marketing

Yesterday I stepped out of my last exam thus completing a Bachelor of Business (Management/Marketing) from Monash University. Well technically I still have a piece of assessment due in March but let's not talk about that. Looking back, in a concluding sort of manner, here's the six lessons I take away from my time as an undergraduate. 1) Play the game University is about playing the game. Once you learn how to work the system, achieving good grades is easy. I worked it out towards the end of my second year, and my grades were consistently better from there on out. It's not about saying the right thing but giving the teachers what the want to hear. Students aren't encouraged to apply themselves, they're told what to write, do "research" (read: plagarise off a journal article) and any form of creative execution goes unrewarded. Instead you play the game to get the grades. 2) It's important where you sit For some reason universities are far too keen on group work. Which I don't have a problem with because that's the way it should be done in the grown up world. However if you're caught in a shit group, it's too bad. Upon raising concerns with teachers about said group you'll be told that it's too bad, in the real world you don't get to choose who you work with. Except in the real world people who are shit don't get employed. And if they don't do anything they lose their job. In some cases I single handedly carried useless groups to HDs (arrogant but true). The best way to overcome this is to make sure you attend in Week 1 and sit next to "good" people and try and get into a group with them. 3) Be loud Being the loud arrogant kid in class isn't all bad. Opinionated students never receive anything but full marks for class participation and presentations. Even if what you're saying is rubbish the fact that you're saying it gets you points. Especially when you sit in a class full of people unable to speak up in front of others. 4) Rote learning is for winners Studying the night before an exam trying to think of stupid acronyms to help you remember a list of six items that you forget on the way out of the exam got me through my degree. Likewise for when a tutor tells you that you can't do an assignment the night before it's due. Challenge accepted and you prove them wrong when you smash it. 5) Drink beer with your lecturers Well, the cool ones anyway. It makes a massive difference when you can rock up to Week 1 and the tutor or lecturer already knows you because you've met them through other staff members. Can't state enough how helpful this is, especially beyond academic performance. 6) Uni teaches you to learn Most importantly; I will finish on the the biggest point. Uni helped me realise my career interest. I wouldn’t say it taught me a lot about it, perhaps a few basics, but it did teach me to get off my ass if I wanted to follow it and go out on my own to learn it. In many ways, it taught me that university couldn't teach me what I needed to know. It got me interested in marketing and ultimately advertising, which made me realise I needed to learn on my own by reading books not on the text list, start a blog, meet people in the industry, do internships and ultimately score a gig. I suppose that's a rather negative take on the past four years of my life, one that will no doubt change as I look back on it in the future. There are certainly a few teachers who do good things and I would like to thank them. And I suppose because of that last point alone the ridiculous HECS debt and the piece of paper I receive when I graduate will be worth it....

Here's a slide from a marketing unit I took this semester. You'll have to ignore the death by PowerPoint. I'm sure you've seen similar statistics before. Generally taken from the Fortune 500 or similar, a survey that demonstrates how poorly senior management consider marketing. At least that's how it's explained in lectures. But that's not right. If these managers are running the most successful businesses in the world, why is there an assumption they're wrong? One would think they're doing a pretty damn good job as it is. Maybe that's exactly where marketing should be. ...

In my last post I blamed universities for creating bad clients. But maybe I could blame the industry.When I started my undergraduate degree at the tender age of seventeen, I had no idea what marketing was. Neither did any of my mates. We were all under the impression that marketing was advertising, and I'm sure many would argue this perception often doesn't change, even after you graduate.Our dream of working on ads was soon crushed by crippling numbers and boring accounting lectures. But maybe the reason we have bad clients is not because of the way marketing is taught. Instead perhaps all marketers inherently want to be advertisers, a misconceived possibility pushed upon them before OWeek due to ignorance.Is the marketing industry not marketing itself appropriately to high school students?...

In at least two of my units throughout my marketing degree I've been asked to develop a marketing plan as a piece of major assessment. This degree, for the most part, and particularly these units, is designed to teach people how to be marketers. Or as I prefer to call them; clients.But in both cases, the assessment involved putting together a campaign. Any assignment that said, "We'll get our advertising agency to develop and build a creative strategy" would have failed, Instead, students were required to develop creative (as the client), and in most cases without any kind of strategy.Coming from the arrogant advertising side, is this not giving students the wrong idea of how things work?Do these students go on to become that client who gets way too involved with the creative? Or comes up with an idea early on and pushes it from the start? Or perhaps they'll simply be unwilling to pay for strategy because they've never heard of it before?Anyway, I think the way marketing is taught is the reason to blame for poor client behavior. Ironically, the poor campaign that results is usually blamed on the agency.And on a side note, I wonder if media peeps have similar feelings....

I got some feedback about my last post. And it reminded me of something my now boss Russel Howcroft once said at a student event he spoke at. On career advice he could give to young marketers he said, "Always listen to your advertising agency." As someone who now works in advertising, I couldn't agree more. ;] So while the client might be the one who pays for those expensive award applications, and has the ability to make your co workers redundant, sometimes they're wrong. I guess Henry Ford's quote, "If I’d asked my customers what they wanted, they’d have said a faster horse" applies to more than just the people buying your product of shelves. Sometimes I think I think about this stuff too much....

In August this year I stumbled upon a contest called Bob's Got No Idea. The brand behind the campaign was yet to be revealed and entrants were asked to submit an essay or video demonstrating some sort of creativity about advertising. I initially dismissed it but at the last minute (reflecting back, somewhat gladly) decided to enter with this submission...

I almost feel as though I have neglected this bad boy a bit over the past few weeks. The good news is it's because I've been working flat out with an agency on a pitch. My very first pitch, which I gave to the client this morning. An important part of any young marketer's career I'm told. Anyway, unfortunately I can't give any deets for a while. However I can say my week involved circus training, free breakfasts, lunches and dinners, a hotel spa, a photo shoot and a rocking crew of people to work with. Probably a lifestyle I could get used to...

[caption id="attachment_1043" align="aligncenter" width="374"] Zac and Russel. I'll probably photoshop Todd in later.[/caption]   I was at an event on Wednesday night where Russel Howcroft from GPYR, although perhaps more commonly known from The Gruen Transfer, spoke. Talking to a bunch of students about to graduate and looking for jobs, he made one particular point that I thought was quite interesting. Now I'm paraphrasing here but a small part of his speech went something like this...

I was enjoying a coffee the other day with a design student mate of mine who introduced me to what I found to be a very fascinating concept; kitsch design.Kitsch design, he explained, at its most basic is design that is both useless and almost immediately becomes outdated. Perhaps the most common example is those cheap tacky plastic phone holders. They don't do anything except hold your phone, even though the desk is perfectly capable of that. Further, three months later every mobile phone on the market is too small to sit properly in the holder.This is kitsch design. Temporary with no real use that just ends up as land fill.I asked my mate why kitsch design even existed, and interestingly his answer was, "Marketing". The ability to make $2 million in two weeks from cheap crappy mobile phone holders means that kitsch design will always exist.But in a society where we place such importance on long term vision and sustainability, I hope you're not marketing something kitsch. And if you are, then it's probably worse than marketing ecstasy to children....