Take a minute and imagine what it was like to be a marketing professional just a few short decades ago. In those days, marketing meant advertising, and the companies with the biggest budgets won the battle for consumer attention. To get reporters interested in what you did, a Rolodex was critically important and you needed a reliable fax machine to get those pitches out.
How about finding a job in the not-so-good ol' days? That sure was awful. We obsessed over our printed CV and continually "networked." We cold-called friends of friends and random people we met at trade shows to see if they could help us land a job. We didn't even have websites with job postings. It was practically the Dark Ages.
Getting attention a few decades ago was nearly impossible. I know because I started in sales and marketing in the mid-1980s. I was Asia marketing director for Knight-Ridder Financial, the No. 4 player behind Reuters, Dow Jones, and Bloomberg. It was expensive and I had no budget. And, to be honest, it wasn't much fun. Perhaps you recall that era too. Those were dark days.
Don't even get me started on looking for a job in the '90s. Ugh! It was enough to make you want to be a slacker.
We are incredibly lucky. We're living in a time when we, as marketers-of products or ourselves-can reach the citizens of the world directly, without having to spend enormous amounts of money on advertising and without investing in huge public relations efforts to convince reporters and analysts to write (or broadcast) about our products and services. Today, you can show potential employers what you know and what you can do so they will find you!
There is tremendous opportunity right now to reach people by publishing great content on the web that brands us as leaders. Thanks to tools such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn, now we can create videos, tell stories, interact with people, and develop the content that people want to consume and are eager to share.
Hey, we can even have fun!
But as the lottery slogan points out, "You can't win if you don't play." There's a whole new world of possibility out there. Are you part of it? Are you earning the attention of your potential customers? Or is your marketing and PR program the same as it was in 1994? Are you spending huge amounts of money on advertising, trade show booths, expensive agencies, and other ways to buy the attention of your marketplace? Or are you creating the valuable information that the search engines reward and people share with their friends?
Are you developing a network by publishing on social media so that you are a must-hire employee? Or are you still deciding which color paper-eggshell or ecru-to print your resume on?
If you're not participating in the social sphere by now, then when? This isn't just a tool for college kids any more. CEOs and grandmothers are using social media. People have launched entire careers on YouTube and pay the bills with their blogs-and it is high time you get on board.
We are so incredibly lucky to be working in 2011. We are light-years ahead of where we once were. I don't edit brochure copy. I don't send a press release and pray for results. Instead I create videos, blog posts, magazine columns, ebooks, dead tree books, and speeches with each one designed to send people to me on the web.
You can do it too. Now is a terrific time to start. It is not too late. If you've got something to say, then say it.
We, the audience, have a ravenous appetite for good content, and you and your company have what it takes to fill that need. We're searching Google for what you have to offer. We want to hire you. We need companies like yours to solve our problems. If you create something interesting, we're eager to share it on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. Heck, we'll do half the work for you-all you have to do is create good content.
Take advantage of the wide open world at your fingertips. Now, more than ever, you are in charge of your own success, and that's the best place to be.