So, you’re starting to plan your next steps and enter the formative years of your working life by embarking on an Experiential Marketing career – one of the most exciting areas of marketing. Good choice!
If you’ve followed the advice from Part I of our blog ‘How to launch a career in Experiential Marketing’ then the chances are you have already built up some grass roots experience, cutting your teeth on the ground working some promotional staffing jobs. If you haven’t yet, then it’s not too late and we can’t recommend enough the importance of getting some experience in the field at some stage in your progress up the Experiential Marketing career ladder.
But firstly, let’s understand some of the real pleasures of working in this area and why it is such a great industry to be working in.
Before I started my Experiential Marketing career back in 2002, I had been working on a variety of music, tv and film projects and I loved so many aspects of this – working in a crew environment, creative challenges which varied daily, the temporal pressure of having to pull things together in tight time frames and ultimately, that you were creating a product which would move people.
I very much see experiential as a combination of the key production and creative elements involved in filmmaking (i.e. developing a story (in this case a brand’s story), finding locations designing sets, creating a journey for a customer, bringing the scene to life and engaging people). With marketing, of course, you have the additional challenge of delivering results for your clients in the form of measured brand awareness, product trial and ultimately, sales.
So, for me the opportunity of experiential marketing ticked so many boxes, while providing the framework within an exciting and growing industry, to build a company culture with a great working environment and a long term business model.
From our perspective we know that we need to attract a varied set of skills within the agency, in order to create and deliver experiential projects, but we don’t expect all new starters to hit the ground running. There is a decent development programme to undergo before you can begin vying for the Account Director positions – but here’s a shortlist of some of the key attributes we (and I’m sure many other agencies in our position) look for.
Culture is best described as the personality and values of the agency. It goes as far as defining the vision, ethics and work environment. For your relationship with an agency to be successful then you need to ensure you love their culture and that you fit comfortably within it. A poor cultural fit (while bearable for a while) will ultimately drag you and the agency down a path neither of you would ideally like to lead – so make sure you devote some time to understanding the agency’s culture and ask yourself “is this the right place for me?”.
I won’t lie, we get dozens of emails each week or so from prospective employees, but I can honestly say that those who are genuinely passionate about the industry stand out. Sycophantic emails gushing with praise of the agency’s work are less likely to appeal – simply because they often fail to deliver what we (as agency employers) really want to know: What Can you Bring to the Agency.
It’s unlikely any agency will be expecting too much experience in the industry – this is why having at least some experience of Promotional Staffing or working in events will carry some weight and definitely help your case. However, what you need to do is think carefully about what skills of yours are transferrable, what you really enjoy doing and how these can be applied to the industry. Do you love designing experiences? Then perhaps production or creative is your game. Do you love dealing with people and project managing? Then maybe you’re better suited to Account Management or Staffing.
All I can say is that embarking on an Experiential Marketing career proved to be the right choice for me and a fantastic industry to be in. It’s constantly evolving in response to the latest cultural changes and technologies and, if you’re like me and love working in an exciting, creative and fast-paced environment – it’s always fun!