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.

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