Last week, Dan explored some of the challenges in moving from a specialist role to a multi-discipline one and introduced the idea of balance and compromise. This week we’re going to look at some practical steps you can take to make the move.
So how do you turn one discipline into many?
Listed dispassionately in literally no order at all:
1. Take a smaller sidestep
We think this is probably the easiest way to do it. If you’re currently a PPC specialist, there’s a very good chance your next role will need a significant PPC component for you to be considered qualified for the role. If the role is much broader than PPC and the demand for the job is high, you’re probably going to go hungry.
Taking on one extra discipline is more realistic – if you’re in PPC, look for a role which sits across PPC and paid social. Gain the exposure, learn the channel and look to broaden out further still with the next move.
At interview it’s worth asking about the neighbouring disciplines (in the case of PPC: remarketing, social media advertising and RTB display perhaps) and who’s responsible/earmarked to look after them. If the appetite is there but no-one is there to cover the channels, it could be your golden ticket to gain the exposure you’re after.
2. Move in-house, learn the product, move across
When you move in-house as a specialist, you bring them your knowledge of your discipline and they give you an opportunity to learn about their product, their company and their customers and how they behave. Once you have an intuitive grasp of this, it’s easier for you to exploit this across other platforms.
How feasible this is will come down to the way the teams are structured – make sure you’ve got a good idea of the hierarchy in the business in terms of who looks after what. Companies should be able to give you examples of cross-channel moves if it’s the sort of thing that’s happened before.
3. Move away from the detail
This is the jack-of-all approach and this is often best done agency-side rather than in-house. Some agencies have an agnostic client servicing divisions (examples would be 360i or iCrossing) which sits across multiple channels. Moving into this sort of role takes you away from the granular detail and helps you to broaden out.
Moving to an international media agency like Resolution Media International or Mindshare Worldwide and managing local market deployment is another way to gain broader exposure. You’ll get the channel mix by managing one (or few) client(s) in multiple markets and sometimes this involves cross-discipline activity. Again, the nature of the role is less operational and more about project managing delivery.
In-house, the equivalent would potentially be to move into an agency-managing role. There aren’t as many of these for obvious reasons, so competition tends to be fierce.
4. Reduce the competition
One solution is to reduce the competition*. Dan talked a little bit about this last week – compromising a little on the sector that you’re moving into or on the location of the role will mean that you have less in the way of competition. The client may have to look at compromising on the experience required for the brief and that could be good news for you.
5. Make a complete switch
This method’s a bit of a wildcard and not always easy to do. We’ve seen this happen mainly where candidates have very strong vertical experience (eg. have focussed purely on retail clients in PPC and move into a partnerships role at an online retailer).
Whichever path you choose, our biggest recommendation is to make sure you’ve done your research. If you’re interviewing for roles which are beyond your current experience in terms of channel mix, the interviewer will expect you to have shown willingness and know your omni-channel onions.
Stay tuned to our blog next week when Matt will be talking to someone who’s moved from search to a multi-discipline role.
* This doesn’t involve hacking anyone up with an axe