7 Tips from Global Marketing Experts: How to be the Go-To Candidate

23 September, 2019

Are you ahead of the curve when it comes to emerging trends? Is your technical approach sound and in line with Best Practice? How about your drive to implement and your tracking against KPIs?

No, I’m not talking about how you manage your business portfolio. I’ve got your career in mind. You know, that not-so-insignificant part of your life that is too often left to happenstance.

If you are like most Executives, you will have a haphazard and non-strategic approach to managing your career – that’s when you put any thought into it at all.

Clearly, that doesn’t make sense.
Clearly, the fact that you are still reading means that you are at least semi interested in overcoming this deficit.
Clearly, it might be useful to learn from the world’s leading B2C and B2B marketing experts.

 

Tap into Expertise of Marketing Gurus

Les Binet and Peter Field have a well-deserved global reputation for understanding what does and does not drive advertising success and profitability. They’ve brought academic rigour to questions of marketing strategy.

As soon as they publish it, Binet and Field’s analysis is taken up by the world’s most savvy marketers. So, let’s take seven of Binet & Field’s tenets, particularly in the world of B2B marketing, and apply them to your career.

 1. Brand building and sales activation work over different time scales

Binet and Field differentiate between two totally separate activities: Sales Activation and Brand Building. In career terms, Sales Activation is the equivalent to applying for a new job. Brand Building holds the same meaning in the career space as it does in the marketing space.

Binet and Field report that in relation to Sales Activation, short-term effects dominate with a sales uplift that comes within 6 months generally. (This makes sense if you compare it with job search. Once you have made up your mind to target a new role, it generally happens quickly.)

Brand Building, however, leads to long term sales growth and they are talking about a two to three year effort. If you translate this benefit into career terms, it means that your marketplace comes to you and constantly pesters you to come and work for them.

How to profit from this tenet in your career.

  1. Sales Activation still needs to be well executed.
    Ensure that your immediate selling skills and documentation are strong: cover letters, résumé, LinkedIn profile, job search networking, interview skills.

  1. Brand Building is the work you do to ensure that your market place knows you and likes what it sees.
    Switch from a ‘fits and starts’ approach and have a long, hard think about increasing your emphasis on brand. Establish a strategic plan with measurable KPIs.

  2. Seek support so that you stick to your strategic plan.
    I read a recent success story where the Executive met weekly with a paid mentor. That seemed a bit excessive to me; however, arrange to meet a support person at least once every 6 months. They will help you stay on track and focused on a sensible use of your time.

 2. Your share of voice predicts your future growth – or decline

There’s a simple rule that applies to B2C and B2B marketing. A brand’s Share of Voice tends to predict its future Share of Market. When a brand’s Share of Voice within a category is larger than its market share, it is very likely to grow. When its Share of Voice is lower than the market share, it will most likely shrink.

As Les Binet explained, the more people you are reaching, and the more people who are talking about you, the greater your opportunity to maintain or grow your market share. If you’re achieving less reach and impact than your position in your category suggests you need, there’s likely to be trouble ahead.

How to profit from this tenet in your career.

  1. Improve your profile and its reach.
    Your marketplace can’t buy you if they don’t know you exist. And, what they learn about you needs to be compelling.

  2. Analyse your most effective medium.
    For an Executive, LinkedIn is likely to be your most valuable avenue.

  3. Keep up to date with the marketing quirks of your medium.
    LinkedIn has succumbed to the hashtag only recently, for example, but there are conventions as to how to use these hashtags which are different to those on Instagram. Find an authoritative blog to guide your behaviour.

 3. A long-term outward focus brings broader and bigger effects

This appears blindingly obvious to me. Sales Activation in your career brings a narrower but earlier effect with smaller paybacks. Yes, you eventually win that next job but it is usually very similar to your current one – slightly more senior perhaps or in a slightly different technical area/sector. The easiest way to make a large career move either to a new industry or to a much more senior role is through networks. And these networks come from building your brand, bringing broad but slower effects with big paybacks.

How to profit from this tenet in your career.

  1. Sales Activation is useful when you want an immediate change in your job.
    Your best results come from targeting similar roles at similar levels in the same industry.

  2. Brand Building swings more power to you.
    Instead of being the ‘chaser’, you become the person who is regularly wooed by keen and eager prospective employers. You are also more easily able to name your terms and conditions when you accept the next role.

4. The broader the reach, the greater the efficiency

Binet and Field suggest that brand building should not focus exclusively on product messages. They recommend two or three key values repeatedly communicated in a way that speaks to all potential customers. In a career context, this means that you should seek to appeal to decision-makers beyond your immediate market.

How to profit from this tenet in your career.

  1. Decide exactly what it is that you stand for.
    I’ve concluded that the key word that describes me and my approach is: ‘Rigour’. This shows up in all of my brand content. Choose a key word for yourself and let it shine to your audience.

  2. Broaden your commentary to non-industry specific content.
    One of my clients wrote a couple of great LinkedIn blogs about Leadership and about Mergers & Acquisitions. It was part of his successful plan to win a role in a totally different industry in a much larger organisation.

  3. Report on global workplace concerns and trends.
    Act as a link between upcoming change and your target market so that you gain the reputation as an expert who can help others to feel comfortable with the changing environment.

 5. Fame-driving campaigns outperform others on all business metrics

According to Binet and Field, if you’re the brand that everyone talks about and that springs most readily to mind, you have a serious advantage over any less familiar competitors. You are always an obvious answer to the question of what to buy.

How to profit from this tenet in your career.

  1. Create your own content.
    Use LinkedIn for blogs and/or write technical papers for your industry journals. Make sure that you vary the tone and style depending on which media you use.

  2. Pipe up in professional development activities.
    Offer sensible and strategic comments at appropriate times in your network.

  3. Speak at conferences.
    These opportunities are rare. Form relationships with the gate-keepers in your target market. Offer an angle on issues that are troubling your industry.

 6. Emotional campaigns are more effective on almost all business metrics especially long-term

Binet and Field argue that we place too much emphasis on rational messaging and not enough on emotion. Instead of emotionally engaging human stories, too many marketers rely on didactic, literal presentations that seek to prompt us into action.

Binet and Field posit that it’s hard to build a brand that will give you long-term competitive advantage if you can’t generate creative ideas that resonate with audiences on an emotional level.

How to profit from this tenet in your career.

  1. Use subtle and understated emotion.
    Hope, aspiration, confidence and fear of failure are all in play in the B2B buying mindset.

  2. Understand which emotions are relevant to your buyer.
    Peace of mind is a useful catch-all approach to use. Convey the message that you are a safe pair of hands who will steer their organisation through any troubled waters they may face.

  3. Connect with your buyer during Sales Activation.
    Don’t forget the ‘like’ in that old saying…’People will buy from people they know, like and trust’. It’s important to appear likeable in Cover Letters, Job Search Networking and Interviews.

 7. Creatively awarded campaigns are 11 times as efficient at driving Share of Market growth

Binet and Field believe that marketers overestimate the importance of their brands in their audiences’ lives. They argue that taking risks and being bold in pursuit of fame is worth it.

How to profit from this tenet in your career.

  1. Ban the bland.
    Have a voice. Use professionally chatty language in key brand documentation: LinkedIn profile and blogs.

  2. Avoid ‘motherhood’ content.
    Eliminate corporate-speak phrases that are overused and boring i.e. ‘I am passionate about’, ‘I took my team on a journey’.

  3. Show colour.
    Expand your vocabulary. Choose a mix of everyday words and evocative language.

  4. Incorporate creativity into your Sales Activation.
    Reveal something of yourself and your workplace philosophy in interviews. Use ‘coffee shop’ talk to build rapport.

 

Switch from Short-Term to Strategic

Binet and Field lament the short term efficiency focus on marketers.

I extend this to Executives. It just doesn’t make sense to have an emergency response to that next job by feverishly applying for roles only when they arise, all the while ignoring your brand.

Les Binet and Peter Field have been researching marketing effectiveness for over a decade. Their findings have shaped the way we think about marketing accountability. It does make sense to incorporate their tenets into your career management.

 

Sources:

http://effworks.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Les_and_Peter_The_Greatest_Hits.pdf

https://business.linkedin.com/en-uk/marketing-solutions/blog/posts/B2B-Marketing/2019/The-Long-and-the-Short-of-it-for-B2B-Marketing

Les Binet and Peter Field, Eff Week 2016, ‘Marketing in the Digital Age’, IPA

Les Binet and Peter Field, Selling Creativity Short, IPA

Les Binet and Peter Field, The Link Between Creativity and Effectiveness, Thinkbox/IPA

Les Binet and Peter Field, Media in Focus: Marketing Effectiveness in the Digital Era, IPA


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ABOUT catherine

Catherine Cunningham is Adelaide's leading career expert.  She appears regularly in The Weekend Australian Careers section, in The Advertiser's Careers section, as well as in online publications such as news.com.au, thenewdaily.com.au and womensagenda.com.au

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