Career Advice Job Market Report

Career Forum Oct 2017: The Young Marketer of Tomorrow contest will see aspiring professionals put their creativity to the test

In today’s competitive and fast-moving business world, organisations must consistently evolve in order to remain successful. This is particularly true in marketing, where change is the name of the game.

At today’s Career Forum, finalists in the Classified Post’s Young Marketer of Tomorrow competition will have the opportunity to present their ideas and showcase their marketing skills to a judging panel made up of representatives from Sun Life Financial and Classified Post.

As part of Classified Post’s continuous commitment to helping university students and young Hong Kong jobseekers build a brighter career future, Alex Ho, SCMP general manager, recruitment, circulation and syndication business, says the Young Marketer of Tomorrow programme aims to nurture young marketers and unleash their marketing power to connect with potential employers. “Our Young Marketer of Tomorrow programme is a real business case for each team to apply what they have learned in strategy and management classes,” explains Ho. “We hope participants can provide innovative yet practical ideas that help fulfil the assigned business objectives.”

The contest offers the perfect platform for students to demonstrate their critical thinking, analytical and problem-solving skills in front of sponsors and other potential employers. For instance, the five-minute first round pitching and 15-minute final presentation in the public forum offers an opportunity to demonstrate proficiency, presentation skills and experience pitching business ideas in a real-life situation, notes Ho, who believes good marketing professionals and teams need to understand their audience. At a time when technology is disrupting and transforming all aspects of business activities, Ho says strong analytical skills – a core competency every marketer needs – is often the key for effectively achieving business objectives. “Every day is a new day for marketers,” Ho says. “We hope our young marketers will embrace this philosophy, which can help set them on the right track for their future careers.”

It is for this reason that an aptitude for fresh ideas is demanded by the competition’s judges, including a willingness to occasionally go off the beaten path in the quest for a winning marketing campaign. “Young Marketers should have a tendency to experiment and have an ideas mindset,” says Ho. “They should understand there is no such thing as a silly idea. We never know which idea will finally work until we experiment. Moreover, they should closely follow market trends. In this new era, information is everywhere, and they can learn the market trend faster and more easily than before.”

Belinda Au, general manager, distribution and marketing at Sun Life Hong Kong, says the judges will be looking for innovative ideas, especially from a young person’s perspective. “Sun Life believes the younger generation can provide fresh ideas, which can help our company to learn more about what young people like and want,” says Au.

The finalists, teams of two to four university students, have been set a marketing challenge by Sun Life to come up with a comprehensive promotion plan incorporating a wide range of resources. The winning teams will receive cash prizes, internships, trophies and certificates. Au says that, based on the marketing strategies and insights the winning teams present, Sun Life will consider developing the products and solutions, which can be tailored to client needs. She adds that, having had a presence in Hong Kong for more than 125 years, Sun Life welcomes fresh ideas from the younger generation, which can help the company to continue to expand.

Au believes that, by participating in the Young Marketer of Tomorrow competition, students will gain real-life experience of how the financial planning industry operates and the way a marketing project is brought to life. She says finalists have the opportunity to be inspired by Sun Life mentors and benefit from experience- sharing and coaching. Participants can also expand their network and include the experience on their CVs.

With marketing a cornerstone of any successful business, Au believes the core competencies of a good marketing team are a commitment to continuous improvement, which should also incorporate an open-minded learning attitude. A strong team spirit, caring and supportive team members and the ability to be sensitive and respond quickly to market trends is also imperative. Individuals considering a career in marketing must be equipped with well-rounded skills.

Au says social media and digital technology have widened the scope for concept visualisation and provided marketers with more options to connect with clients and make presentations. However, she adds that to become a successful marketing professional requires commitment, dedication and a realisation that success doesn’t happen overnight. “It is very much a case of ‘no pain, no gain’,” Au says. A marketer’s remuneration package will depend on how much work they put into their career. But, Au says, marketers have the opportunity to work like an entrepreneur by exploring their creative skills.