A couple of weeks ago I met with someone to discuss a potential opportunity and while I’m not convinced that it is right for me, it saw me digging through my archives for various projects I have worked on in the past. Something I uncovered was a report written for KMP Digitata back in 2004. I was working at the Stockport based digital agency as a copywriter and as my role there was somewhat intern-like in nature I was asked to summarise the nature of the advertising, PR and marketing industry. It was not a commercial report, more a demonstration that I understood the context of the industry I was writing for.
I wrote in my first column about the development of technology and its impact on my life in the first decade of the twenty first century and it was interesting to look back on a snapshot of 2004. The report is replicated here, unedited since 2004. Just as in putting my CVs together I look back at where I have been in order to support where I want to go, it is useful to see how advertising, PR and marketing have developed. For instance, in my report I said that while advertising was suffering, PR was on the up. The extent to which PR has grown has in fact been remarkable, especially on a personal level.
Richard Wiseman, Professor in the Public Understanding of Psychology is a fantastic example of the new personal PR that we call social marketing. By engaging with the followers to his blog and twitter account, Wiseman responds and produces highly relevant and personalised material. Wiseman draws the lay mind into the complex world of psychology through magic tricks, games and puzzles that at once engage and stimulate his audience. Wiseman has utilised the tools of the internet and has gone viral with his videos. The question raised in my report as to whether marketers were up to the task of exploiting the new creativity unleashed by technological advances is answered by his ilk; if marketers weren’t up to the task then there was a whole generation of savvy agents that were.
Evidence in 2004 pointed towards a world increasingly concerned with opting out of marketing but while our email accounts operate with increasingly impenetrable filters, a trend for opting in has grown. A glance through my accounts and I have content from Latest in Beauty (a site that provides samples of new cosmetics), Joe Browns (clothing) and Cedars (my spa of choice in Gloucester) in my inbox, I’m a member of the Facebook group for Sepang International Circuit from when I was living in Kuala Lumpur and I follow a variety of service providers on twitter.
The key to success then is what twitter has captured with the concept of following; one must market oneself in such a way that people want to opt in to your content. But how does one set about that? How does one become a successful twitter whore? Wiseman has 14,525 followers on twitter (the vivacious Lisa Nova has 42,410) but it’s not just about numbers, it’s about attracting the kind of people you want reading your content. Wiseman sells lots of books (my boyfriend got 59 Seconds for Christmas) so clearly he has his market sussed; I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve emailed or sent by pm a link he put on twitter to a friend I thought might appreciate it. Wiseman not only gains my interest but he does so with content I can easily pass on to people who can quickly digest it. Wiseman reaches an extended audience via his followers. Clever stuff!
My brother is a Digital Marketing Executive at KMP Digitata (it’s a small world) and was part of the team that created and marketed Glacier Racer, a free game that can be played online, or significantly, on the iPhone. When I saw him last, various family members were heading outside to build a snowman while I, having just spent three hours on motorways elected to stay indoors and read the Sunday paper. When I went to see how they were getting on, I was somewhat surprised to see Eskimo Mo. My boyfriend took a photo and the comments came in on his Facebook. Danny reminded me of the link to the game and I posted that in the comment box. While I don’t really “game” and don’t know who amongst my friends do, Danny made me aware of the fact that my boyfriend’s network does in all likelihood include those that do. What Wiseman and my brother demonstrate is that engaging the degrees of separation between yourself and your most relevant audience is important in social marketing.
I think that is the most important thing when marketing yourself as a job seeker as well. While in an interview the person in the suit facing you appears to be your most relevant audience, the real audience is arguably who they are marketing to. Important as it is to make a personal impression, the ability to demonstrate a skill set that will help them meet their objectives is imperative. Just as the social marketer looks down the line of who they know to see who they can reach, the successful interviewee is the one that best identifies the needs of their potential employer and can best advertise themselves as the package to meet those needs.
Hopefully the package I present today is the one that my interviewer selects; the role does after all present a pathway to where I ultimately wish to go and social marketing is all about reciprocity.