WELCOME TO THE DRAYTON BIRD BLOG - Commonsense about marketing, business and life

Leave now if easily shocked or politically correct. Otherwise, please leave your comments. Statements such as "brilliant", "hugely perceptive", "what a splendid man" and "can I buy you dinner at the restaurant of your choice" are all greeted with glee.

If you like, I'll e-mail you each new dollop of drivel when I publish it. Just click here to subscribe. If you want to succeed faster, get my 101 helpful marketing ideas, one every 3 days. People love them - maybe because they're free. Go to www.draytonbirdcommonsense.com and register. You also a get a free copy of the best marketing book ever written

Monday, 25 April 2011

Here's a splendid marketing lesson - especially for anyone young who wants a job

Joel Helfer is one of many people I correspond with, and he sent me a story that's a pretty good marketing lesson for anyone selling anything.

Joel's eldest son Zach is a graduate Architecture Student at the University of Illinois.

He's diligent (Joel says, being totally unbiased) in the top ten percent of his class, and had two summer jobs as an undergrad.

At the beginning of 2010, the construction job market in the Chicago Metro area was horrible. No jobs.

Zach was terribly frustrated, wondering if he'd chosen the right field.

Joel reassured him - after being been a glass and glazing contractor for over 35 years he was used to the ups and downs of the construction business (If you want to know what's happening to the economy, ignore the politicians who are mostly professional liars. Ask builders, cab drivers, restaurateurs and printers).

Timing is everything, and Joel had sold his business right before the crash.

Casting round for something to do he took some courses with Jeff Walker and Brendon Burchard, did some product launches and made out O.K.

But he hardly realised how this would help Zach - after a fair amount of trial and error

Here's what he and Zach did.

They bought the URL "www.hirezachhelfer.com" from Godaddy - the entire message in the URL.

They then sent up a simple wordpress blog - he bought three simple themes for under $100.

Zach set up a simple header with his picture and his contact information.

There were more pages for his resume and portfolio, giving all the information any firm hiring architects could want.

As David Ogilvy said, you can't save souls in an empty church. Who should they promote the website to?

So Joel went to the AIA website, and compiled a list of 400 architects around Chicago.

Now they had a list, what to send?

Joel decided to send an email article on the top ten things an architect should know, with links in the article back to the website.

The website also contained an interesting story about Zach, with a headline to catch their eye.

They put up a screen capture on the site to introduce him and sent out an email in early 2010 that got about a 60% open rate, which is pretty good.

They got 17 comments, 16 favourable, one not.

Zach got 3 interviews, one asking him to do marketing for an architecture firm, but got no summer jobs.

They didn't give up. Two more emails went out that spring and summer to remind firms who Zach was and what he wanted:.a job.

In winter of 2011, they revised the video, making it real, not just a screen capture.They shot it in their living room using a tripod and a Canon camera with a video option. (You don't need fancy equipment to make videos. I use a cheap Kodak). You can see what they created on the site.

They sent out the video again with new emails, and got a smaller response, but it was just before a career fair at the U of I which was attended by over 20 architecture firms.

To Zach's surprise, most of the firm reps knew him, and even called him by name, He had his resumes to pass out, but two firms said that wasn't necessary.

They already had them - downloaded from his website.

As Joel said, "Wow. It really worked."

As a result of that career fair after a marketing campaign lasting over a year Zach got two interviews, which led to a full time decently paid summer job, 20 minutes from home.

Zach came up with a pretty neat line. "I am not looking for a summer job. I consider this a 3 month interview for a full time job!" That line worked wonders and impressed many prospective employers.

What can you learn from this?

They used the latest internet marketing ideas - which are nothing new, really.

Zach was the lead, with the normal resume in the background

People buy from people - and in this case a person is what they were buying. I have been telling people for decades: your resume is far less important than your letter, just as the letter in a direct mail pack is far more critical than the brochure.

They did not give up. It took time; it was a campaign, not just the one shot most people take when sending out a resume, with no follow- up. I was irresistibly reminded of all the idiot clients who've said to me "we tried direct mail. It didn't work." Would you just "try" medicine?

They continually tweaked and improved. They measured the results - which again, a lot of marketers still don't do properly. Incredible stupidity!

They sent out 1600 emails over 14 months with an average CTR of over 40%.

They got over 30 replies, 29 favorable with 5 interviews - and the one thing they wanted: a summer job

And Zach is now one of the best known Architecture students around Chicago - which is famed for its architecture - and has made lots of valuable connections that will help him in his career.

Joel says that Zach thought he was crazy through most of this. Father knows best - well, sometimes!

This story reminded me of an interview I filmed with Rory Sutherland for my branding seminar in which we discussed the utter amateurishness of most marketers. The overwhelming majority don't go about things as intelligently as Joel did.

I might add that no matter what business you think you're in, the business you are in whether you like it or not is marketing.

By the way, Zach could hardly offer people much of a special discount, but I shall start offering some discounts in the next 12 hours..

If you come to any of my forthcoming seminars you will get a discount off my www.EADIM.com event in October, which is about nothing but marketing.

If you come to EADIM you will get a discount off the branding event I will run either immediately before or after that. And if you don't understand branding, you don't know enough about marketing

Why so generous with the discounts? Well, as they say in Italy, "One hand washes the other".

And the sooner I get EADIM filled up, the more I can concentrate on perfecting it - and the less on promoting it.

blog comments powered by Disqus