What are some factors that impact your decision to choose marketing as a career?
I founded my copywriting business firstly as a sole proprietorship in 2003 and incorporated it in 2005. At this stage I just wanted to be able to work from home and look after my two toddlers, and a home computer and access to the Internet allowed me to do that. I didn’t really envision running a business at this point.
I recognised a need for copywriters in Singapore, which were lacking at the time and knew this was the ideal niche for me with my strength in English as a former English teacher and my love for writing.
I realised that a lot of design agencies in Singapore did not employ in-house copywriters so I phoned around and offered my services as an outsourced copywriter. Before long I had too many projects and ended up setting up a commercial office and hiring staff and things grew organically from there.
What are some characteristics that you believe every marketing professional should possess?
The ability to organise work and time is crucial. We are up against tight deadlines and the ability to meet deadlines and work with looming deadlines ahead of you is critical.
I find with a lot of the copywriters I have trained, the main weakness is in planning of the work. Not enough time is spent on research and organising information to really understand the subject matter and the target audience before they sit down to write. The result then is a weak confused piece that misses the key USPs. I’m a huge fan of mind maps, and like to get everything out on one page before I start. I tell my writers that they should give 70% of the allotted time to the preparation and 30% to the writing.
When you are clear about what needs to be communicated, for any skilled copywriter, the writing can be done fairly quickly at this point.
Curiosity would be another quality to possess. A marketer needs to be constantly asking questions and digging deeper into the subject matter to get to the real motivations to buy. You should become an advocate for the product or service and really get in there.
And love what you do.
What is the biggest challenge faced by marketing professionals today?
Competition is always a challenge and there are more marketers out there now than there used to be. Being able to stand out and be different is important. Having a strong brand and sense of identity, and knowing and communicating your worth is important so you compete on value rather than price. Then over time, having a strong track record helps to set you apart.