After presenting at a conference yesterday, I was approached by a college professor with an intriguing question. He wondered what I looked for in recent college graduates, what I expected them to know by the time they got to me. I hesitated. What skills they would need to succeed today and in the future in interactive marketing and e-commerce? Jeez, where to begin. Agency management? SEM? SEO? E-mail marketing? Copy-writing? Project management? Web analytics? HTML? All of the above?
Hell, all of these will change, some in subtle ways, some dramatic, in their first year on the job. What I really need is someone:
- Able to adapt to the significant changes we go through regularly; with
- A bit of background in the fundamentals, who is,
- Passionate about learning every day how to do this better
That’s it. The last is probably the most important. Give me someone who wants to get better and has the capacity to actually do so and I’ll show you the business and marketing leaders of the future.
It all changes too fast, too regularly. You can, and should, continually work to anticipate these changes. At the same time, you better prepare to react quickly when you guess wrong. Great companies not only plan for coming changes, they respond effectively when reality blows gaping holes into their planned-for scenarios. As Arie de Geus says in this book, “The ability to learn faster than your competition may be the only sustainable competitive advantage.”