College graduates prefer to work for companies that value their desire to bring innovation and passion into the workplace. The Association of National Advertisers' (ANA) execution of its Best Jobs You've Never Heard Of video captures that perfectly. The purpose of the campaign is to express that marketing has all of the best jobs you've never heard of — whether that's making plastic a thing of the past, designing an app that improves society, or writing tweets in the voice of a cartoon cat.
I sat down with Elliot Lum, senior vice president of talent strategy and program development at ANA's Advertising Education Foundation, to discuss the research, innovation, and insights that drove this campaign towards success. Lum is responsible for leading the AEF's efforts towards shaping the future of marketing talent.
The majority of the jobs included in the video were categorized by interests, passions, and values common among today's 18- to 24-year-olds. ANA's goal was to focus the campaign around those interests and passions while educating them on data-driven marketing jobs they might be unaware of.
When asked about the research behind the campaign, Lum explained that global advertising agency McCann conducted research with ANA to understand the gen Z mindset, noting that McCann CEO Chris McDonald is on the board of AEF. One goal of the research was to answer the question, "How do we market marketing to gen Z?" The core insight from the research is that gen Z perceives marketing as ads and selling.
Lum pushed back on this stigma: "We tried our best to communicate that marketing is so much more than that. Marketing encompasses the creative, the analytical, the purposeful, the innovative — all things students actually want to pursue in the field."
Gen Z consumers grew up in an era of brands' oversaturated digital marketing efforts, so we have a heightened sense of awareness for when we're being sold versus when we're being empowered. But the campaign is meant to go beyond that to show the potential career opportunities.
Although the Best Jobs You've Never Heard Of video may be most relevant to prospective, digitally native gen Z employees, it's also relevant to gen X and millennial employees, who may be interested in shifting in their careers by reskilling and upskilling. ANA offers certifications for those workers through a program called Certified ANA Marketing Professional Program (CAMP), where interested candidates attend 40 hours of training on a suite of marketing tools, from data analytics to creative brief writing. Lum noted how attracting and retaining talent through this type of training is essential to ensuring that companies thrive during this digital transformation era.
Still, reaching gen Z can be a challenge for executives in advertising, marketing, and media. "The stores, trade associations, and even us as a foundation, are very B2B…, and our business models are all industry-facing," Lum said. "Therefore, our mechanism to talk with students is typically through professors, which causes a gap. That's why partnering [for the campaign] with a platform like WayUp, with 5.5 million students, was so great because it enabled us to market towards students directly."
ANA's Best Jobs You've Never Heard Of campaign recognizes the talent needs of the marketing industry and brilliantly synergized them with the interests and passions of gen Z college students looking to kickstart their career. "I want the audience to be motivated to learn more," Lum said. "I want them to go to the job board [at WayUp], look for a role, and hopefully be inspired to break their perception of marketing as not just advertising and creative, but also as analytical, quantitative, and strategic — the right brain and left brain merged together."
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