5 tips for landing a job in technology marketing
Marketing and technology are two very different enterprises -- marketing people sell, and tech people use their math, science or engineering skills to devise new products and find solutions to technical problems.
Tech marketers bring these two pursuits together, and the more seamlessly the better. So how do you convince a prospective employer that you have both the technical aptitude and the communication savvy to make their cell phones, computers, tablets or other gadgets irresistible to target audiences?
How you approach your prospective employer will vary depending on how far up the corporate ladder you're aiming. But the tips below are useful for a broad spectrum of tech marketing jobs.
1. Know the technology ... or convince them you can learn it.
This is fundamental. As a marketer, you'll often be introducing new products and services. If you don't really understand the technology, you'll be forced to stick with generic pitches -- always less convincing than a well-tailored argument. And you're more prone to make an embarrassing flub.
If you don't have a tech background, you may still be a strong candidate. Show that you've learned as much as you reasonably could about the relevant technology before stepping into the interview. Technology changes fast, so demonstrating that you can catch on quickly is a good idea, since it's pretty much guaranteed that you'll be constantly learning on the job.
2. Know the company.
You don't need encyclopedic knowledge of every product the company has ever released, but it's a good idea to be familiar with its major product lines, as well as its market space and biggest competitors.
3. Show that you can translate technical ideas into language anyone can understand.
Part of the genius behind Apple's marketing is its willingness to forgo tech jargon for simple human appeal (hence the "I'm a Mac, I'm a PC" commercials, or the iPad ad that simply showed someone using one while lounging on a couch). That underscores the point that you don't have to be a technical wizard to market technology, but you do have to be a deft communicator, both in writing and verbally. You'll have ample opportunity to showcase the latter skill in a job interview. If you can talk about the company and its products in a compelling, succinct and persuasive way, you'll go a long way toward convincing your interviewer that you're right for the job.
4. Give examples of marketing plans you executed successfully.
(Even more importantly, show the strategy you used to get there.) Perhaps you're thinking, "I'm pretty new to this business, and I haven't had the chance to conceive a marketing plan yet." Don't let that stop you from sharing your ideas. Strategic thinking is critical in marketing, and if you've got it, (politely) flaunt it.
5. Look beyond cool to the bottom line.
New technology is often exciting -- Look, I can make a movie on my phone! -- but more sophisticated marketers know that cool isn't always enough. Show that you understand the wow factor, but then describe how you would market the product to the company's business advantage.