Preparing a Job Search Marketing Plan

Creating a marketing plan is an often overlooked step in the job search process. Taking the time to think through your options and capturing them on paper will help you understand what you want and how to get there. In this article, you will learn how to create a simple marketing plan.

IT IS SIMILAR TO A BUSINESS PLAN
Perhaps you are like many job seekers. You have completed your resume and started to send it out. While your resume is important, it looks backwards at education, experience and interests. This can be sort of like driving a car while looking in the rear view mirror. The marketing plan is a powerful tool because it looks forward and provides a road map for your search.

While you might not have heard of marketing plans as part of a job search, we have all heard stories about entrepreneurs, who create a business plan to attract financing partners. It tells the story of the plans for the company in which they are investing.

There are two reasons the business plan is so important. The first is that it serves as a communication tool to tell the investor what the objectives are for the investment. The second, and just as important, it forces the entrepreneur to describe the investment on paper. If the plan does not hang together on paper, there is no way it will in reality. This forces the entrepreneur to think through the plan before going out to raise money.

The same concept is at work in the job search. You need to think through (a) what type of job fits your interests and background, (b) whether you have the required skills to obtain your dream job and (c) if your plan makes sense given the current market conditions. For example, if you dream of being a surgeon, but flunked high school biology this may not be a viable plan. If you are a high school teacher and want to move into corporate training, you may have comparable skills to create an opportunity.

HOW TO PUT A PLAN TOGETHER
All you need is a simple, one page marketing plan. It is not only easy to construct, it will be a handy tool because it will be easy to grasp the message quickly.

The primary questions to answer are where do you want to work and what do you want to do? If you don’t know where you want to go, any road will take you there. The more focused the target, the easier it will be to describe it to yourself and others. Ask yourself the following:

• For what target position are you best suited?
• In what industry or industries do want to work?
• In what segment(s) do you want to work?
• For what companies do you want to work?

Consider what position(s) can use your skill set. Be creative in your thinking. You may be surprised to find opportunity where you never considered.

Look at potential industries to determine where your skills are the best fit. Think about the industry you are in, but most important, look at other industries to determine how your skills can be utilized.

Identify the segments of the industry that are best suited for you. Think about geography, company size, markets they serve, or whatever may be significant in your area.

Then, identify the companies that you think are the best mutual fit.

Of course, you have to be realistic. Your training, skill set, and experience have to support the direction you want to take. This is the time to explore what options you have based on your background. Broaden your thinking as much as possible to include areas that you may not have thought of previously. Or find and explore companies that you may not have been aware of.

Keep in mind that the information that you work from, or the assumptions you make, may not contain the complete story. Don’t worry, your plan can and should be revised as you go along.

The marketing plan provides an excellent tool for discussion when networking. Print out copies of your plan and bring them with you to networking meetings. Ask to be introduced to people that may be able to guide you, and ask those people if they would give you their opinion on your plan.

Clinical Trials Marketing With Direct Mail

Sites, CROs, and sponsors face a constant puzzle: how best to conduct clinical trials marketing in a way that is highly effective and yet affordable. On the one hand, without excellent participants no clinical research will even be possible. On the other hand, spending an inordinate amount of time and money searching for those participants takes away from the ability to conduct the research itself.

Why Traditional Methods Fail

Clinical trials marketing has traditionally relied on visual, audio, and print media to reach volunteers. These methods include:

Television commercials
Radio spots
Billboards, city bus ads, and other public signs
Newspaper advertisements

Some sites attempt larger-scale marketing efforts by participating in community events, fairs, and conferences in order to meet potential trial participants face to face. All of these marketing techniques are expensive, and they all suffer from at least one major flaw: They are too wide-sweeping.

Clinical trials are not intended for everyone, like an advertised product might be. Therefore, it does not make sense to spend money advertising them to every home in a given community. Even standing at a booth at a community fair is an inefficient way to find people with a certain indication who might be willing to join a trial.

Is the Internet the Answer?

The rise of Facebook, Google+, and other social networking sites appeared to offer a solution for clinical trial marketers. It costs very little, if anything, to broadcast a call for volunteers on Facebook or Twitter. Unfortunately, these online efforts suffer from the same flaw as traditional media: they are too wide-sweeping. Without building a social network of diabetes patients, for example, it is difficult to reach a targeted group of volunteers for a diabetes trial.

The Answer: Direct Mail

CROs, sponsors, and site managers should not overlook the most effective, affordable way to perform clinical trials marketing: direct mail. While “every door” direct mail would be just as wide-sweeping as the above methods, a targeted mailing list is the ideal solution. Here are a few important reasons why:

Every postcard or flyer you pay for reaches a recipient who is highly likely to qualify for your study.
Mail is hard to ignore: You check your mail every day and look at every piece you receive.
A flyer/postcard is a physical item, not a passing commercial or radio ad.
Using direct mail to your best advantage is incredibly easy when you use a service that handles the entire mailing process for you.

As technology continues to take over in so many areas, remember that a well-designed mailer still has the best chance of attracting and holding attention. When that mailer lands in the mailbox of a person who has already expressed interest in clinical research trials, its value is multiplied.

The Value in Letting Return on Investment Drive Your Marketing Decisions

Based on the topics I write about, it could be easy to assume that I am against all forms of traditional marketing. This is not true. I am against marketing that requires a heavy investment on the front-end and that has a high or unknown cost per lead. In other words, in many cases I think companies take a great risk by using mass media such as television and newspapers to promote their business. A more prudent course in many cases is to use marketing strategies that place your message in front of a well defined group of people (your target market) and that has a lower cost per lead than mass media.

That is why my company still uses direct mail even though we are an Internet marketing company. Our sales letters go to a specific group of people whom we have determined would benefit from our services and are in a position to purchase them. Each letter costs us about fifty cents, which is way less that would cost as with mass media to reach those specific people.

That is also why I love search engine marketing and social media marketing. These marketing techniques get our message in front of exactly the people who need our services or who are potential referral sources. And we accomplish this not with a large cash outlay but by simply talking about and writing about the things we do (which we like to do anyway).

Also, we’re discovering that search engine optimization and social media and direct mail are not mutually exclusive. For instance, when we update one of our blogs, there is a search engine optimization effect because we are creating keyword rich content that links to our main web sites. Our blog posts then become the source of group discussion material in social networking sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook. When we send out a sales letter out, we always reference our web site.

All of this marketing is very low cost and highly targeted. It is also ROI (return on investment) driven. ROI is a wonderful gauge for comparison. I don’t think you can say the same thing about a TV ad. However, if you’ve got the cash to burn and are looking to generate a branding effect, then mass media is invaluable.