For additional tips and tricks to avoid wasteful meetings and ensure you make the most out of meeting time, check out a book I wrote on “Running Effective Marketing Meetings“.
If you ever hired a recent college graduate for a marketing position at your company, odds are you were amazed at their lack of knowledge. Not of basic marketing concepts like the 4 P’s, advertising, or branding but their utmost ignorance of modern marketing tactics and tools like webinars, marketing automation, and even CRM software.
What are College Students to Do?
If you’re in college (or know someone who is), there are things you can do now so that you don’t flunk the next marketing job interview. More importantly, you’ll be ahead of other candidates if you show that you are aware of the following terms, topics, and technologies:
Webinars: you should attend a webinar to understand what the experience is like, and if possible present a webinar as well. That’s easy today with free trials of the major players, like WebEx, Adobe Connect, and GoToWebinar, and with free webinar platforms like Anymeeting, MeetingBurner, or FreeWebMeeting. What hiring companies want: someone that understands how to prepare for and conduct a webinar (aka the logistics), how to market a webinar, and how to use webinars effectively as part of the marketing mix.
Email Marketing: according to MarketingSherpa, email marketing is still a top tactic employed by marketers to reach out to their prospects and customer base. You’ve got to understand how email marketing works, how it is used successfully and what pitfalls to avoid. Part of this is the CAN-SPAM act, which you should familiarize yourself with (interviewers will like if you show that you at least have an idea of what it’s all about). Setup a free account with MailChimp and play around creating an email and landing page, send out your next party invite to your friends using it to see how it works.
Marketing Automation: the typical step-up from email marketing, marketing automation software (such as Marketo, Eloqua, Act-On, Pardot, and others) allows you to automate the sending of your emails and, more importantly, of nurturing your leads. If during an interview with a potential employer you can demonstrate that you know the concepts behind the sales and marketing funnels, lead nurturing, lead scoring, and what is the ROI of a marketing automation platform then you will be regarded as someone that is keeping up with the latest trends in marketing.
Social Media: just because you use Twitter and Facebook in school, it doesn’t mean you really know how to use it for marketing. So read up on success and failure stories, play around with tools such as Hootsuite and Tweetdeck, check out Klout, and be prepared to articulate what role does social media play in a company’s marketing program and a good understanding that when not used properly, social media can backfire.
Content Marketing: content marketing is not new, but it is all the hype now. A good understanding of the difference between whitepapers and ebooks, along with other forms of content publishing and distribution will give you valuable points during the interview process.
Trade Shows: companies of all sizes at one point or another in their lives end up attending or exhibiting at an event. The closest example you, college student, might have of what a trade show is might be your next career fair. Next time you attend one, pay attention to how different companies exhibit their services, how the people behind the tables or booths interact with the attendees, what handouts or giveaways they offer, and the overall experience. Having an idea of trade show tactics and what goes into trade show planning can be tremendously helpful especially if the company you are interviewing for attends trade shows (check their “about us” page or usually under “news and events” section of the website for a list of their upcoming appearances at local and national events).
The Modern Marketer
We’re just scratching the surface here, but these I think are some of the key marketing tactics employers would like you to know about when they interview students for marketing internships or junior marketing positions. Sure, there is always on-the-job training but if you are a marketing student, make it easier on yourself (and the hiring company) and brush up on your modern marketing skills and terminology.
If your current educational institution is not including the list above in your marketing curriculum, you have to either a) tell them to read this blog or b) learn it on your own. Good luck!
You have your logo, your tagline, your website… but how about product packaging, brochures, and holiday cards? Yup, holiday cards deserve some branding love too. It’s all about how you present yourself and your company to customers and prospects in every single touchpoint. This means every place where someone will see your company (or read about it) should have the same consistent message, look and feel.
So what are the 12 touchpoints? They are:
- Packing Slips
- Price change letters/ renewal notices
- User guides
- New business proposals
- Search ads
- Holiday cards
- Inter-office / company newsletters
- The back of the fence (this is a Steve Jobs analogy, about what goes inside your product or at the back of the fence where people usually don’t even look)
What is your list of touchpoints?
This is the second post in a series of “Principles of Great Content Marketing”. The first post talked about creating simple content.
So just to recap, there are three key principles for creating great content:
- Is it simple?
- Is it timely?
- Will it solve a problem?
Simple content was explained earlier and is a sure way to create engaging and direct content. But, even simple great content can’t win you over unless it is timely.
If you don’t need it, you won’t look at it. It’s that simple.
What is Timely Content?
There are three different perspectives to consider:
- Content that is a hot topic
- Content that meets your needs
- Content that creates urgency
The first perspective deals with the hot issues at the moment. Maybe your industry is going through additional regulations or new certifications are being required. Or maybe there’s this new methodology everyone is talking about. The hot topic is not necessarily something you actually need to do right now, but is top of mind, it will get looked at because is part of the trend.
Content that meets your needs is not necessarily about the hype, like the previous perspective, but rather something related to a mandate or a need. If you were told by your boss that you have to close down one of your locations and you come across a Whitepaper that talks about how to calculate which plant to shut down you will be interested in checking it out. Or, you have to start outsourcing the IT function overseas and a webinar invitation for a “how to outsource IT and not regret it later” just came to your inbox so you decide to register.
Finally, the urgency perspective is also related to creating timely content, but content that has an expiration date attached to it. Promotions that will only run for the next 5 days or those offers that gives incentives to you to act now (or be the first, or among the 10 first) before it’s too late.
Timely Content Perspectives
Being urgent or a hot topic doesn’t help much though, unless the content meets the needs of the reader. Content that answers a need will always win. The best content is one that combines the three perspectives to create something that meets the prospect’s current needs, is a hot topic, and creates a sense of urgency. That’s the best timely content you can create.
Timely content needs to evoke the following reaction from the reader: “I’ve gotta check this out now”. And there is either a download, registration, or whatever the call to action is. That’s how you know you nailed it.
Crafting Content for the Right time
Sending content at the right moment (when there’s a need) is tricky. How do you get to send content to a person who is at the right moment to receive it? That’s one of the big promises of Marketing Automation software, of automating the sending of the right content to the right prospect at the right moment in time.
Easier said than done? You bet. That’s because someone has to actually think through what “right moment” really means and also has to understand what clues will tell the software that the right moment approaches.
Regardless of whether you automate or not, one thing is certain. Timely content can only be created if you intimately know your audience. You’ve got to know what their daily activities are, what their challenges are, and what their hopes are as well. It means talking to customers and prospects, getting out of the building, and learning about the industry you are selling to.
Want some shortcuts? We’ll approach them in the next segment, when we talk about creating content that solves problems.