INBOX INSIGHTS, August 16, 2023: Be Your Authentic Self, Marketing Jobs Recession (8/16)

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Be Your Authentic Self

I’m a jeans and T-shirt kind of girl. Technically, I’m more of a yoga pants and t-shirt kind of girl. And a hoodie. I’m making this admission because I have a few events over the next few months and I need to find clothing more appropriate than yoga pants.

I’m starting this week’s post with this because I got some really insightful styling advice from a surprising place – my husband. I’m not saying he doesn’t understand fashion but that it’s not high on his list of priorities. He does, however, know me well and cares greatly about how I feel about myself. He said, “Don’t force yourself to play a part that isn’t you. Be yourself and be comfortable.” We went on to talk about people whose style I would like to emulate, and none of them were what I “thought” I should look like. It was really eye-opening.

This brings me to the point of today’s post: comparisons. Last week, I talked about using the 5Ps to audit our competitive analysis report. This week I want to spend a little time on the findings of such a report.

When we aren’t sure what to do, when we feel lost or overwhelmed, we look and see what everyone else is doing. We tell ourselves, “I’ll just do this until I figure something else out”…but that day doesn’t come. We get stuck doing things that don’t really work for us but it’s better than doing nothing.

A competitive analysis tells you what’s working for other brands and how you stack up. The problem with this approach is that we look to our peers and think, “That’s what I need to do.” Looking at your competitors is a good starting place. It can help you understand what’s resonating with similar audiences. However, this is where you need to be your authentic self. What’s working for your competitor might not work for you. Why? Because they aren’t you.

Before you can do comparisons you need to clearly define what your company does and how you do it differently. You need to be able to tell your audience why your services and products are better than anyone else’s. This is the part that a lot of us struggle with. We know we’re different, better, more valuable. But we struggle to articulate it. We struggle to pinpoint exactly who we serve and what their pain points are.

This is where your competitive analysis actually starts. Tools like ChatGPT and Llama-2 can help. Give these tools your website copy, your blog posts, and your newsletters, and ask them to do an analysis. Here’s an example prompt:

“You are a business development expert. You understand customer pain points, value propositions, and competitive advantages. Your customer is a mid-level B2B marketer with moderate analytics skills. Examine the attached content from the services pages of this corporate site and provide your analysis of its clarity of services and value to the customers. Make recommendations to improve unique differentiators and how this company solves customer issues.”

Once you have a better sense of how well you communicate your business, you can move forward with analyzing your competitors. You can use the same prompt as above and then take it a step further with something like this:

“You are an expert web designer and UI/UX expert. You know user experience, user interface design, user-friendliness, web page design, and website design. Examine the attached screenshot of a corporate homepage and provide your analysis of its UI/UX experience, then make recommendations to increase both retention and conversion.”

As mentioned, we often think that modeling ourselves after our peers will make us successful. It’s good to get inspiration, but you need to dig deep into what’s working for them and where they have vulnerabilities. Before you start overhauling your services pages to look like your competitors, make sure it’s the right move for you.

At the end of the day, you need to be your authentic self. Talk about your company with your voice, not your competitors. Approach your customers in a way that makes sense for you, not your peers.

Are you using AI to understand your competition? Reply to this email to tell me about it, or come join the conversation in our Free Slack Group, Analytics for Marketers.

– Katie Robbert, CEO

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Binge Watch and Listen

In this episode of In-Ear Insights, the Trust Insights podcast, Katie and Chris discuss how large language models with perfect memory can assist with competitive analysis. They explain how these tools can quickly synthesize vast amounts of public data to provide insights into competitors’ offerings, differentiation, and performance. Katie and Chris note the importance of keeping your own data fresh so tools have current info. They give examples of how to leverage these models, from summarizing competitors’ businesses to analyzing website design and content. Katie and Chris emphasize combining machine learning with human expertise to ask the right questions. They advise using AI for competitive analysis as one more tool, along with classic techniques like regression analysis.

Watch/listen to this episode of In-Ear Insights here »

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Data Diaries: Interesting Data We Found

This week, let’s talk about a specific recession. There isn’t a broad recession, at least not one recognizable in normal economic data. Whether there is a recession or not is a topic for another time, but this week let’s look at a place where there IS confirmed economic contraction: marketing jobs.

You may remember this chart from a couple weeks ago when we talked about the impact of ChatGPT on jobs:

Jobs

What this chart displays is a relative index of the number of open marketing positions in the USA compared to February 2020, just before the pandemic. We see that in the spring and summer of that year, marketing lost more than 50% of its open positions, signifying the contraction. Then in 2021, marketing hiring rebounded, at one point in early 2022 with almost 75% more open positions than before the pandemic.

However, in the spring of 2023, the market fully came back down to pre-pandemic levels – and this summer, it has sunk below it. There are approximately 20% fewer marketing job openings right now than there were before the pandemic.

We are beginning to see signs of a bottom in terms of the deficit of marketing jobs; the trajectory is beginning to flatten, but absent a systemic change, it looks like the marketing jobs market will be depressed for the remainder of 2023.

So what? What does this mean for us? If you’re hiring for marketers, candidates may be more plentiful than they have been in previous years, so as long as you have budget to support headcount, you may be able to land better quality talent. An employer’s market also tends to favor retention, so it might be easier to keep existing employees compared to previously.

If you’re a job seeker, expect the market to be much more competitive than it was even 3 months ago. That means applying for many more jobs than you might have otherwise. The rule of thumb I learned when I was a recruiter was the rule of 10s. For every 1 job offer, you need 10 interviews. For every 10 interviews, you need 100 interested companies. For every 100 interested companies, you need to send 1,000 applications. So if you set your expectations that you will need to send out 1,000 applications to land 1 job, you have a sense of the task before you.

Trust Insights In Action

Job Openings

Here’s a roundup of who’s hiring, based on positions shared in the Analytics for Marketers Slack group and other communities.

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