When I talk to veteran marketers, some of them are concerned about the changes they must make to adapt to the Internet. I think it is entirely natural that we have some fear in the face of such big changes. Each of us finds ourselves somewhat nervous under some circumstances—it stands to reason that some of us get concerned when we face such massive change affecting our livelihoods. I spoke to someone yesterday who seems emblematic of the changes that so many of us our seeing in the marketing profession.
When Imran Khan started his business career, he didn’t fit anyone’s idea of a marketer—he had a background in public accounting and no marketing degree. “When I came to America, I sent out 500 resumes and didn’t get a single internship offer,” he recalled. “People told me that I had no idea about American culture and what makes Americans tick.” But Imran is not the kind of person who is easily dissuaded.
Imran decided to pursue Internet marketing because it was an “unexplored territory where there were no experts.” Imran worked in Internet marketing for several companies before joining E-LOAN, the Internet lender, in 2003 as Director of Search Marketing.
He brought a keen insight in Web metrics to his new position, building an $18 million search marketing program. In 2004, E-LOAN expanded his position to oversee their affiliate program and their banner advertising spending. 2005 saw Imran, now Director of Marketing, take over all media spending, both online and offline, including a large TV and radio budget. In 2006, he was named Chief Marketing Officer of E-LOAN , which has written $27 billion worth of loans in its history.
To what does he attribute this rapid success? “Every day I come to work to see if yesterday’s test improved the numbers,” he enthused. “If I unearth one more nugget, it makes my week!”
Imran no longer worries about getting a marketing job. Now he’s the one hiring. And what kind of people is he looking for? “I want analyst marketers—they use Excel and do their own number crunching.” He once hired a PhD. in Statistics and readily admits that not everyone on his team has marketing degrees. Imran ticked off the qualities he is looking for: “how intelligent and hard working they are, and how analytical—some have degrees in Investment Banking or Computer Science.”
If you’re fearful of what will happen if you change the way you’ve always worked, maybe you should balance that against the fear of not changing. Ask yourself: If you sent Imran Khan your resume, could you get hired?