Best Companies Don’t Need Marketing

August 5, 2010

Interesting set of articles on Inc’s Magazine June Edition “Inside America’s Best Run Companies”, showing how the best small business companies run and the perks and benefits they have to attract and retain top talent. Take for example the following stats mentioned in the magazine:

  • 75% of companies offer educational assistance to its employees
  • 83% of companies practice open-book management
  • 28% of companies pay 100% of employees costs for health insurance
  • 95% of companies offer flexible work arrangements

On top of that, they highlight some of the nicest perks some companies offer, like:

  • On-site pickup and return of clothes that need laundering (McGraw Wentworth)
  • Subsidized meals delivered at employee’s desk (Dealer.com)
  • Two weeks of full-paid leave to work for a nonprofit (Patagonia)
  • $5,000 spending money if you travel abroad plus one extra week vacation (LoadSpring)
  • Professional cleaners go to your home every two weeks, at no cost to employee (Akraya)

If you come from the typical 9 to 5 job where being there is what is expected and you look forward to vacations like a prisoner eager for his 1 hour outside in the patio, then the list above is nothing short of a paradise. The reality is, more and more companies are adopting practices like these (especially telecommuting and flex hours) because technology is such that not only allows you to do it, but makes you more productive.

But companies don’t offer these nice perks just because they are run by nice people. They offer them because the market for talent is fierce. Finding and retaining the best people has always been a challenge, no matter your industry. When you have a little bit extra to offer, being that the free lunch or whatever, you are a step above the competition. And the word gets around and your hiring costs are reduced because people are now finding you for a change.

The best marketing ends up being what the employees tell their friends about their companies. How they like (or don’t like) the perks, and when magazines like Inc pick that up and write a story.

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What Type of Marketer Are You?

May 18, 2010

After interviewing many marketers for different positions at my company and meeting marketing professionals regularly at events, I came to the conclusion that there are two types of marketers:

  • Passionate Marketers
  • Job Marketers

The first group is comprised of those that, as the name suggests, have a real passion for marketing. They read about marketing, they talk about marketing outside work, they go to events and try to educate themselves. They often participate in discussion forums and might even have a blog. Everyone in the family knows they do marketing, friends ask them for some advice and they often times talk to telemarketers trying to sell newspaper subscriptions at eight o’ clock at night because they think it’s fun. Telemarketers often regret the call because the passionate marketer keeps analyzing their sales pitch instead of buying something.

Job Marketers are, unfortunately, the majority out there. I’m not sure whether it starts in school, their first full time paying job or it’s just the way they are. This bunch sees marketing only as a job. If they were offered more money to create TPS reports they would switch to doing it in a heartbeat. Outside work they don’t want to check out a blogabout the newest lead nurturing technology, or fly out to attend a marketing conference. They see these activities as “work” and as such, shouldn’t be performed after 5:29pm.

Funny thing is, Passionate Marketers are not necessarily better at marketing than Job Marketers. Both can be very effective at what they do.However, from what I’ve seen, passion makes some rise quicker through the ranks and get accolades, while the simply “employed”stay for years at the same company and position because, hey, that’s just a job.

When hiring someone for a marketing position, it’s important to know these different types exist. Hiring marketing people is tough enough as it is, one has to understand the type of person they need for each specific position. If you want a marketing assistant that will be still with you 30 years from now, a Job Marketer may be just what you need. Who do I want to work with? Passionate Marketers. From interns to the VP. Not that the other group wouldn’t be fun (after all this is a characteristic about how they feel towards marketing in their careers, not their personalities), but when you have people who are passionate about what they do, it tends to rub off and the whole team benefits. We need more people who are passionate about what they do.

What type of marketer are you?


Are You Paid Enough? New Salary Survey Released

August 14, 2009

We all like to complain about how much we make, so here’s another reason for you to either shut up or have that awkward conversation with your boss about getting a raise. Exhibitor Magazine’s July Edition showcases their annual salary survey with interesting results.

You can see the results online on their website, but here’s a summary of average salary for selected titles:

  • Advertising and Marketing Managers: $61,451
  • Communications Manager: $72,606
  • Corporate Event Manager: $66,581
  • Marketing Communications Manager: $67,852
  • Marketing Director: $75,870

Some interesting findings from the survey are:

  • Women earn on average $13,134 less than their male counterparts
  • 70% of respondents said they are happy with their current jobs
  • Those with industry certifications enjoy an average of 18% higher salaries than their non-certified peers
  • 94% of respondents reported working more than 40 hours per week, which is not very surprising but they slice this number based on pay level and find that those who earn more than $80K put in 60 hour or more per week than those earning around $57K who work 40 to 49 hours per week

The survey also breaks down salaries by industry and region, so it is worth checking it out and comparing your own salary with the results. This is also a good resource for ensuring your staff is being compensated according to the market and for negotiating salary with someone you are hiring.

Other sources for salary comparison can be found at:

And I would be negligent not to mention the always thought-provoking posts from Seth Godin, this time about the myth of big salaries. Although his criticism was towards Wall Street financial companies that complain they need hefty compensation packages to attract talented employees, you decide whether it applies to your company as well.

Happy salary negotiation! 😉


How Good A Boss Are You Really?

April 9, 2009

If you want to see how you (or your new boss) stack against top technology CEO’s, check out Glassdoor.com for an interesting ranking.

The site not only lists top executives based on approval ratings but also shows you reviews that give you some more specifics of the person, the company, and what it feels like working there. One of the more interesting features is the ability to search for salaries paid at a specific company. Insider information is always good when planning your next career move!


Get Hired in Marketing

April 6, 2009

Want a marketing job? Then you have to first understand the rules of the game.

I was recently hiring a marketing coordinator for my company and once again it became obvious to me that most candidates do a poor job at interviewing. So here’s my contribution, albeit a small one, to those of you who are looking for new jobs.

Before you go out on an interview,  you need to understand how hiring works. Then you can craft a great resume, prepare to ace the interview, and come up as a top candidate for the job.  Keep in mind the following factors and you’ll be a step ahead of other candidates.

Risk is the most important factor:

The whole hiring process has one goal, and that is to reduce the risk of hiring a bad candidate. Companies spend a lot of time and money when they need to hire someone and spend even more when they make a wrong hiring decision. So every step is designed to reduce the risk the company and the hiring manager face. Knowing this will give you tremendous advantage, as most people are concerned with making sure they look good (either on their resumes or during the interview) and not with what the company needs. Is basic marketing (you can only sell if you know what the customer wants), but very few people stop to think about it.

As you are asked questions during the interview, managers are not looking for a right answer, they are looking for clues that will tell them whether you are high or low risk. So you need to make sure that when you are answering questions during an interview, your answers are focused on lowering that perceived risk.

Example: for a question like “do you have experience with trade shows?” (which is not necessarily a very good question to begin with, but let’s leave it like this for now) you could answer:  “yes, I have experience with trade shows and have handled many throughout my career”. The problem with this answer is that is very limited. OK, you have experience, but how much? What else have you dealt with in a trade show environment that can tell me that I will be able to trust you with my events? If you leave the hiring manager wondering whether you have all the experience he needs from someone in the position they are hiring for, then you haven’t done a good job at lowering the risk level.

A better answer is: “not only I have experience with trade shows, but I’ve been involved in multiple types of shows, from small user groups that only required a tabletop display up to big conventions where we used our 20×20 booth. In the last show [name] that I managed I had to negotiate with the show organizer, involve the transportation company, and come up with some creative ways   to get our stand up on time, which gave me a much better understanding of how trade shows work”. Aha! This not only answers what was asked, but goes a step beyond and touches upon the real reason for the question in the first place, giving detailed insight as to the type of experience and situations the candidate faced, significantly lowering the risk of hiring someone inexperienced. The Hiring Game

Every line on your resume, every answer you give during an interview, and every contact you have with the company needs to be focused on lowering the perceived risk. The little things you do will add up in the end and make you stand out.

You only need to be 2% better:

 You don’t need to be a superstar. If you’re 2% better than the next candidate, you’re already ahead. How do you do that? By keeping in mind the ‘risk’ factor and tailoring all your answers to help the hiring manager lower the risk you represent. Since most candidates think about answering the question and just the question, they don’t realize that there’s more to it. The question about trade shows above, for example. What is the risk the company faces? Well, if events are a big part of their marketing budget, then they need someone they can count on to manage that side of the business. If the position you are interviewing for will have that responsibility, then you shouldn’t just answer “yes, I’ve dealt with trade shows in the past” because that really doesn’t tell me anything. Go beyond the simple question and expand your answer (but briefly, of course) to get extra points.

Results are more important than ever

The typical advice of headhunters is to make sure you add accomplishments to each job description. Now more than ever you have to ensure your resume is results-oriented, and that during the interview your answers touch upon results you achieved. Check out a recent post on Marketing Today website about it.

It’s not over when the interview is over

After the interview you’re not off the hook. Another person is now sitting on that same chair, trying to do his best, just like you did. How do you keep yourself ahead? By continuously showing that you’re the best candidate. Send written thank you notes to EVERYONE that you dealt with. From the receptionist to the hiring manager. And hand write the thank you notes, don’t email them. Why? Because most people don’t do it. You’ll be seen as more professional and will stand out. You should also be checking for industry related news and is a good idea to email the hiring manager a link to an interesting article or press release that might be relevant to the company, this shows you’re up to date on the industry and is really interested. Some of these simple gestures go a long way towards helping you land the job.


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