Can A Mind of Science Master the Art of Marketing?
How can a graduate of an irrelevant major snatch a marketing position in a big firm?
Tiffany (Chinese Name: Liu Ruiyang)’s career plan sets a good example.
Since her graduation in 2014, Tiffany took just over one year to complete this important transition for her career, switching from Supplier to Client. She worked in an advertising agency, mainly involved in the media buying of e-commerce advertising before her job hopping to HP, one of her clients at that time.
The experiences in the advertising agency served as a launching pad for Tiffany since her major in Measurement & Control Technology and Instruments was completely irrelevant to a marketing career she craved for upon graduation. However, it is common in the advertising industry to accept an untrained young generation who craves for a different career development.
“Many employers of 4A firms didn’t have an advertising background. It’s very common. These companies provide great opportunities for individuals to grow, to learn the basics of this industry and the components of the marketing chain.”
During her term in the advertising agency, Tiffany participated in HP’s e-commerce advertising services, responsible for media buying of its e-commerce advertising. To be more specific, it was Tiffany’s responsibility to figure out the appropriate ad space, and what brings higher traffic and cost-performance ratio on e-commerce platform. “At that time, the advertising industry was transiting and exploring new possibilities with online advertising placement. Such kind of work required a lot of data as support, and my science and engineering background made me data-sensitive, which became my advantage.”
Working in the advertising agency opened the door to the e-commerce world for Tiffany. After one year of service there, she was ready for a broader platform where she could continue to explore marketing but from a higher perspective. Her ambition coincided with the split of HP’s PC and printer businesses. Tiffany deemed the position in HP printers’ e-commerce marketing department a perfect choice for her job hopping.
The 11.11 promotional campaign in 2015 was the first big challenge for her in HP. As a newcomer on e-commerce platform, there was no successful examples for her to learn and borrow. At that time, there were not as many mature practices for printers and supplies as that for the consumer packaged goods. Tiffany felt unsure about how to play in the e-commerce environment well.
However, a new trend emerged in 2015 that e-commerce platform began to pursue profit from their own traffic, skipping the third party. JD.com launched a real-time bidding advertising platform to connect itself directly with advertisers. This brand-new ad placement mode became a precious opportunity for Tiffany.
In real-time bidding, advertising spaces were no longer sold by days but arranged by specific time slots. Since the bidding price is higher during prime time, advertisers need to make a detailed media buying plan by tracking the real-time changes rather than having third-party agents to make the decision like they used to. While many advertisers were still playing in the old way, Tiffany came well prepared for the new mode.
After consultation from experienced teammates and industry professionals, Tiffany drafted different marketing tactics for assorted products. For instance, home printers targeted at individual consumers who were best approached via mobile devices during their commuting time. On the opposite, business printers’ potential buyers would only research into their purchases during working hours via computers. Her team’s segmentation of marketing resulted in a considerable traffic conversion. They won the Best ROI Award of that 11.11 e-commerce campaign according to the internal assessment of Jingdong.com.
“Keep thinking and stay curious”
Tiffany is no longer an untrained marketing outsider. Looking back at her career path, she doesn’t recognize much importance in her professional background. To become a marketing expert, marketing sense matters a great deal. Every time when she encounters a new concept, she will consider applying it into her work. “Keep thinking and stay curious” is the motto Tiffany chooses for herself.
Name: Tiffany (Chinese Name: Liu Ruiyang)
Astrology Sign: Leo
Education: Bachelor in Measurement & Control Technology and Instruments, Beijing University of Chemical Technology
Position: E-commerce Marketing Manager, HP Printers & Supplies Marketing Department
C=CBN Weekly L=Liu Ruiyang
C: How does it feel to switch side from Supplier to Client?
L: There’s one thing very different. Supplier follows the Client, carrying out the actual work in hopes of delivering a satisfying result. After switching to Client, I need to know what I want and what my goal is. I must learn to think independently as no one will help me plan how to achieve the goal and achieve it better.
C: How will you learn about a new field quickly?
L: This is an era of advanced information technology. Resources can be accessed via different channels, such as free online courses, latest industry analysis reports, communication with friends and colleagues, as well as e-commerce platforms. We are business partners as well as industry peers.
C: What recreational activities are you interested in?
L: I’m very sporty, with an interest in yoga. I also like music, studying English, and watching American TV shows and comics.
Article translated from Chinese, first published by CBN Weekly, an influential weekly business magazine in China, covering topics from macro business trends to in-depth industry trends.