then you have won half the battle and in a round where they are mad enough to be interviewing in excess of 15 people for the same job then you will stand out. This meas doing the ground work...having phone contact or having had an earlier networking meeting with said decsiion maker. Having laid down in your application your MOTIVATION and HOW you fullfill the points in the job description and how you are ready to take on, responsibilty.

this is why motivation shines's a kind of modesty if played's a bending in worship at the mantle of the littel emperor and his or her god-dom in the company and industry..."I will work for ytou, oh great litte demon" . Motivation further breaks down the barriers have at least a 1/3rd emotional buy fromt he decision makers and it can be 90% ...motivation plays to this side..the emotuional peri-conscious touchy feely factor.

For me most successful interviews have been based on t he ground work leading up to the offer of interview. The focused letter and Cv and the follow or or premeptive enquiry. This laid the emotional path as well as the concrete road to " can do job at hand". In fact it has probably oversold me for some jobs and landed me other jobs I could have done with passing over! I may not have been the best candidate before interview, but after the others played it wrong they had nothing to fall back on. So you kind of get secletcte dby a process of elimiation...the others are hit hard by not getting over the emotional hurdle...they have somehow turned the interviewer off or not show the right motivation for the job.

To be frank if I had applied my usual techniques to jobs just beyond my immediate phsicalgraft then I would have got some of them - instead, being too shy or just not confident enough to do it.

Vey often it comes down to a job where there are some gaps for you to move into and you get the opportunity to dare and do this by showing the motivation

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Strathclyde university business school

to the MSc Marketing classes of 07 and 08....

more career tips

MMO - method revisited

Although motivation is the key and opportunity can close the deal, you do need to present how you will meet their requirements beyond hard work and keeness!

One way is to do the matching letter or CV- this is where you match their explicit demands with your abilities and experience. You may also care to think hard about their implicit needs- like working long hours to achieve good results, persuading people, negotiating and so on...

I have actually not really found this to be too successful but then again it is not a technique often taught or given as example.

As the new graduate you may well have a USP for the job- when matching this to their explicit need then you should give not only the overview but at least one example of how you showed this USP.

Several points people will look for in a one year experience vacancy for exampl, such as experience in market research- these you can blagg over a little with a) you have experience in the design of questionnaires/ studied it/ exposure to it b) you are very motivated to use your very practical course work in this area.

using a mixture of abilities, experience, examples and then just raw enthusiasm in showing motivation will help you a lot because at the level of jobs you are looking at, no body ticks all the boxes. If they do then they are moving on up the ladder!! Marketing assistant / account exec roles are all about seat-of-the-pants experience making i.e. " experience is that certain quality you obtain the exact moment after you most required it"

To re-cap once again:

you will get a job if you do the following

1) apply to anything within reason i.e. anything up to two years experience, which takes you in some way a step nearer your goal. Widen your geographical net for this job as much as you can.

2) present your USP and MMO well at every point of the process

3) have a photo on your CV and make sure it gets to all the decision makers

3) phone up to ask about the job- get the person making the decision or at least they whom will be your boss or nearest coworker

4) be prepared for interview with your MMO, your career goal and as many relevant STARS as you can think of...add some implicit such as ability to negotiate and compromise, ability to influence/organise/see a job through/ acheive something big! Leave a business card at interview. OH! Before interview, arrange a mock inteview with careers service. Discuss the job a day or more before it and then treat it like the real thing when you go!

5) try to follow up interviews and get constructive feedback on why you didn't gett he job or how your application looked or any mistakes.

6) repeat above to interview stage five times and hey presto! at least one job offer


well, you are likely to get into a situation where some monkeys are off loaded onto 'newboy/girls' back and you are given very vague marketing goals and responsibilities. You need to get yourself into some projects which take you towards your career goal. Also you want to dump off any monkeys, like mailing invoices on a friday, making tea etc. You have an effing MSc! You need to ask a lot of questions about how things have been done and also more importantly about what they expect the marketing funciton to achieve ...then roll this down to ytourself. GO off and have a think about their goals and expectatiuons and come back with potential liltte projects for you to do.

If you work out that the company have no marketing budget, and you should do this at interview, be sceptical. Markeitng is as much about buying and using suppliers as it is about selling product!

If you read my book on ZBMing you will know that there is always money somewhere in a company and it's value chain. Firstly maybe 20-50% of the exisiting budget is being wasted by not having squeezed suppliers and shopped around. You may be paying full rate card for advertising or over the odds for 'click throughs' on the web. In any marketing budget you need to spend a lot on presence ie. space and time with the target audience but you also have to make sure that the creative and message is good enough to be worthwhile spending so much on space. So squeezing money out of ad space is the first place to call on.

Secondly you want to think about annual budgets and increasing them if you need to have a bone fide plan for this and explain why this may work- for instance you may have foudn that web is the key source for new, high profit customers and you want to expand on this support to meet demand and capture more traffic. Then also think about WHEN you spend. I had a client who spent two years budget in about 6 weeks over an Xmas. He was an arse but getting a really good campaign up and running may mean using the rest of 2007 and the whole of 2008 budget so far. You may launch a campaig december for the xmas market but not pay for it until febuary

This brings me to a mute point- you can decide quite quickly if the job is for you...mainly based on how much money you have to spend and the people you work with. If both are not good then spend all you can and find other people's money, get a campaign running, work hard AT the sales force and get some measureable results to move jobs with in under the stupid-year thing

Now in terms of measuurability, as abusiness school graduate you wanna be savey enough to put in some new measures which basically look into how badly some marketing activities are now and in the past and then show how much impact you personally make!! Use sales data show growth people usually look at month previous year, quarter vvs pervious year or year to date versus previous YTD. If there was a very good month it can be a bad idea to look for follow up saels growth in yor current year...if there is a historically very bad month which is seasonal, like january, avodi that too.

THINK P's Please!

Now you are in the desk, you can relate to the big 5 or 6 Ps- ask yourself after 6 to 12 weeks int he job whcih you really OWN? It's unilkely marketing will own price, but it may on the other hand be that you own packaging. In terms of PLACE you may have to battle it out on two fronts... sales channel management (KAM etc) and the IT dept on the web front. You are responsible for the look, but you should also have a big input for the customer experience! All the time be probing these people as to what they expect, what is wrong with the set up and how you can maybe help....and then when you feel squeezed out, come with a problem-solutiion- yourstruly will do it to senior management.

I like to do a wholistic Ps listing which takes each P a little more out of it's box:

P- product and performance(or service proposition) : how is the current product? is it the right size? right formulation? What are it's USPs? What does it really do for the customer? what is the invcrement of the benefit it gives? How much value does it addd to the customers processes ? In dollar/ pounds/ yen? How much better does it perform than the competition? Is it inferior? do people have a brand-emotional attachment to product or company brand? How can it be changed?

P- Place ( and people) : where is the brand being sold? can it get a better profile? (brand development) Can it get PR where it is being sold/used? Can we get some of the shops space and advertising? How is it stocked and displayed?

P- Price (and profit!!) : do we sell competively? do sales always close on price and do we lose a trick? what is the price-point distribution curve and how should list price be related to this? how much more volume do we ask for for a given price point? how can we adapt size/seat number/duration of product or service to meet this price point? How do we increase margin ?

Packaging- how does the supply chain use boxes and immediate packaging? how is it disposed of? how is it stacked? how is it kept 'at home' ? how is it opened? can it be used with a promo message? when is it up for revi? is it the right size and volume? is the service presented in a branded /packaged way? Can I control anything to do with packaging?

Promotion- how are the channels performing? are we missing any channels in our supply chain? can we do more PR? how are we on the web? How is our message? how is our cross product branding? is company stronbger than product brand? How is our agency performing? can we have a new pitch? Is there supplier or distributor money and ad space to be had? Can we piggy back on another brand /product? How are we measuring promotional effectiveness? Do we know the target customer? are we media buying to hit them?

Then I like to think of customers-

1) those we have and keep
2) those we get who go
3) those we used to have
4) those who are really pisst at us
5) those that we could potentially have
6) those who will most likely never find the appeal of buying from us

These two tools alone can provide enough stimulation and problem definitions to get you going along a far more effective job impact than just following your MSc teachings...thinking of what you CAN own and not what you SHOULD and all that nice business strategy which helps you make the right noises in management meetings.

Another big area of concepts for you to explore is the whole risk thing...what are the implications if the customer DOESN*T solve their problem ? ie. the house will burn down. This applies just as much as in internal persuasion rounds of getting your ideas noticed.

final word of advice, by all means sound out sales managers, but if you report to a marketing director/manager or right to the CEO, get them to buy your ideas and rubber stamp their implementation. Avoid sales management for your ideas...listen to them and faugn, butthen be presedential in presenting new ideas or campaigns in the light of some SPIN. Remember they will always try to take the credit for up times and land the blame for down on you. WIth other departments in general, be all ears and get your ideas put through at a higher level, don't try to be nice and get everyone to buy in..they won't unless their boss is kissing your bosses ass.

Time to Take Stock and maybe even GTFOoH!

If the job isn't quite for you then you have one high risk option and the lower risk option. The high risk is to just confront your level this is not often a good idea, but in a small or fast growing company or department it can be important to point out your expectaions of more responsibility. The lower risk option is to document what useful marketing experience you are getting, what success you have had (in what ever small way), ask nicely for extra project to do, complete them and take your new STARs portfolio out to the job market. THEN when you HAVE a new job offer after a few 'dentists appointments' then you can go high risk and lay your wants out on the table. This is very effective for pay rise in particular!

The one piece of advice is that if you feel you are under utilised and not busy enough then GTFO, don't wait to get your year under the belt. I teach from bad experience and bad implementation...always be on the look out for new work in marketing which takes you towards your career goal and be prepared to have a couple of jobs before you start to really stick in the tracks on the right path..then really stick it out for say 4 years and get some promotion on the CV.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Strathclyde Uni Students of MSc Marketing 2007 and 2008

Yet More on pratical tips on getting a job.

The Competition

The problem for you in getting a job, whether that be in scotland as a really hard case to crack, or anywhere really, is that supply outstrips supply of starter jobs in marketing many times over!

One way around this is to of course come into marketing through the back door in large or fast growing companies by working in sales, customer services, IT / web or admin support as a temp.
These are areas where they often struggle to get motivated staff.

But a frontal approach on those first rung of the ladder jobs is not an unassailable height to attempt!

The supply in scotland is pretty high- you have say 200 marketing qualified graduates, plus maybe 100 CIM diploma each year looking for jobs in marketing- within scotland. You then have the sales personnel and that's say could be 100, and then the general business graduates which could be 1000 , plus arts graduates etc meaning say another 1000 at least !

Okay, but not all are all that serious about the job hunt, and some are really not lookign too hard, or just doing a nine to five temp job. Also many will miss a herald or a web site. And more will think about it but miss the deadline. So that cuts any particular application number for a job down to about 200-300.

Of these a good half are no-hopers, and a further amount will have a standard letter or have made enough mistakes that they just look like they present themselves badly. That cuts it down to say a nice round figure of 100.

Having a really good MMO letter and a targetted CV which covers areas they are looking for in some depth will then get you into the top 30! Putting a colour photo of you on your CV, in business dress, smiling will really, really help getting y our plucked out but some Personnel departments don't like it - so ask them! (they think it is used for racist or sexist descrimination, or just the butt of jokes in the marketing department.)

Of those 100 only 10 or so will ring up to ask questions about the job before they apply. Phoning up and speaking to two people will get you into the top 10. This means they either like your proactivity and eagerness, or they just pick you out from a huge pile of CVs arranged alphabetically or in order of receipt date. Very seldom if they put "for more information contact..." will they be annoyed to hear from you! Mentioning your name of course and that you will be applying. Following up with a call to present your high motivation for the role and ask if it is possible to have an interview may or may not help. THis can be seen as a bit pushy- confirming your apllication has arrived and leaving your name and mentioning you are really interested and wanted to check your details are inf ront of the right people is usually enough. It's no hard sell, it's goign to work. "get on the blower arfur!!"

So now out of 300 you are in the top 10!! this means a 3/5 chance of interview and with any luck at all you should get interview. Was it hard?

Are you going to write down some question snext time, and be prepared to ring u, ask them and leaver your name and mention you are very interested in the job??

The Interview- Preparation

The strathclyde careers service are really good at mock interviews, so prepare as you would normally or as you have been adivsed. Think of the questions they will ask and prepare an answer which matches MMO and remember each element of MMO must come across but the emphasis is on Motivation.

Do a fair bit of background reading on the company, it's markets and the type of marketing skills / projects they are looking to manage with you in the team. Make up questions which expand upon this and relate to the role and marketing department. FOr example, where will they be marketing to? If you speak german then this could be a USP they hadn't really thought about as for now, they use an expensive translator.

Come with copies of your CV. Your CV at this stage should have a lot of nice space around the entries and you should Leave your business card and pick up theirs if offered.

Think about the job advert. How do you mathc the requirements? THink of you Motivation. What questions do you want to ask them? How does your CV tell them you can do the job and how will you expand on the CV or get them off it all to gether? write a list of their requirements agaisnt your skills and motivations.

Also think of all the practicalities and logistik. Can you really make a 9am interview in Dar Es Salaam? Don't be afraid to ask for a later slot when 1) you will have more trains etc to get there 2) you and the interviewers will be more awake. Avoid 2pm and later than 3. 9am if you are an early bird and can reach it can be good- you set a fresh example they may rememebr as 'fisrt of the day'.

It can pay to offer to take the first interview on the phone or upon getting the letter to ask if this is possible given a tight time tabel or a long way to travel. Or just ask for a preparatory chat. If you have not heard of the company or if there is any vagueness as to the position then phone- it could be a telesales job or a company with no marketing budget what-so-ever (to be avoided by all but the very brave!)

I once had an interview in Derbyshire, Atherton I think- the highest railway station in England I think. This turned out to be 14 hours on trains or stations given the delays that happend, for a 50 min interview where i was told they actually had a brand manager in mind and would like me for a sales job. With hindsight I should have asked for a telephone interview or 'introduction'. Also I went to aberdeen for a "marketing job" which was completely vague - I had some abderdeen accountant/chicken farmer give me a one hour lecture on chucnky chikcens while every five minutes the smell of shit from the slaughtery seeped into the office! SO do look a gift horse in the mouth- and never go to far flung interviews who DO NOT offer to pay travellling costs. Even Edinburgh, ask before and if you see a manager ask them for a form or just phone up personnel afterwards and ask if you can submit a form. Phone the blighters up in advance if you have to get a taxi from the station / ariprot and ask personnel if they have an account or a driver. It is really not worth paying to go to a lot of can get an anchor interview and then pay for an upgrade to full flex, visit pals and other interviewers. Or better get two interviews in london on the same day and double the difference!!! Five interviews in the central belt of scotland could put you out of pocket by as much as £150 without travelling expenses. I mean, do you really want to work for a company too mean to pay out students interview costs??

Allow yourself extra good time- you will need time to find the place and get organised. Even better, drive to the place the day before. Ask personnel or reception if there are any special transport issues the day before for that time of travel and make sure you know your train, bus or flight is running and likely to be on time. Allowing good time also means having time to eat, pee, shower and dress immaculately. - On my 14 hour day I guess I was probaby a bit sweaty and tired and my suit a bit creased. Even on a one day interview trip, it can be worth getting chagned or havuing your jacket in a suit-carrier. A spare shirt and mayeb some wet-wipes and some deoderant and a toothbrush/paste. Remember if it is a stained shirt or bad breath that makes the only difference between you and candidate X then they will get 2nd interview!

Also to read through all your application paperwork- the letters, the CV, the original advert and notes you made. Remember the list with two columsn or three, mayching their needs to your MMO and also your list of questions.

Thorhg the interview, stop yourself from giving endless streams fo consiousness and ASK them quyestions. This breaks their mind set- they may be reading a joke printed out on e-mail by now having seen 10 cnadidates. Even simple open questions can help. But really you want to find a UBP- a ubique thing they are looking to buy in. Or a weakness pressure to fill the posituion. Find that and match you MMO and USP to the job.

At the end of the interview always ask how long it will take for them to get back to you and if you can phone for feedback on the whole process and who you could speak to. Check they have all the information they need and if they owuld like any more STARS or certificates or anyhting slese to help them. Ask if you answered the questions to their likeing with "how did youfind me in interview" and remind them of your USP. Ask when the job woudl start. REMEMBER NOW to mention your Big O- opportunity to come to 2nd interveiw at short notice, and start work/relocate etc on and before thaat date. Remember to say that you are really keen ont he job having found out more on it, don't make any excuses for yourself. Thank them, shake hands with eye contact and a smile, and leave promptly. If personnel see you out, you can ask them about travelling expenses or booking a cab on account!

Landing the Job

Now it is really a case of repeating everything at 2nd and even 3rd interview. They may be finding it hard to separate between candidates. By this time they will be more interested in someone to really DO the job and START at the right time. You need to focus on your motivation for the job. You need to have a lot more questions again on the job, the company,m the customers, the team......ones that show you are truly interested int he job and not just the salary and fringe benefits. Your "O" to start will be more prominent here and you should mention it early and late in the interview.

Go back to careers advisors and polish up your MMO - work on your abilities in the emthod and match these with Motivation. Then do a lot more background reading on the company, it's markets and the type of marketing skills / projects they are looking to manage with you in the team.

Part of your moticatiojn wil be shown in background reading...but don't be too smarty pants on the company and it's markets. Better to tell them a bit and then ask questions which bring it back round to the marketing function (or sales)

You should by now have an idea that you can use one or several USPs in the interview ... don't make too much of them, just mentione them and add' if that is of interest/rlevance? Repeat what they are looking for in a person as a question, then try to answer it.

In 2nd and in third often "offer" interviews you will find yourself asking as many questions as they do and also being more relaxed. BE more relaxed.

At the end remember to state your opportunity to start ,and your keenness in the job and working hard to make a success in this career. Also ask when you will hear again and if you can get fuller feedback on the process.

I can gaurantee you pretty much that if you do a good MMO in your letter, Phone up to ask about the job and thenpreparte for interview tiht e careers service, then get a good MMO in interview, point out any USPs and reiterate your big "O" and keen-ness then you rwill be getting interviews for at least one in five relevant applications looking for graduates or those with up to a years expereinec, or those lookign for a specialist USP like language. Of those I reckon you need to have experience in two to three interviews and then about one in five interviews will lead to a job offer!

Now how to split your application effort- they have to be good so quality over quantitiy- I think the target applications for a two to three month period should be only 25 direct contacts. Of these 10 will be graduate jobs/ one year jobs at least, with a further 10 being open applications, and five being to recrutimenet consultants for actual jobs opr for fiurms who use them. It is probably good to do some spec' applications to other 2ndry targets in the industyr and follow them up when you can with a call, or if you get a name in reply acall them and start to network a bit into the marketing department.

This may mena only one or two a week, plus some spec letters plus some networking calls and meetings. Also you have your family and freinds circle- nepotism and favouritism is rank in marketing... my predecessro in the first good agncy job, got his job because his dad gave business to the company on that condition!! Maybe you are working temporary and this level of acticity is easy to manage, It means when the mobile goes you can seem really focused becuae you rmemebr the company and have the paperwork to hand.

Temp jobsin big companies can take you places- it is at least a 'brand name' on the CV- or if it is a specialist branch you want to getr into then temping in the industry can be worth it's wieght in gold. You should underplay the 'getting a foot int he door' and just say you want to temp while you wait to graduate or whatever, and want to earn some money and get some proven, practical expereinece. They can be a bit wary about people coming into say customer setrvices or sales and buggering off to marketing from temp roles designed to get people in the door for longer careers in the former! So play it by ear- listne to what they have to say and don't offer any real ambition other than gaining experienc ein this inditry secotr or type of compnay. If they are positive to this, they will probably offer up that they like to recruit internatlly to marketing.

There are a lot of 'peri-marketing' or 'pseudo-marketing' jobs now- business analysis, IT and web to name but a few, and also all the rather dull business services markeitng buys- conferences, freebies, direct mail and fullfillment, list building/buying, print material, direct mail cheapo shots, as well as the glamerous ad agenies. Temping in these areas, or traeting a graduate trainnee job as temping can be really key in getting a stronger foothold in an interesting company or industry sector.

One bit of advice is to go for the unglamerous! go for the mail fullfillment! the stuffing good bags ! go for the building analytical reports or making new web security pages. Or get some specialist training in your first degree to pop out into a mroe techcnically related marketing job, as in say computing, logistiks, biotechnology...this expertise learnt in say a year can be directly transfered into a marketing joba dn is often more important than the marketing experience per se. For example a technical writer for pack inserts and customer information or user manuals. This can be a very good way into marketing where you will be very popular for doing something no -one wants to be pedantic about!! Remeber, every industry has marketing or at least sales and gaining a competance in something specialist gives you a huge USP, despite lack of actual marketing experience.

Once you are in a temp job or a placement, then you can really start to 'work' the recruitment agencies and try to get around them when you can. They won't be very helpful to you, but at least you will get some good leads on marketing deparmtents who are expanding. They may be able to sell you in as a temp or a more junior position than the managerment ones advertised and make a qwuick couple of grand based on six months time to fee on your head now.

As an umeployed graduat the recrutiment arses won't touch you. But remember you are an active job seeker! Placements and temp jobs can be equally good.

Post Interview

Call up for feedback- this is why it is good to get a business card from the marketing manager/diretor who interviewed you..and dropping one on the table solicitis this!

Somethin I still do today which is a mistake is that i just go and cry boo-hoo, I'll never get a bloody job, and DON't vall up for reasons if I get a rejection. Calling up can be enopugh to tip the scales ...but if they are gruff then just put it down to pressure for time. Maybe speak to personnel now ( who are chocolate kettles often when it comes to feedback on marketing jobs- you get vague crap- but sometimes they will point out errror or over-exaggerationsi nyour CV and itnerveiw techniqeu and point out where you answereed weakly or did not expand renough on)

also if you call and they have an awkward sod under offer, pissing them about a bit on start date or salary, it may be just enough to come back from a knock back letter. In Norway the bastards wait until the person is often IN the job i.e. around 8 to 12 weeks to finally reject you!

Now on getting a job, great, just really make sure this is not a con. I mean moving to LOndon without relocation expenses, or working 50 hour weeks for 12k. A bird in the hand, job wise, is worth 20 interviews but if you do have another series of interviews ( i.e first followed up by 2nd) in the bag, then it may be worth holding off a week to get these in, find out the starting slalary there and then negotiate!

So aoverall , it doesn't look so bad. The MMO, the USP and the phone call are your key tools. I once advertised a graduate job for a marketing analyst to work for me- it was in the herald in a 1/8th size on page 3 of the Jobs pages and I put I think my name as contact with switchboard number. It woudl be 23k now. DO you want to know how many people called me up? none!!

get on the phone!

good luck