Recently, MAD.Platform hosted a talk with Rafe Offer, former Marketing Director of Disney and Coca Cola, and currently a marketing consultant for many companies, including Diageo, Microsoft, Aviva Insurance and Amazon.com. In an insightful and engaging interactive session, Mr. Offer talked about Advertising and Marketing, in which he has vast experience. He said these are very enjoyable industries to work in and with a role available for everyone, not just the ‘creative’ types. The ever-changing daily tasks make the industry engaging, “You have the opportunity to be working with all sorts of clients”, he stated. He gives us polarising examples, the first being the Hollywood giants, ‘The Weinstein Company’ and the second was when he had to market Greece (yes, the country).
Marketing, he explained, is about raising awareness of the brand and products. Whereas, marketing innovation, where Mr. Offer has much experience, is a sector within Marketing that looks out for problems, in relation to the brand, and subsequently for practical real life solutions.
The main premise of his talk was to give students a glimpse into these fields, but more importantly how to get into this the extremely competitive job market. Firstly, he mentioned the importance of consumer insight, “…Do some research on the market and the company. And don’t forget, the interviewer is your consumer!”
In today’s tech-driven world, you have the opportunity to access personal information with ease, see if your interviewer has LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter. This can allow you to see hot topics they are talking about or what hobbies they like. Bring this up in the interview, it will give the interviewer good feelings and help you bond with them. But don’t forget, the same principle works in reverse and many employers will check the candidates’ online presence, so make sure your pictures, status and tweets are something you would be happy for your future boss to read.
In addition, in your interview, always ask questions – but never easy questions. If your question can be easily be answered by Google, it just shows you did not do research into the company. Challenging questions, however, that maybe even the interviewer may not be able to answer, shows that you have thought about issues beyond the obvious, and that’s exactly what is needed in Marketing. Last, but surely not least, networking is key. Does your mum have a friend whose second cousin works in Marketing? See if you can have a 20 minute coffee with them. Prepare for this as if it were an interview, and if you said 20 minutes, do not run over. Even if you have no contacts, it is worth calling up companies directly to try and talk to somebody in the position you want to work in. In today’s tough economy, it may be that one phone call you make that sends you on the path to getting a job, it’s important to be persistent.
Want to get experience in Marketing? MAD.Platform is a student run organisation dedicated to helping students explore and expand their interests in Marketing, Advertising and Design. Last term they welcomed ITV’s Commercial Content Director, Gary Knight, who spoke about careers in Media Buying and Advertising. In addition, they also offer students a chance to gain hands on experience through projects working with university societies and local businesses to create marketing campaigns, posters and a digital presence. To get involved like them on facebook.com/MADplatform and come along to the weekly Thursday meetings at 5pm in YorSpace.