Roni Krakover

Author - Roni

Should you work in Marketing? 11 simple points to help you decide

should i work in marketing

In a Marketing Strategy class I took a few years ago, we had to write our personal definition of marketing on a piece of paper. Then we passed it to the person sitting to the right, so each student got a piece of paper with someone else’s definition and wrote her comments on that definition. By the end of the class, each student got back the paper with her definition, plus about 10 comments.

My definition of marketing was: “Marketing is communication with a purpose.” Pretty much everybody criticized it for being too broad.

It’s broad, but…marketing is broad! When a presidential candidate is speaking to an audience, he or she is marketing. When I’m trying to convince you to join me at a party, I am marketing. When you’re looking for a job, you are marketing yourself.

Marketing is a huge, broad concept. Broadness is one of the best things marketing has to offer. But let’s take a look at some other pros and cons:

The good stuff

  1. There is always more to learn. Things in marketing change all the time. You will get a chance to experience industries and practices you never knew existed, and your job will be a springboard for personal growth.
  2. There is room for creativity. People often choose a marketing career because it offers opportunities for creativity. Whether it’s devising a strategy for a campaign, composing interesting tweets, or designing the company logo, your creative juices will get a chance to flow.
  3. Marketing is multidisciplinary. It includes a lot of psychology, but also economics; design, but also data. You can employ psychological theories to analyze what drives customers’ purchasing decisions. Alternatively, you can put all the data into equations of supply and demand or compare pricing schemes and price promotions of a competing product.
  4. Marketing can fit any personality type. Are you the analytical type? You’re sure to find marketing jobs in which you plug numbers into an Excel spreadsheet and write formulas to devise a marketing strategy. Are you the artistic type? You can find a company that needs to redesign their website, flyers, business cards, or logo. Are you a “people person?” You can become a community manager, organize events, or mingle at other events where you can be the public face of your company.
  5. You can always find an industry you are interested in. Think of your favorite products, and look for an opportunity to market those products. You can be in consumer electronics, education, politics, nonprofits, cosmetics, and more. That way, you get to spend the entire day dealing with a product you like and mingling with people who share your interests.
  6. Marketing will never die. Remember the milkman? There are no more milkmen in developed countries. But marketers are here to stay, as long as they stay sharp and evolve all the time.
  7. You can influence the world in a good way. This is my favorite aspect of marketing. A lot of marketing out there is admittedly sleazy, but you don’t have to be a part of that. To promote their products, some marketers will try to instill conscious or subconscious fear in potential customers. Some may inflate crime figures to scare potential customers into purchasing a home alarm system. But if you’re brave and willing to take the risk, you can try to influence the marketing campaigns to employ more reputable marketing techniques. You can suggest that the campaign take into account its effect on the population as well as the monetary value of the products it sells. As a marketer, you can provide your audience with information presented in the most digestible and truthful way, without instilling fear or diminishing their dignity or self-esteem.
  8. You can create value. As a marketer, you often get inputs from your customers, either by market research or by listening to their comments and requests. Thus, you can and should try to influence the product department of your company to make products that best fit the customers’ needs.

The bad – potential drawbacks

If you are considering several different paths, make sure to consider the potential drawbacks of each. (Every career/job choice has its own potential drawbacks.) Here are the potential drawbacks of marketing that I can think of.

  1. The job market in some cities is flooded with marketers. I have noticed that many North American cities are flooded with tons of marketing professionals looking for jobs right now. There are no real barriers of entry such as a degree or diploma. Unlike accounting, law, and engineering, no lengthy studies or specific credentials are required to work in marketing. From what I’ve seen, there is no correlation between majoring in marketing in college and being a good marketer. In addition, marketing is shifting more and more toward online and social media. 16-year-old kids with active Twitter accounts may end up being better marketers than an adult with an MBA in marketing. This flood of marketers also tends to lower the wages.
  2. Even if the product isn’t good enough, you’re still responsible for marketing it. The world isn’t impressed by a marketer who claims, “I did a great marketing job! It’s the product that sucks!” It is very hard to move on to the next marketing job after trying and failing to market an inferior product.
  3. It is not always easy to be true to yourself. Sometimes, the problem goes beyond a “not good enough” product and into the realm of ethics. Some people market online gambling, get-rich-quick schemes, “magic” diet pills, etc. The people I know who market these products don’t think of themselves as evil people; it’s just a matter of their values at a particular point in time. Sometimes in life, your strongest value is to get ahead; at other times, bringing positive value to others becomes your main concern. If you are at the stage of your life at which you are more concerned with bringing something positive into the world, you might have to reject some marketing jobs.

Well these are some points I can think of. It might seem skewed towards the positive since there are more points supporting the “for” vs the “against. I do think that marketing can be a great job choice for you, as long as you are true to yourself and don’t compromise your values.

Getting a job in marketing: position yourself as a content creator

content-creation

Today, in the “content era,” many companies are aware of the need to create valuable content for their customers. If you have a track record of creating a lot of high-quality content, you will get a bonus point for any marketing job you apply to. If creating content appeals to you, start creating videos, articles, podcasts, etc. It is okay to leverage the same content across a few different media. You can write an article on a topic, then shoot a video about it, then record a podcast on it.

Remember that shooting a video or recording a podcast isn’t just about reading your article aloud. Even if you write in a conversational tone, the language you use in a podcast or video will be different.

Also remember that video is visual. If all you’re planning to do is record yourself talking, skip the video. Unless you are extremely charismatic or good-looking, people expect to see more in a video than just your face. Include interesting screenshots or images of what you’re talking about, or make a video tutorial that records what you’re doing.

Getting your articles published

Part of positioning yourself as a content creator is publishing articles in reputable publications, such as leading magazines and blogs. It’s not easy to do. But if you can get an article published in a major publication, your position as an expert will take a quantum leap, and you can expect a significant increase in your perceived value as a potential employee.

The way to do this is to identify a relevant publication and get a sense of what they write about and how: the length of the articles, formats, and tone (conversational or formal). You can pitch an idea to the editors before you’ve written about it. However, it’s easier to pitch a finished article for online media.

Note: A relevant publication is not necessarily one that’s your favorite, but one that your potential employers read. This could be a publication related to marketing, to a particular industry, to management and business, or to lifestyles and hobbies.

Here are a few lists of trade magazines you can try to get an article into.

Some tips on how to write for trade magazines (and get paid for it!) may be found here.

What to write about

Writing about marketing is obviously great if you’re trying to get a job in marketing. As I mentioned, if you’re looking to work in a specific industry, try to publish in a magazine that is read by executives in that industry. For example, say you want to move to find a job in the natural resources industry in Canada. You could try to publish an article in a trade magazine about energy, such as Oilweek: Canada’s Oil and Gas Authority. (I just found this now using Google. I trust that if this is the industry you’re aiming at, you will do a better search.)

If you do decide to write about marketing, here are some topics you can write about. Make sure you are specific and to the point, bringing something new to the table.

  • Analytics
  • B2B marketing strategy
  • B2C marketing strategy
  • Branding
  • Competitive analysis
  • Copywriting
  • E-commerce
  • Email campaigns
  • Event planning
  • Facebook (or Google, or other) advertising
  • Marketing an app
  • Marketing automation
  • Positioning
  • Product naming
  • Sales funnel optimization
  • Social media strategies
  • Trade shows
  • Upselling and cross-selling

 

How to create a blog to support your job search

Photo credit - Scott Webb https://unsplash.com/@scottwebb

A blog / personals site /portfolio can be a great way to showcase who you are and what you can do. When a job applicant sends me a link to his or her personal blog or website, that is always the first thing I look at. It is a key factor in my decision whether to grant that person an interview. A blog works great for marketing professionals; a portfolio is a must for creative and design professionals; and a gitHub repository with code is important for developers.

We’ll focus on blogs in this article. If you want your blog to speak for you during your job search, it has to be good. Here’s how to make it good:

  1. Choose a platform that will make it easy for you to publish regularly. I recommend WordPress; it has a bit of a learning curve, but it’s a great platform. Blogger is also nice, and these days Medium has become very popular, especially for the high tech industry.
  2. Invest in graphics. If you think you’re good with graphic design, you can try to do it yourself, but make sure you show it to at least two critical people who will give you their honest opinion. Otherwise, here are some low-cost options for professional design:
    1. Go to fiverr.com. Under Graphics & Design, select Web Design & UI. You will see offers from freelancers willing to design your site for as little as five dollars. You can also use the search box to search for “WordPress,” “blog,” and so on.
    2. When you communicate with people on fiverr.com, you need to be prepared to specify exactly what you want, so have your WordPress site all set (even if it looks ugly) before you approach them.
    3. Don’t expect the best quality for these prices. If you have a design budget, you can find designers who will do an awesome job for about $80 and up on sites such as elance.com and odesk.com. As with fiverr.com, you are outsourcing, so clear communication is super important. Not all contractors on those sites have strong communication skills (particularly in English), but you can explicitly request a designer with native English skills. It might be worth investing $200 on one of these sites to work with someone whom you can communicate well with.
    4. You can get beautiful WordPress themes for free and some advanced themes for $35 and up. These will give you a great basic design that you can then play with and tailor to your needs.
  3. Buy your own domain name and hosting plan. A custom domain looks more professional than a free domain. Check out com/job-resources/ for links to domain registrars and hosting plans.
  4. Once you have the design of your website in place, fill it with content. Write a few blog posts. Don’t send a link to recruiters or include it in your resume or LinkedIn profile until there are at least ten blog posts.
  5. The blog has to appear active. It doesn’t look good if the last post is six months old. If this is the case, customize your blog to not display any dates.
  6. Blog about something you’re passionate about and have a lot to say about. For example, if you’re looking for a job in marketing and want to position yourself as a marketing expert, blogging about marketing is a great option, but it’s not necessary. An employer will judge your site by the quality of the writing, the design, and your brand, rather than by the actual content. It is always easier to present a great brand if you write about something that you’re passionate about, rather than trying to force yourself to write about what you think he should be writing about. What you want the interviewers to feel when they look at your blog or personal website is, “Wow, can she do this for me?”
  7. Not a must, but sure looks good – try to get comments on your blog and start a lively conversation around your posts. You can get help from your friends to initiate the conversation, as long as it doesn’t look fake.
  8. Have a great About page. Take as much time as necessary to make it great. A potential employer will definitely look at your website if you provide a link, and you can be sure he or she will go to the About page at some point. In fact, I will personally read a job applicant’s entire About page, no matter how long it is. When used wisely, the About page can give you a great advantage. It gives you a chance to share content that does not fit in a resume or cover letter: personal stuff, images of you volunteering, the names of your favorite books and blogs, and more. The hiring manager is hiring a person, not just a set of skills and qualifications, so the About page is a great opportunity.
  9. Spend some time on SEO. If your site ranks high on certain keywords, you might get surprising opportunities from traffic arriving through search engines.

Remember: creating a great blog takes time, it’s an investment. But so is sending a lot of resumes. A great blog can definitely take your career/job search one step forward. So get to work on your blog and feel free to put links to your blogs in the comments below!

Life is not the Facebook feed

Photo credit: Ryan McGuire http://www.laughandpee.com/

When you look at the newsfeed on Facebook, it’s almost inevitable to feel like a loser. It seems like everybody else has a better life. A perfect life.

It’s easy to forget that the Facebook feed doesn’t represent the world as is.

For every image of someone surrounded by friends in a party, there is someone else who feels as lonely as can be.

For every post about an amazing meal, there are at least four people eating something that’s not so tasty.

For every post by someone who just finished running 10K in an amazing time, there is someone who went out for a run but didn’t finish due to a “side stitch” or cramps.

For every image of an amazing sunset in Thailand, you don’t see the images of those who didn’t have money to fly, or had no one to fly with (and didn’t want to travel by themselves).

For every post about a wedding or engagement, there are at least nine posts that will never be written, by those who had their hearts broken, or those who are in unhappy relationships.

For every picture of family idyll, there are many moments of fighting that don’t go online.

For every post about someone who sold their startup for millions, there are 12 people who are really stressed since they might have to close their companies soon.

For every picture of “fun day at work,” there are seven people who hate their jobs.

For every airport post with “feeling excited” and “flying to”, there are three people experiencing airport depression.

For every gorgeous selfie , that at least 24 bad shots taken at the same occasion.

But as always, maybe I’m wrong.

Photo credit: Ryan McGuire

 

Maybe I’m wrong.

GOPR7312 (Large)

This post is a disclaimer. If you’re short on time – the headline is enough. On the other hand, I might be wrong. Most likely I am wrong.

Some ideas and opinions I had in the past I no longer have. Some of my beliefs today contradict what I used to believe in the past. Some of my values changed.

People I thought I’d never see again surprisingly came back into my life. Some did things I thought they would never do. I did things I thought I would never do. Some things I was sure I would do I ended up not doing.

People I thought were going to stay friends forever disappeared, and people I had nothing in common with became good friends.

I had angry thoughts that I thought would never go away, but now I can’t even remember what they were.

I used to be a shopping addict, today I’m a minimalist and don’t own much material goods. I left home and lived in places I never imagined I would live in; today I know I want to live right where I am.

And all that can change too.

Maybe in a few years I will read my posts and say, “what was I thinking?” Perhaps I’ll be so embarrassed to see all the nonsense I wrote.

Opinions, judgements and beliefs often distance us from others. Opinions cause wars, murder, isolation. They alienate friends, lovers, and families. But opinions are just opinions. Nothing more. They are not our identity, and we can change them if we like.

Anyway, I might be wrong.

 

A weekend in Eilat – when you realize plan B might be better than plan A

Eilat

In Eilat , the winter kind of feels like a summer, except there are less tourists, so the atmosphere is really chill.

After a four hour drive from Tel Aviv, I got in the city to see this stunning sunsets:

The next morning I woke up and went for a session of freediving. Was a bit tired so it took me an hour to “open up” and get to 12 m – the depth of my previous training, three months earlier. After diving 12 m I was able to add another meter and called it off for the day.

I’m still having a bit of the difficulty equalizing the pressure in my ears when I dive, but I was able to advance a bit using a new technique of keeping my cheeks full of air during the entire dive. I’m also working on improving my fin movement, so I can go deep much faster and don’t waste time fighting the body’s natural tendency to float near the surface.

Later that day we met some cool people on the beach.  They used to live in tents in a commune in the Eilat mountains, but a few weeks earlier the municipality told them they had to get out of there, so now they live on the beach. They invited us to join them for a bonfire that night and we did.

It was a small group of interesting people: David, for example, a man in his 50s who used to live in the north, got into debt and lost his house seven years ago. He has been living in his van on the beach for the last seven years. Laura, a backpacker from Australia who knew nothing about Israel before she met Israelis in India, and ended up coming for a visit. She came and fell in love with the country and has been living in a tent in Eilat for the last four months.

She said that her friends couldn’t grasp how she lived on the beach, where she could see Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt, and had the most peaceful life. Laura leaves all her belongings in the tent during the day when she is away working at a restaurant, and feels certain that everything is going to be there when she gets back.

I decided that if all else fails, I can always go live in a tent by the beach in Eilat (a.k.a. Plan B).

But then I realized that Plan B was actually way better than plan A.

My reading list for this week

Berlin (3)

So this weekend I accumulated a pretty big list of things that I want to read. As I was wondering where should I “park” them until I have time to read them, I figured out – why not add them to my blog, so others can enjoy these readings  too!

So here they are, divided by topics:

Minimalism

Becoming Minimalist Top Posts of 2015

Inspiration

Turn Your Goals Into If-Then Statements to Account for Roadblocks

Top 10 TED Talks That Could Change Your Life

The Moral Bucket List – The New York Times 

Programming

How to Customize Bootstrap – Resources Collection

Building Angular.js Starter application

How AngularJS communicates with web services?

Blogging

20 Killer Blogging Tools for Customizing Your Content 

Can terror attacks make people “wake up”?

terror in france

Hint: no.

Research shows that when confronted with a new piece of information, a person will use the information to support previously held beliefs rather than as an opportunity to open his or her mind.

How does this relate to last night’s events?

When people are faced with a horrifying reality such as last night’s attacks in Paris, they go through two processes: alienation and justification.

If they are right-wing and against immigration, the attacks will strengthen their beliefs that immigration from Muslim countries is dangerous and sets the grounds for such attacks (even though most of the refugees are running away from the exact same terrorist groups).

But what if they are left-wing? Are they going to change what they think about Islam in Europe, and about the challenges Israel is facing when dealing with terrorism on a daily basis?

Let’s look through the lens of alienation and justification.

Alienation comes out of fear, out of the needs to believe that “this couldn’t have happened to me.” The alienation instinct exists in all of us, sometimes we are open about it and sometimes we keep the thoughts to ourselves.

Sometimes, it will be as innocuous as saying “well, I don’t go to public places often” (… so this can’t happen to me). But it can also promote racism towards the victims. I remember about 14 years ago, there was a suicide bombing in a club in Tel Aviv. 21 teenagers were killed, 120 injured. It was a party attended mostly by Russian immigrants. I remember for us, as teens, it created some alienation towards the Russian immigrants – we desperately wanted to feel that the horrible attack wasn’t against us, that it didn’t happen to us, it happened to them.

In Europe in the 30s and 40s, following anti-Semitic legislation and persecution, the more miserable the Jews seemed, the less mercy and empathy the non-Jews exhibited. Non-Jews did not want to feel the pain of those people, so one of the ways to distance themselves was to feel more alienation. In their eyes, they had less and less in common with the Jews.

A few months ago when terrorists took hostages in a kosher mart in Paris, the thoughts about the alienation effect came to me. I felt like any action against Jews in Europe could only increase anti-Semitism, and for sure not decrease it.

Justification

The second process I mentioned is justification. As humans, we strive to find sense in the world around us. We try to find cause-and-effect. When something horrible like last night’s terror attacks takes place, the world doesn’t make sense anymore. We unconsciously need to justify to ourselves why it happened.

With an event like the kosher mart attack, some people can (consciously or subconsciously) rationalize, “well, the Jews shouldn’t be surprised that they are targeted by terrorists in France when Israel is doing so and so.” Thus, in people’s minds there is a reason, so the world makes a bit more sense. This justification also helps with the alienation, process; the targets for these attacks are Jewish people, not “me”.

Last night, I’m sure some people had thoughts along the lines of “well we had it coming, since we interfered in things we shouldn’t have been involved with.” Or, “well, what can we expect, when we oppress those populations, there is no reason why they wouldn’t raise their children to kill us.”

But all this rationalization is flawed. Why? Because at the end of the day we’re all monkeys, and the differences between us are pretty random. And because terrorist attacks have no justification. Never.

Free diving the Red Sea

free diving satil

Just came back from a weekend of free diving! In the video below you can see me diving in a very “unorthodox” style – taking a big angle and diving diagonally rather than going straight down. This has a couple of reasons:

  1. I have a hard time equalizing pressure in my ears, thus descending slower helps me. Also, equalizing head down is harder (long story, but you have to either know how to do it naturally or master a technique I haven’t mastered yet).
  2. I don’t like descending into the nothing! I need a real reference point, like a coral reef or a wreck… not a rope. Here I am aiming for the top part of the ship wreck, at 12 meters. As you prepare for your dive, you float and rest and focus on your breathing, without swimming. There was a current and I drifted away from the wreck while prepping for the dive, so had a pretty long swim.

This sums up 3 days of:

  • Meditation and breathing exercises
  • Breath taking dives to amazing spots at a swim distance from the shore
  • A challenging physical activity that is very rewarding
  • A lot of fun

Photo and video credit – Alon Rivkind, free diving instructor and Israeli free diving record holder

Things you don’t learn in high school

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Things we learn in high school Things we don’t learn in high school
Math: Derivatives and integral How to handle your finances, what is an interest rate
Astronomy, geography Recycling, minimalism, caring about the planet.
Physics, mechanics Repairing simple appliances
History Conflict resolution
Biology of the human body First Aid
Grammar Effective writing. Letters, resume, etc
Logics Critical thinking
Pillars of democracy, the political system Respecting others’ opinions, being a considerate member of society
Bible studies, religion Spiritual concepts of presence, oneness and more
The logic of constructing an argument How to be a big person and see the bigger picture in an argument