The Easiest Marketing Job in the World … and the Hardest

August 8th, 2007 by Bob Bly

After nearly 3 decades in marketing, I’ve come to the conclusion that the easiest job in marketing is market research. Here’s why:

1. You don’t have to sell anything.

2. You don’t have to come up with new ideas; you merely have to ask questions and report the results.

3. Anything you create, no matter what the findings, adds to your client’s knowledge. Therefore, you are seen as a provider of wisdom on the leading edge of the market.

4. If the market research yields great insights, you are a hero.

5. If the market research yields nothing, it’s not your fault; you can’t help what people think.

The toughest job in marketing?

Direct response copywriter.

No matter how well you write, you are subject to the judgment of a client committee — which is of course subjective.

Even if you have been writing DR for years and have a great track record, MBAs fresh out of college who know nothing about direct marketing will try to tell you how to do your job.

If the promotion you write doesn’t work, you’re in the doghouse.

If your promotion is a winner, the client will immediately start hiring other writers to beat your control, and of course, one of them will, sooner or later.

Why would anyone want to be a direct response copywriter when you can get paid to write lengthy market research reports that clients pay fortunes for and never ask you to rewrite?


This entry was posted on Wednesday, August 8th, 2007 at 9:58 pm and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

28 responses about “The Easiest Marketing Job in the World … and the Hardest”

  1. Robert Rosenthal said:

    The most likely team to beat a control approach is often the team that originally came up with it. Too bad more clients don’t understand that.

  2. Dianna Huff said:

    I don’t know, Bob. My friend does market research. It sounds deadly. When I get her talking about it, she starts bringing in things that hurt my brain, like math and statistics and curves and things. My eyes glaze over.

  3. Eileen said:

    Hiya Bob.

    What advice would you give fledgling market research enquiring minds? I do a lot of research as I write copy for the internet (web sites and newletters) but have wondered about market research, as a business.

    I would dearly love to be taken out of the lime-light and dive back into the background. lol.

    Thank for the list – it says some things that might draw the ire of the market researchers out there but, geeze a loo, Batman – it certainly rings true for me.


  4. John Kelly said:

    Absolutely right about writing copy being the toughest job. You’re only as successful as your last successful promotion. Market research is easier but you have to be a special breed to overcome it’s innate boring character.

  5. Tom Messner said:

    Easier job still is CMO. There you direct the market research people and hire the copywriters.
    Of course, it only easy for a short time as the job-life expectancy these days of a CMO is, as reliably reported by
    AD AGE, is 23 months. Longer than a butterfly but shorter than Maxwell Sackheim.

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