And back to MARKETING we go.
As one reader pointed out: marketing is not advertising. Marketing is about segmeting your target market, doing research into that target market, their wants, their needs, and upon discovering those wants and needs, miraculously filling a lucrative gap in the market by developing a product tailored to meet all the needs of that target group).
So far, my engineer’s brain is going, “tick!” Makes sense. There is a need, there is a gap, you fill the gap and get rich.
Ok, so now I propose a shocking and totally new idea: Women are better marketers than men!
*Shock* , *Horror*, *Outrage*
Ok, actually I lied. Its not new or my idea…lets see what the experts say:
“There is, perhaps, no more important skill for a marketer than empathy. While the media and outsiders tend to perceive marketing as a matter of spin and persuasion, the reality has always been different. It is fundamentally a challenge of understanding. Yes, later on we create advertising and packaging and other rhetorical tools, but the primary issue for all marketers is to understand their consumer and bring that understanding into the organisation. Without this basic empathy for the target market, our marketing efforts are probably going to be in vain.
It’s clear, therefore, why women have such a biological advantage when it comes to marketing. Their brains are simply better at understanding others. Male marketers are more likely to make the crucial error of assuming that their own thoughts and reactions can be extrapolated to those of the market. Female marketers, in contrast, are more likely to truly get inside the head of the market and base their strategies on the real needs of consumers.”
Ok, like wow! But really, what does this mean to you and me? We’re engineers, not marketers. And we dont work in jobs where you can use these kinds of skills that we’re apparently born with…
But why not? With the dramatic rise in numbers of women in the field of engineering, surely we’ve got to see these special gifts popping up here and there at some point? You cant have a whole lot of tall, short, young, chubby, cute, fiesty, butch, emotional, strong, skinny, tomboyish, petit, girly women making the exodus onto Mars without them bringing something of their Venetian heritage along with them. So how can being naturally good at marketing help you as an engineer? Let me try and give you a few examples:
- Starting/ running an engineering business. This week I have been going through piles of tender applications for different companies that want to be awarded various contracts for the project. An attractive package that includes all the basic information already gives a positive image of the company. Companies that have taken the time to go through our requirements and tailor their applications to align with our needs (relevant information and personalised cover letter) really stand out. You’re left thinking-they will give us what we’re looking for! All the above things are not technical in nature-but will likely score your company higher!
- Landing that interview. My experience on finding the right job is really, really difficult. You have to apply for a large number of positions, and have to be really good at handling rejoection! (Especially in this economy!) The first thing possible employers see is your resume and cover letter. From these few pages, they have to decide whether you are a worthy candidate and whether you will fit in with their ethos. You have to tailor each resume/ cover letter you submit according to the company you’re applying to, knowing VERY little information about the company (website/ advertisements/ meeting company ambassadors at campus)
- Landing that job. As with the resume, during your interview, the interviewers are looking for several key things. One of them (especially in client-facing environments) is how you come across. Another is if you are a good fit for their company. Marketing yourself appropriately for different posts and different companies is key to success. For example, I was offered jobs for a engineering (mining) firm and a marketing (fast moving consumer goods) firm. Both interviews were tough, but each were looking for totally different things! I had to adapt not only what experience I chose highlight, but also the way I spoke, dressed, answered questions based on the values of each company.
- Networking. Marketing yourself is in incredibly important aspect of your career. You need to firstly make an effort to look prefessional-clean and neat. See my post Selling Yourself-Where Engineers Get it Wrong. Who knows? That person you impressed at that conference/ cocktail event may end up being your next interviewer, or even employer! (or boyfriend for that matter)
- Blogging/ Website design. Need I say more? Ok, ok. The fact that you’re reading this right now shows that I’m doing something right. My passion is outreach. I just enjoy sharing a little bit of my world with others, and hope it inspires others to reach for their dreams. Blogs are a great way to make money though, and if you can write about something technical, you may just find a market for it! But take it from a blogger who has been through the gauntlet with readership-marketing is a huge part of it.
- Selling inventions to clients/ your boss. I recently met someone who worked in the IT wing of a major bank. He had a young team under him that was made up of computer sciece majors, engineers and business science majors. One thing that he mentioned was that the engineers in his team consistently came up with great ideas, but really struggled with convincing others it was a good idea at all. Their presentation skills were poor, and they lacked the ability to sway the team’s opinion on things. Whether you are selling an invention, idea in a brainstorming session or just a minor change to the way a process works on your plant, good marketing is imperative!
And one more from EcoHawk-which I completely hadn’t thought about:
- Getting involved in a project/ out of it. If you want to be moved onto a project you like, you can sell the team leader the idea that more people would be advantageous, or that your skills could be beneficial to them. Similarly, you can weasel your way out of one using the same skill-set.
Sneaky EcoHawk-very sneaky! But I like the idea of taking the initiative to make sure you are enjoying what you do!
Wow! All of these points are really critical to your success in a career. And we’ve read how women have a natural, phisiological advantage in these spheres which require good marketing skills. I do believe that there are a great number of women out there who are already tapping in to this.
Isn’t is time you do to?
If you have used your feminine gift of intuition and empathy to market your way to success, write to me and tell me how you did it. I’d love to post it.