Last week I was asked by fellow blogger and marketing whiz Jay Lipe to field some questions from the students in a University-level marketing class he is teaching. In the next few days my responses will apprear on this blog.
What are the top 5 traits you look for in a candidate for any marketing job?
- Business orientation. Marketers must think holistically about their business and address their company's constraints to growth: There's no point in developing a slick "brand promise" that cannot be brought to life with your company's current operating model. Everything from legal, to finance, to accounting, to purchasing, to manufacturing, to warehousing, to logistics, to customer service, to marketing and sales must be in alignment with your company's Unique Selling Proposition. And if your company's sales process is out of step with how the customer actually buys -- forget it. That's why the best marketers are literate in all areas of business. These are the pros who truly understand that marketing is a means to an end -- not an end unto itself. No margin, no mission.
- Humility. If you have a massive ego, forget it. I don't say this because I can't handle people with big egos. I say this because marketing people with big egos always think they know better than their customers. That's "death" in the marketing business.
- People skills. I do my job on the phone, which means that I am effectively blind. Minus the corn rows, there's no difference between me and Stevie Wonder. Therefore, if you aren't warm and empathic on the phone, then it's hard for me to imagine that you will be warm and empathic in person. People, including my clients, want to do business with people they like, and they always do a phone screen before bringing a person in for an interview. So relax and have fun. Otherwise, you are wasting your time. See the paradox? Have fun or you're dead!
- An inquisitive nature. I'm no genius, but I have gotten by on my obsessive compulsive desire to learn. Marketing is too dynamic a field to be stagnant. If you think you can skate by on the "Four Ps" you're wrong. Keep learning. We are just in the top of the second inning of this Internet thing, and it promises to completely change not only marketing -- but the way we think about marketing. Don't get attached to any one marketing model or "one-size-fits-all" way of thinking. Think integrated multichannel marketing ... and remain channel agnostic.
- A track record of accomplishment. You can't talk your way out of problems you behave yourself into. If you have job hopped, or if you have walked off a job, or whatever, then no amount of my God-given sales talent is going to help you land a job. If you hate your marketing job, stick it out until you generate a sensible alternative for yourself. Nobody wants to hire a diva or a baby.
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