In an industry full of hyperbole, it’s little wonder we’re quite fond of fancy new words and phrases for old things. ‘Growth hacking’ for example, at least where I come from, used to be called ‘marketing’. Or was at least part of the process.
I know I’ll get shouted down for saying that, with people insisting it’s different, it’s new, it’s fancy, (which is a credit to the marketers who invented the term), but if you go back to basics, and the 4 P’s of marketing (product, price, place and promotion) I think we can all agree growth hacking pretty easily fits into at least one of those Ps — quite often the ‘product’ part.
And if I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a billion times, when it comes to looking for a job, you are a product. I know it sounds harsh and impersonal, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true. An organisation has a problem — a job to fill. And someone, hopefully you, needs to be the solution. And not just any solution, but the best solution.
Like all marketing, however, there can be a bit of a gap between ‘product’ and ‘promotion’. In marketing, I have a saying:
“Advertising is for lazy marketers”
Because the truth is, amazing stuff, amazing products, or services, usually market themselves courtesy of word of mouth. You know what needs really good marketing? Really bad products. And ordinary and average ones. Anything less than the absolute best ones really. Because people aren’t talking about them, people aren’t sharing amazing reviews, people aren’t recommending them, which means you need to generate your own noise.
It applies to actual products and services. And it applies to potential employees.
Which is good news. And bad news. The bad news is, even if you’re a really good product, the best possible employee for the job, you’re stuffed if you can’t communicate that effectively. The good news, for every single person who isn’t the best, which is everyone except for one person, is that good marketing can get you one up on someone who is better than you.
So you know that whole “best person for the job” thing? It’s not the be all and end all. You know what is? The best person at convincing an employer they’re the best person for the job. AKA good marketing.
The marketplace is littered with superior products, that didn’t find their place for any number of reasons. Just as there are plenty of skilled and talented and lovely people who miss out on jobs to less skilled, less talented and less lovely people who are better at marketing themselves.
Please understand, being a great marketer won’t help you keep or excel at your job. Once people have bought you or your product, you’d better damn well deliver. But good marketing will definitely help you land a job.
So be clear, know your target market. Know what problem you need to solve for them. Communicate how you’re going to solve it in an engaging, relevant, compelling way. And reach that audience with as much frequency as you can during your campaign period. Sound familiar? Exactly. Even if you might be one of those people who likes to call it by another name, it’s marketing.