Archive for April, 2012
So we all know our economy is in a bit of a slump. You can’t turn on CNN or even browse the internet without hearing about how many millions of Americans are still out of work or underemployed. Yet, if you are in a company that is hiring, you may still find that there is a talent shortage out there.
Our economy has changed drastically in the last ten years and we haven’t trained enough of our workforce to compete in it. Ultimately, this is slowing our national economic recovery and having an effect on us as marketers.
Ten years ago there was no Facebook, no Twitter, no iPhone and no billion dollar acquisitions for fast growing start-ups like Instagram. The social movement and explosive tech advancements have changed the landscape in which we communicate with one another, market our product and essentially grow our business. While a lot of us know how to play in these arenas as users – there aren’t enough of us out there that truly understand how to interpret the data, create a successful marketing campaign, or how to actually code and design these social tools.
In fact, in my own company we’ve been looking to add to our team and we’re discovering that good talent is hard to find. We aren’t the only ones having this problem. It’s surprising that as a society, we haven’t modified our collegiate courses enough to keep up with the changes in our marketing field and economy. Sure, nearly every college graduate has a Facebook page and has probably engaged in some kind of social promotion in one way or another, but not nearly enough of them know about the KPI’s associated with social media or how to integrate that with a successful lead generation strategy. New marketing focused grads are then surprised to learn that it takes a lot longer to nail down that entry level job. Even though they’ve paid for that coveted college degree, they may still be lacking the real education required to make it relevant in today’s world.
So, I have some advice for college students, new grads and even seasoned professionals out there. Even though you may not be forced to learn or work closely within the digital marketing space, make it a personal goal of yours to learn at least one new thing each week about it. Even if the digital realm is not your main focus, it’s becoming vital to at least have some kind of understanding of SEO, social media engagement strategies and the digital space. As many marketing pros will tell you, marketing is about wearing many hats at any given time. Especially when an economy is tight, you’re forced to do more with less and the more tools you have in your toolbox, the more effective (and employable) you’ll be.
Not sure where to start? That’s ok. Scout out some of my favorite resources that don’t require a huge time commitment.
Skillshare – Discover classes taking place in your city and even online that are relevant to you. You can search by subject matter, area of interest and even receive alerts when a class is ready that you may be interested in.
AppSumo – Online classes that highlight new areas, programs, SEO strategies, emerging apps and more. Typically classes last anywhere from a half hour to an hour and some are even free. They don’t always have the most polished courses, but it does give you a good overview on important areas and programs if you need a quick tutorial.
AMA – If you haven’t already done so, I highly recommend that you sign up for the American Marketing Association. Annual membership is $47 for students, $105 for young professionals 3 years following graduation and $210 for professionals. It may seem pricey at first, but you get access to resources, job boards and free, awesome online courses that you can later download and access at anytime. I highly recommend it.
Have another tip? I’d love to hear from you! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
So as my last blog post suggested – we are becoming an increasingly visual society. We want things quick, easy, beautiful and easily digestible. That’s not to say we’ve stopped reading altogether, but let’s be honest, we are skimming more and more. So a picture, when done right, can say a thousand words and quickly convey a message without us having to look for the hidden meaning. Therefore, if you’re in marketing, you need to start altering your tactics to coincide with this growing trend. It’s time to step away from lengthy wording and fancy wordsmithing and start thinking more visually.
Don’t believe me? Checkout the transition to Facebook’s timeline (that became mandatory for businesses last month), the rise in infographics, the popularity of instagram and oh yea, that little social app called Pinterest. What do all of these things have in common? They focus their efforts on being visual and appealing. The more stimulating, beautiful and shocking you can be, the better.
Now some of you might be saying “well, gee, thanks for the obvious tip, but I’m not in retail, photography or the beauty industry, so this doesn’t really apply to me”. Not true. Even if you’re in software, health care or business to business marketing, you can still take advantage of this trend. The trick of course is to be creative.
Think of your customers, your community, your message and what you want to convey. If you’re in software for instance, you don’t have to post pictures of your wires or screen shots of your program. Look more towards the big picture. What does your software DO for its customers? Does it improve communities or workflow? Share photos that portray the overall message of your business as well as any related items that your customers may care about. If you’re in business to business marketing, ask for images and photos from your clients business along with success stories. Make it worthwhile for them to check in with you, comment back and help them to convey their message as well. After all, the end result is to increase your interaction and level of engagement – the best way to do that is to make the first move!
So go out there, take photos and start sharing images. You might be pleasantly surprised by what you’ll find!
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