23. 10. 2018

The 5-Minute Digital Career Review Plan

Is your digital marketing career taking you where you want to go? Here’s how to size up your situation in just 5 minutes.Taking time to step back from the day-to-day blur of work and view our own careers through a long lens is something many of us wish we could do more often, but finding time for a deep-dive analysis is challenging for those managing busy schedules.With such a large portion of our waking hours and energies being poured into careers it’s important to feel confident that we’re on the right path and moving towards our goals.To help keep it simple, here are 10 quick questions to help you take a snapshot of your career in digital marketing.How do you stack up – are you on the right course, or is it time for a change?1. Am I learning?Personal development is one of the building blocks of a successful and rewarding career, and when other elements aren’t quite perfect the knowledge that at least you’re improving your skill set is a valuable factor to weigh in the balance.If you want to take a snapshot of your current situation, learning is a great place to start – are you picking up new skills on a routine basis, or reusing the same abilities over and over?If your job isn’t teaching you anything, it’s unlikely that it’s positioning you for anything better in future.2. Do I have clear criteria for success?To excel in any role it’s important to know where the bar is set for performance.Whether negotiating your future advancement or chronicling your achievements for your CV, everything depends on a clear understanding of what’s expected of you in your role and what constitutes excellence.Jobs which merely involve getting through the week without ‘dropping the ball’ and have no clear performance criteria can make it tricky to excel in the short term (giving you no grounds for a raise or promotion), and tough to demonstrate to a potential future employer that you delivered great results.  3. Am I being pushed?It’s never good to feel too comfortable in any position.Of course, it’s great to live stress free and to feel in control of your workload, but if you’re looking to keep your career moving forwards then you need a bit of pressure to keep you advancing.If your boss gives you too much space, or your abilities let you hit your objectives without approaching your maximum capacity, it’s a clear sign that your long-term trajectory will flatten out if you don’t take steps to change it.How can you prepare yourself for career-defining challenges in future if you’re not even giving the best of yourself now?4. Will I have advanced in 6 months?A simple way to benchmark your progress is in half-year cycles.Think about your current workload, your learning curve, the projects you’re working on, the tools you’re using and the clients and colleagues you’re working with…Then fast-forward six months, and think about what you will have achieved.Does it excite you? Make you feel proud?If yes, you’re most likely on a good track.If the next six months stretch out ahead of you with more of the same and nothing to feel motivated by, you might need to take some corrective action.5. Do I have valuable co-workers?Any self-improvement book or guide you pick up will tell you to surround yourself with people who are smarter or more experienced than you if you want to move forwards professionally.While this is usually meant in a social context (i.e. build yourself a network of successful friends and learn from them), it applies to your work environment too.Even if you don’t have any formal training as part of your position, interacting with A-players and observing how they operate can be an invaluable experience.If you run a quick check of the people you work with most closely (peers, managers, colleagues from other departments) and realize that they’re all top-performers who can help you grow, that’s an important asset that shouldn’t be underestimated. Just make sure you’re taking advantage of it.6. Do I have a strong mentor?As important as your colleagues are, it’s usually your direct manager that holds the biggest sway over your development.Sometimes - even when pretty much everything else on your career review scorecard turns out poorly - working beneath someone exceptional or inspirational can be a game-changer, and many people stay loyal to their jobs because of a great boss.If you’re one of them, you’re fortunate.However, just make sure you’re rounded and objective in your appraisal of your overall career development, and don’t let an excellent relationship with one key individual blind you to other failings that the wider company may be responsible for.7. Is someone tracking my progress?Career development is a partnership, not a one-sided responsibility of the employee.It’s helpful to step back from your day-to-day and ask yourself who else is monitoring your success, not just from a weekly or monthly KPI standpoint but from an overall perspective.Who notices whether or not you’re picking up new skills?Who cares if you’re consistently over-performing and might be ready for something new?Who’s looking at your knowledge gaps and working pro-actively to help you get better?Building a great career takes support, and it’s worth searching for an environment where your employer sees your growth as a shared investment.8. Am I on track to hit my financial goals?Most high-performing professionals break down their earnings goals into short and long term.This can be helpful as it enables you to review your current situation in two ways:In the first instance, you’re looking to see whether you have a clear financial path in the immediate future, e.g. do you know when your next pay review is scheduled for, and what your likely next salary level will be? Do you have a clear performance incentive plan (bonuses or commissions), and know what’s needed of you to hit 100%+?In the second instance, you’re thinking further down the line – Am I investing in myself by being here, and is my current role an investment towards a more lucrative opportunity in future?Answering ‘no’ to these questions is a definite orange flag and may cause you to focus on how to ensure your career path delivers for you financially as well as developmentally.9. Do I have a healthy work-life balance?Great performance usually means hard work – but that shouldn’t be all there is. An optimal career track will give you the resources and support to hit your goals, but also allow you the space to live your life outside the office and maintain other interests.When you weigh up your work-life balance, keep in mind who’s responsible for the key factors that affect your situation.If your company offers great perks, are you taking advantage of them?If you’re working exhausting hours, is that because your workload is excessive or because you’re struggling to deliver efficiently?Is any extra work you’re putting in a requirement of your current role, or an investment you’re choosing to make to accelerate your own advancement?​10. Am I happy?For many of us, this is the clincher and no appraisal is complete without a straightforward assessment of emotional wellbeing.Part of this comes from you – if you enjoy the daily components of your job and believe in the company you work for, then this should be a huge positive to take into consideration when evaluating some of the negatives on your list.The rest will come from your environment:Do you feel valued?Are your contributions recognized?Do you get on with your colleagues?Does your company have a healthy corporate culture?If you’re in a good place emotionally, that shouldn’t be eclipsed by default just because you could get a salary bump or a better job title by moving elsewhere.But In a diverse and continually-growing digital market where talent is in constant demand, you shouldn’t have to choose between a successful career and loving what you do. ,***Adaptive Digital recruits exclusively for the digital marketing sector, filling jobs across Europe and the USA for brands and agencies in Search, Social, Analytics, Programmatic, Mobile and more. To view all our current vacancies, click here.
05. 09. 2018

Augmented Reality – fading fad, or the future of digital advertising?

Augmented Reality is far from new in marketing – but are we now finally witnessing a long-awaited transition from an intriguing gimmick to a sustainable means of creating tangible results for innovative marketers?Along with other innovation drivers in digital marketing such as voice and AI, augmented reality is among several much-discussed sectors which are frequently claimed to be on the verge of disrupting the way brands and consumers connect.Momentum building?Despite all the early excitement, many marketers have been hesitant to fully commit to AR – as our infographic reported recently, nearly two thirds of brands don’t currently use augmented reality in any form. However, 72% stated their intention to integrate some form of AR or VR into marketing activity this year – so the signs are there that marketers are finally ready to move from passive observers to active experimenters.The resources to explore AR more freely are certainly developing rapidly – Apple’s ARKit and Google’s ARCore both offer developers the tools to create immersive experiences that combine digital data with the surrounding world.Google’s ‘experiments’ section also highlights multiple creative AR implementations, many of which offer versatile concepts that tech-savvy marketers can expand on to develop brand applications and campaigns.AR-focused agencies are also thriving, with heavyweight players acquiring capabilities in the space (such as WPP’s purchase of Within Unlimited) and independent boutiques growing rapidly.AR vs VRAlthough Facebook made headlines with their $3bn purchase of VR company Oculus, it seems to be augmented reality that is pulling ahead when it comes to marketing uptake. Chief among reasons is the dependence of most VR applications on bulky headset technology and the absence of user-friendly hardware to enable the experience. With ‘smart’ glasses still facing pricing, durability and battery-life challenges, it’s mobile devices which have taken centre stage and seem set to dominate for now.AR Marketing Use CasesAmong the many brands that have dabbled with augmented reality features, we have witnessed a wide range of approaches, each using technology in a different way to reach marketing goals:Iconic shoe company Converse launched an AR app as far back as 2010, allowing consumers to virtually try on different colours and styles of shoes. The app allowed social sharing as well as direct purchase.Paint manufacturers Dulux built an app to allow shoppers to virtually explore colour options in their homes before deciding on a paint for decoration.Furniture e-retail giants Wayfair created a way for customers to experience potential product purchases in their homes, ensuring colour and size matches with existing décor and space dimensions. Competitor IKEA also offers a similar tool to consumers.Cosmetics brand Sephora gave makeup shoppers an AR-powered way to experiment with new styles and colours, via an app that allows the user to virtually test lipsticks, eyeliners and other produces from their makeup range.Bombay Sapphire gave a new lease of life to their legendary blue glass gin bottles by enhancing labels with interactive AR content, providing customers with access to not only a stunning visual experience but recipe suggestions and more.Into the future?With an abundance of trial and error stories to build from and an increasing level of commitment from marketers to take the plunge into AR, there are some clear trends which emerge from the past few years of experimentation which are likely to shape the course of AR deployment in future:Novelty is not enough – unless creating a one-off showpiece campaign like VISA’s augmented reality stunt a few years back, marketers are faced with the challenge of ensuring that AR integrations provide genuine value to the customer, and are not simply over-complicating the delivery of basic product information. Novelty for its own sake may create a buzz, but will not build the long-term loyalty to make AR a sustainable tactic.Product interaction is key – AR experiences which bring the user into closer contact with products and purchase choices predictably deliver superior ROI, which has been a major driver behind the success of augmented experiences in retail. Apps which allow customers to interact with items, compare options or browse accessory purchases have the potential to out-perform those which are based around brand awareness or visual experience alone.AR truly is just getting going – along with the examples listed above, the opportunities for augmented stoytelling, data presentation, e-commerce and consumer interaction remain vast. AR no longer belongs only to mainstream retail, with potential being harnessed by diverse sectors including journalism – as the NY Times demonstrated with their recent attempts to bring their audience closer to the story. As other industries awake to the potential of AR, expect a rise in innovation, investment and a wealth of new ways to enhance the digital consumer experience.Adaptive Digital is a recruitment agency specialized in digital talent and career opportunities. You can check out Adaptive Digital’s full list of digital marketing job throughout Europe and North America here.
23. 07. 2018

Agency or in-house? How to pick your digital career path

Working as a recruiter specialized in the Digital Marketing Sector, perhaps the most frequent piece of advice I’m asked for by candidates is whether to focus their careers on the agency side of the sector or build their careers within corporate ‘in-house’ marketing teams. It’s a choice many digital marketers make, and there are a lot of factors that weigh in the balance. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer, but there are some interesting positives and negatives of careers on both sides. I advise candidates to choose based on their individual career needs: learning new skills, adding brands to their CV, working with different budget sizes, increasing versatility or gaining rapid promotion.
19. 07. 2018

Own your digital career development

Building your career should be exciting and empowering, but sometimes it can feel as though the speed and direction of our progress is out of our hands.Looking to take back control?Here are some simple, actionable ways to make sure you’re in the driving seat of your own development.  How is it that some people power upwards through the career ladder faster than you can track, while others inch forward with a minor promotion every few years?At Adaptive Digital I’ve had the opportunity to work with digital marketing professionals across a variety of disciplines – search, social, programmatic, mobile, e-commerce, analytics and more.I’ve seen some candidates’ careers shoot up like rockets, leaping from promotion to promotion and cycling up through the pay grades. (My colleague Owain recently covered five great examples here).Others have moved more slowly, and I’m often asked by candidates frustrated with the pace of their career progress what they can be doing to keep moving forward.How do the shooting stars do it?The lady who went from Email Marketing Manager to E-Commerce Director in the blink of an eye… is she superhuman?Probably not – she’s most likely applying a few simple strategies that put her in control of her own career.Based on my work with career high-flyers, here are the best ways to ensure you own your progress.Work backwards from your goalsGoals can be defined in terms of earnings, job title, responsibility and many other factors.Whatever they are, you need to build a set of stepping stones to get there.If you’re earning €85,000 and your goal is to reach €100,000+, you need to map your journey to that goal.Calculate how much a realistic annual increase may be (either through internal promotion or switching companies) and you can structure some time-frames to get to your goal.Waiting around for a 20% raise won’t work.Turning goals into plans is the secret. Plans keep you focused and ensure you work on other areas of your development to make progress achievable.Fight StagnationThe corporate world has conditioned many of us to think of progress and development in annual cycles.Why?That’s often the frequency with which our positions and our pay get reviewed by employers.If you want to truly take control of your development, you need to set your own time-frames.I’ve worked with many ambitious digital marketers who break that 12 month cycle down into 6, or even 3.With each period, they hold themselves accountable to progressing in key areas of their development, such as:Learning – have I acquired new skills? Do I understand things better?Results – am I doing this better than I was before?Network – have I made new connections that will help me?Exposure – have I interacted with a new team, tool, customer or project type?Earnings – have I taken steps towards a raise, promotion, bonus or financial improvement?Involve othersCompanies are seldom run by one individual. They’re led by a collaborative management team who lean on each other for support, advice and motivation.Leaving one person in charge is too much stress, too much risk and unlikely to produce results.Your career is one of the most important elements of your life – why not take the same approach?Proactively involving friends and colleagues in your career goals can give you some much-needed accountability and drive.Your manager is another key person to speak with. In a best case scenario, you’ll bring out the best in him or her as they help you to succeed. In unhappier situations, you’ll see their limitations and realize you may not hit your objectives under their supervision.Know when to move onIt’s important to explore potential within your current company before throwing in the towel.Good companies value ambition and will work with you to help develop your career.With that said, not all companies can give you the framework you need to reach your goals, however hard you work. Even if you do everything right you can only ever be part of the equation.Don’t stick with a company that can’t provide the opportunities, culture or investment to enable your progress. If you try and make it work but are feeling push-back, it may be the right time to make a change.* * *Adaptive Digital provides recruitment services for professionals in the digital marketing industry.Anyone looking to discuss their next career step, feel free to reach out via LinkedIn or at info@adaptive-digital.comYou can view a full list of Adaptive’s digital marketing career opportunities here.
12. 07. 2018

How to write brilliant interview follow-up notes

Are ‘thank you’ notes after interviews and outdated concept? Far from it. They can have a big impact and give candidates a leading edge in tight selection processes. Here’s a guide to make sure yours hits the mark.Have you ever written a follow-up note after an interview?Many people haven’t.Some candidates feel it’s being pushy to email the interviewer straight after their meeting.Other people think the whole concept of a ‘thank you’ note is something you’re more likely to do when someone gifts you a toaster as a wedding present…However, from our experience at Adaptive Digital recruiting for both mid-level and senior roles across the digital marketing industry, follow-up notes can be a big opportunity for job-seekers to advance their candidacy and gain the upper hand over their competition.Your bonus interview roundThe value of a follow-up note depends on how you think about it.If you approach it as a tedious formality, thanking the interviewer for their time and “looking forward to next steps”, then the outcome is unlikely to move the needle.Think about this instead: what if you had a bonus round as part of your interview process, one that other candidates didn’t get?Imagine that after the hiring manager has finished all their interviews, you can go back into their office for a private 1-1 meeting…No rigid interview format, no tests or interrogation, no time pressure.That’s your follow-up note – your bonus round.The right way to think about follow-upsWhat this in mind, let’s have a quick look at exactly what role follow-up notes should play in an interview process.Effective thank you notes are NOT:A formality that can be dashed out in 30 seconds, just to tick a boxSomething which can be copied and pasted from one company to the nextEffective thank you notes ARE:An extension of the interview processAn opportunity to address any pending topics from the live conversationA chance to gain an advantage over other candidatesA platform to show initiative, professionalism, interest and commitmentA natural segue into the next round of discussionsHiring managers know this too – they’re seeing you in action outside of the fixed interview steps. They learn more about you – your correspondence style, your timing, your communication, how you’re visualizing the role and your relationship-building skills.It’s a golden opportunity you can’t afford to miss.Five ways to write effective post-interview follow-up notes:Be genuineIf your note is filled with business jargon and empty platitudes, you might as well not send it. Sitting down to write what you think the hiring manager wants to read is not going to work.If you’re excited about the opportunity and think you’re a fit, let that sentiment take center stage and the note will have a much more authentic feel to it.Be professional, but be real.Be specificBefore you send your note, read it back and ask yourself “could this have been written for another company or another role?”If the answer is yes, it’s not specific enough. Effective notes will be based on the conversations with the hiring manager, the business problems and opportunities that the company faces. The current team, the tools they use, their customers…Work hard to connect those unique elements and make sure your note reads personally and specifically for the recipient.Take the initiative Thank you notes are a great chance to show you can do more than just follow the flow of an interview process.If it’s appropriate, you can address any points of the interview where you felt you didn’t shine, or any aspects of your experience that may not meet the job requirements 100%.On a more positive note, you can suggest aspects of the role or company you’re looking forward to learning more about, or comment on any additional reading or research you’ve done since the meeting.Include othersIf there is more than one person involved in the hiring process, try to make sure your message reaches them all.If you don’t have their direct contact information, mention them in your note and ask that it be forwarded to them.Remember, this is your ticket to the next round of interviews, and if you’ve reinforced your candidacy effectively then you want as many people as possible to be notified.Sell your solutionCrucially, your note should close with a detailed statement explaining how hiring you will help the manager and help the business. There’s nothing wrong with “looking forward to being part of the team”, but if that’s all you’re offering then you’re not giving the hiring manager much incentive to pick you over someone else.A really brilliant note should sign off with a compelling picture showing the positive impact you’ll make if you get the job. * * *Putting it all together, an effective thank you note should help you to stand out from the pack as a serious, professional candidate with a strong, business-driven interest in the specific role.Good luck!And if you have additional tips and advice for digital industry peers, we’d love to hear them below.You can check out Adaptive Digital’s full list of digital marketing job opportunities across SEM, Social, Programmatic, AdTech, Mobile and Ecommerce here.
29. 06. 2018

Agency Director to VP - How to Make the Jump

Obtaining a VP title is a career goal pursued by many ambitions digital marketers. Within most agency hierarchies, it’s a coveted tier of leadership that only a select group of top performers ever reach. What does it take to get there?Based on our deep experience working with digital marketing professionals, Adaptive is often asked by Director and Group Director-level candidates what employers are looking for when making VP hires or promotions.So here you have it – our top 3 tips on how to build your profile to make VP grade.1. Establish thought leadership.‘Thought leadership’ is a term that gets thrown around so much that it can get a little blurry. When it comes to career progression, we’re talking about documenting your expertise in a way that showcases your capabilities and experience together with those of your company. Start taking steps towards this, and not only will your value become more apparent to your seniors but also to a wider audience.This doesn’t mean becoming a Twitter addict and amassing thousands of generic followers, it’s to do with creating content that gives others some transparency into your capabilities. This blog example from Martin Jacobs, GVP of Technology at Razorfish, is a great example.Thought leadership doesn’t have to be purely external, either. It can mean being more strategic in the way that you circulate your work or accomplishments within an organization, such as sharing client pitches or other valuable materials you create.Bottom line – work on creating durable and shareable illustrations of your ability to supplement your daily work and interactions. This will boost signals of your worth to executive management.  2. Build a team that backs you.Director-level candidates who invest in their team members and act as coaches for professional development stand a far greater chance of making it to the next level in their own careers.The effects of this investment will be widespread – people talk, and talk travels.Developing internal advocates and helping others achieve excellence can have a positive impact on everything from in-office gossip to 360 reviews and even exit interviews. This support base is a powerful platform which can broadcast your reputation across an organization and ensure you’re always top of mind when promotion opportunities are under discussion.3. Show breadth of vision.One of the big differentiators between candidates who interview for VP-level roles and those who land the jobs is their ability to show a wider business vision than the basic requirements of their daily roles.A simple building block of this is commercial awareness – thinking more like a business owner and less like an employee.The higher someone rises in an organization, the bigger their field of view needs to be. Where mid-managers are concerned with solving short and near-term challenges for their teams and clients, top management have their eyes on the horizon for long-term threats and opportunities.Candidates pushing to reach VP level need to show that they can think this way too, and display not just technical or managerial accomplishment within their roles but an understanding of how macro commercial, social and political currents will impact the organization and its customers.* * *You can view a full list of Adaptive Digital’s senior marketing career opportunities here.