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Agency job seekers: Use the Marketing 4 Ps to land your next role

agency-job-seekers-use-the-marketing-4ps-to-land-your-next-role-chris-savage

There are many talented, hard-working creative industry folk doing it tough. No job. Or little job security. Here’s how to attack your next role, and win!

(Please — if you like these ideas, share them widely, with all those they might help — in whatever industries. Thanks!)

In careers, as in life, a powerful gift is the ability to slow down before speeding up.

Thousands of creative industry executives are today forcibly ‘slowing down’, casualties of the devastating impact the pandemic has had on their former employer’s business.

I’ve been suddenly unemployed in the past. I know the anger, dismay, fear, uncertainty, and panic. I was also paralysed by an irrational sense of shame. It all ate away at confidence. I can feel those butterflies in my gut as if it were yesterday. What that experience did teach me was how to take a punch.

First, stay calm. Heed the words of Ironman Trevor Hendy. He never cared whether weather conditions for an event were stormy, typhoon-like winds, or dead calm: “To me, conditions are always perfect.”

Use this time to work on your EVP – your Employee Value Proposition. What is it about YOU that is perfect for the needs of potential employers today?

We’re all broadly in marketing, so let’s use the four Ps of Product, Price, Place and Promotion to guide the ‘punch back’ strategy.

Product

It’s time to ‘sharpen the saw’. Look hard at agencies and clients. What will their most urgent ‘capability’ needs be in the future? How can you recalibrate your offer to better meet that need?

Differentiator for your next role:

Be clear on your core selling message about Brand You. What is it that is different and special that you bring, meeting the needs of the next 12 months? Claim it. Be bold. Act bigger than you are.

Nano Degree:

Use this time to learn new skills. Pick five topics you need to know more about to be able to add more value. Do seven hours of hard study on each. Read a blog. Listen to a podcast. Speak to an expert.

Also, consider new ‘micro-credentials.’ Bite-sized formal learning you can do to add spice to your offer. If you’re green, you grow. If you’re ripe, you rot. It’s as simple as that.

Price

I’m not a fan of price discounting. I am passionate about ‘playing what’s in front of you.’ Today, we have massive pressure on costs.

Flexibility:

If your previous role paid you $100, remember that was in the ‘good old days’ of February. Manage pay expectations to land the next role. Once ‘in’, deliver value, then renegotiate once you have built ‘goodwill equity’, and as their business recovers.

Sell Bite-sized Pieces:

Take project work. Grab opportunity to let potential employers ‘try before they buy.’ Many hiring budgets have been frozen, but freelancers will again be in big demand when the work inevitably flows.

Place

For job seekers, I define ‘Place’ as the channels you’ll use to get to potential employers.

Targeting:

Be strategic. Rifle shot vs shotgun. Mark Ritson categorises three types of Covid-era businesses: Flex (booming), Fix (pivoting to make do) and Freeze (think airlines, cruise operators). There are three phases for marketing ahead: The Twilight Zone (now — the isolation period), New Dawn (weird 12 months half on/half off), and New Reality (life after vaccine — fingers crossed).

Which companies will need what help in which phase? What do you bring to add value? Who is their agency? Try to get a conversation with those agencies. Or go direct to the client. Clients will be beefing up internal resources in some key marketing communications areas.

Go direct. And which agencies are doing okay? Think specialists, creative technology, those with ‘Flexers’ as major clients. Target those.

MICRophones:

Who are your Most Important Career Referrers? It’s a very small group of people who have always ‘looked out’ for you, who help, recommend, introduce. Engage with them. Ask for help. Ask them to open doors.

Network:

Look at your connections. Use LinkedIn. Who has the potential to hire you? Who has the potential to refer you to a hirer? Make a start-off list of the most influential, relevant 25.

Recruiters:

They are in a world of pain, but some still have roles ‘live’ right now. And – guaranteed – they will have plenty of demand once the market gets the uplift, which is coming. Connect. Share your new narrative. Get feedback. And keep on their radar.

Promotion

Narrative:

Remember the work you did at the start – on your ‘differentiator’? Now, evolve your elevator pitch, about YOU. Add the new spice of Nano Degrees and ‘micro-credentialing’. Flow your new story through your CV, LinkedIn profile, work portfolio.

Profile:

Develop a relevant point-of-view, about something potential employers need. Write content. Get someone to edit. Then distribute it, via email, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, a blog, the trade media. Then, do it again. Don’t become a profile tart. But gently, raise your brand profile.

100 Cups Of Coffee:

Use your targeting, MICRophones and network to have 100 ‘virtual’ cups of coffee. Every ‘coffee meeting’ is a step closer to a role. Many in your network can’t hire you, but will be able to connect you to someone who just might.

Get ILL:

Not with Covid! But use every coffee meeting for Information, Leads, Learnings. Information about your sector, skillset, trends, needs. Leads to new people, to opportunity. Learnings about gaps in your skillset, how to shape your offer to best match demand.

Schlepping Around:

If you want to make progress, you simply have to keep ‘schlepping around.’ Keep moving, keep persistent. Champions do more! Sounds trite I know, but the fact is, there are no crowds lining the extra mile. You need to keep at it to win.

In summary, stay positive, stay optimistic. A quote from the movie, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel:

“Everything will be alright in the end, so if it is not alright, it is not yet the end.”

But it won’t happen alone. YOU have to drive the ‘punch back’ with determination, consistency, courage and energy. It’s in your grasp!

This blog was published by Chris Savage first on his blog, wrestling possums.

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