If you're good at something,
Never do it for free.
Good people of Steemit, I salute you!
Once upon a time I was invited for an interview into a digital marketing company, after sending them my master’s dissertation. The questions during the interview were a little ... unorthodox to say the least. Perhaps they thought they were the next best thing after Google, and designed their questions accordingly, I don’t know.
But one of the questions was as straightforward as it goes: “Do you know how to write a marketing plan?”
Do I know how to write a marketing plan? Are you serious? What is my master’s diploma in marketing worth if I don’t know how to do that? But I humored them nonetheless. Of course, in a more fun way than simply reciting a Philip Kotler textbook.
Without getting into too much detail, basically, a marketing plan is a good story about how your company works. The better the writer - the better the story. The better the story - the more smoothly your company runs as a whole.
Generally, this story is divided into two large parts - external and internal analysis. The former describes the market, industry, trends, risks, the current situation as a whole. The latter analyzes your company’s resources, objectives, budget, strengths, weaknesses, product portfolio, competitive advantages, and so on.
Two chapters stand apart from the rest, though - competitors and consumers. Two very big and important chapters. One focuses on producers of substitute goods - you analyse them, compare yourself to them, figure out what it is that makes them successful and try to beat them. The other focuses on those who buys the products - ideally everyone who has money in their pocket. You analyse the market, you divide it into segments for further targeting each of them specifically.
Having ascertained that I really do know how to write a marketing plan, the interviewer asked me another interesting question: which chapter was my favorite and why?
Without a second thought I said “consumers”. Because it’s all about the people and I love people! You act as a profiler and create the psychological portrait of your consumers. You know their likes and dislikes, their needs and wants, their deepest desires, and the willingness to spend on those desires. You know where they shop, how often they do it, how much money they spend per shopping.
People are creatures of habit. No person living in the city goes absolutely everywhere. Generally, they will have 6-7 places they visit, not counting home and work: coffeehouse, restaurant, shopping mall, cornershop, cinema, park, gym, give or take. Thus, knowing this, you can predict where and when they will be, so you can target them with your ads or casually bump into them and start your direct sales (yes, I know, this sounds a little creepy, but hey, we need to increase our shareholders’ profits!).
At the end they asked me if I could develop a marketing plan of a company of their choosing, based on public information. I said I could ... as soon as they hire me. You would have to be an idiot to do that kind of work for free.
And that was the end of our conversation.
Anyhow, given the opportunity, I can talk about marketing forever. I hope that this post was somewhat useful. If not, then I hope it was at least entertaining.
Thanks to my boss, the Marketing Queen, for inspiring me to share this story.
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