American Marketer


Why you need to buy or sell mobile advertising to get your next job

May 4, 2012

Parag Vaish is director of product management and marketing at NBC News Digital


By Parag Vaish

If you are comfortable at your current job, you probably are not thinking about how to get your next job. But maybe you should be, and being fluent in buying and selling mobile advertising is likely to be your ticket upward.

The economy is still volatile and most people do not just keep the same job for decades like they used to. Sometimes, moving to a new company is the only way to advance in your field and not knowing even the basics of mobile advertising will certainly prevent you from getting that job.

Skill set

If you work as an ad sales executive or an ad-buying client, you know how important it is to stay current in your field. Right now, you are probably thinking, "I know that. My skills are up to date."

But ask yourself one question: Are you skilled in mobile advertising? I am betting the answer is no.

I often hear people talking all the time about what a pain mobile advertising is. It is too complicated, it is too much work, and it is too hard to understand. Ultimately, many folks are simply intimidated by buying or selling mobile because of their understanding of the format.

However, some superficial digging beneath the surface easily creates opportunity out of these issues in mobile advertising.

The landscape and platforms may be fragmented, but in a lot of ways, mobile is very similar to desktop, and allows you more flexibility in marketing tactics.

It is important for you to get the hang of buying and selling mobile advertising because, let us face it: mobile media is not going away and neither is mobile advertising.

In fact, mobile advertising is only going to get bigger with mobile media growth already surpassing all other forms of media growth.

Questioning tone

Ad executives, I guarantee that when you are being interviewed for your next job, your interviewer is going to ask if you have experience selling mobile advertising.

You want to be able to answer this question with something other than, "Um … I kind of …"

So learn now, while you are working at a big company where there is more room for errors. Then you will be able to answer that question by telling them about all the mobile advertising sales you made, and how successful the campaigns were for your clients.

Ad-buying clients, the same thing goes for you.

When you go to your next interview, they will probably ask you, "What's the most exciting thing you did in mobile?" If you want to get that job, you had better have an answer.

Also, mobile advertising is inexpensive now. Remember how inexpensive search advertising was in 2000? In 2000, the cost per click rate for "Lake Tahoe Vacations" was probably 30 cents. Now it is well over $3 per click.

We should all expect mobile advertising to explode in the same way.

Really, you have nothing to lose by learning mobile advertising, as most big companies will help you make sure your campaign goes smoothly.

MOST EMPLOYERS require at least some knowledge of mobile advertising before they hire you these days.

However, if you learn the ins and outs of mobile advertising well, you could position yourself as an expert.

In fact, mobile is changing so quickly, it is much easier to become an “expert” in mobile than it is in more mature media formats.

Imagine how much you would stand out to interviewers if you have extensive knowledge of mobile advertising, and everyone else they interview only has minimal experience.

Case in point: four of my colleagues were recently been hired by external companies, leapfrogging several career levels due to their track record of excellence with mobile.

Although mobile advertising may be challenging, the rewards are well worth it. In addition to giving yourself the satisfaction of learning a new skill, you will increase your chances of being hired quickly next time you are looking for a job.

Parag Vaish is director of product management and marketing at NBC News Digital, Redmond, WA. Reach him at