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Guest Column: A good marketing, advertising professional must understand the human mind: Dr JM Sampath, Arpitha

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Guest Column: A good marketing, advertising professional must understand the human mind: Dr JM Sampath, Arpitha

Passion, integrity, intuition, knowledge and insight are some other key aspects a candidate will be evaluated on in the marketing/advertising industry.

A good recruiter, while recruiting a professional for a marketing and advertising job, would look for several critical elements in different aspects of a candidate. The following are some of the important aspects one will look for:

  • A candidate should demonstrate great degree of passion and love for anything he or she is engaged in: In the absence of passion and engagement, it will be very difficult to create an excitement in someone for a product or service.
  • A person with high integrity who has the ability to tell the truth and at the same time, grab the attention of a potential customer. The Volvo story of emission data suppression is a good example of lack of integrity, and the price they ended up paying in the long run is a huge risk for such kind of marketing and advertising.
  • A great degree of confidence and personal belief. Without feeling confident, you cannot instill confidence in a product you are marketing.
  • A keen learner, who is willing to keep looking at the options till he or she finds the best for marketing the product. This skill could be tested by understanding the latest advertisements and what are the salient features, and what could have been done better and so on…
  • An open mind, which can, with ease, “connect” two pieces of information. For instance, success and fitness (boost); ability to correlate, establish relationship between them, and create a meaningful marketing strategy or a powerful advertisement.
  • A good balance between logic and intuitive sensing to get the ideal marketing strategy. While one should be good in market research, at the same time, the hunch and intuitive sensing should not be overlooked.
  • An in-depth understanding of the product, the potential customers, and all other related aspects so that whatever one comes up with addresses all the aspects. For instance, you may have a brilliant idea, but hardly any budget and so on. How to create an ad with the least cost is important.
  • An ability to stay in the present without getting driven by the past or the future. This will enable to look at anything afresh; failing to do this will result in a stale approach that can limit creativity. Every product is unique and needs a different approach.
  • An ability to see a few layers deeper in a situation. This will bring in the right approach and a better solution to what one is dealing with. For instance, the many layers of connection one can see between the product and the potential customer. This can enable the marketing person to choose the best connect.
  • An ability to look at something from multiple perspectives and multiple dimensions. Ability to move from the where you are seeing a product to another location so as to see a different perspective.
  • A flair for understanding human psychology with a clear focus on why people like or dislike something or what makes people value something. For instance, mothers love their children and anything that will benefit them will be of value to them.
  • A deeper understanding of communication: the way it happens and understanding the approach that will suit whom is important. There was a multinational company that was selling products to farmers in India who own cattle. The company had a very good research orientation, and their product brochure had graphs and other data to prove the value of the product. The farmers hardly understood the same. While a marketing manager who was looking at the product brochure decided to present the same data through a story using the typical village characters. Suddenly, the sale of the product shot up.
  • A good understanding of the Gen Y and Z, and their approach to life. A product designed particularly for them cannot be marketed in the traditional way.
  • A good understanding of how the social media works and where to use which method of marketing will be a crucial call to take. A marketing person should be have an understanding of this.

To conclude, let me share a story that finally summarises the challenges of marketing and advertising professionals:

A man began to give large doses of cod-liver oil to his Doberman because he had been told that the stuff was good for dogs. Each day, he would hold the head of the protesting dog between his knees, force its jaws open, and pour the oil down its throat.

One day the dog broke loose and spilt the oil on the floor. Then, to the man’s great surprise, the dog not only lapped up the oil that spill on the floor, but came back to lick the spoon.

That is when he discovered that what the dog had been fighting was not the oil, but the way it was being given.

Many a times, no product is good or bad. It’s the way it is presented that makes it good or bad. If people can present sugar and water together and make billions, all of it goes to show that “how you present something makes a huge difference”. The oil could have been given in many different ways, it is the job of the marketing and adverting professionals to see how best to present it…

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not in any way represent the views of

(The author is Managing Director, Arpitha – a management consulting and leadership coaching consultancy)


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