Jean-Paul Diaz-Caneja graduated from Imperial College Business School in 2014 with a Masters in Strategic Marketing. He is now Marketing Manager at one of fastest growing UK hiring apps, JOB TODAY. Here Jean-Paul discusses the changing shape of marketing today and his advice to students on how to succeed in the industry.
Tell us about your current role
I’m a Marketing Manager at JOB TODAY – an app for both employers and job seekers that enables people to find a job quickly, often within 24 hours. It’s a role that continues to intrigue me for a multitude of reasons. We’re still a very young company, one that is steadily growing, which means that there’s a lot of scope for experimentation and discovery.
I’m lucky enough to be involved in the marketing activities of the company at all levels: from SEO project management to digital advertising, all the way to nationwide, out-of-home campaigns. Our team is currently managing the marketing of 3 different markets all at differing stages of maturity themselves, which makes day-to-day life very exciting. I am responsible for user acquisition and campaign management, as well as overseeing marketing analysis, strategy and execution.
What do you enjoy most about your job and what are the main challenges that you face?
It’s easy to enjoy my job when I’m surrounded by very skilled professionals, from all sorts of backgrounds that are driven by the same thing: success. Coming from Imperial, I feel able to thrive when immersed in this environment. It sees me constantly learning and developing alongside the people I spend most of my day with.
There are many skills that I think are paramount to becoming an effective marketer, one of which is being able to coordinate effort between a vast number of stakeholders. Be it engineers, product managers, designers or public relations – it’s essential that you correspond effectively between one another.
As for the main challenge, it’s one that every startup faces – prioritising. With a million things pressing your mind and a schedule that’s jam-packed with pending tasks, time management is of the utmost importance. My advice is be to ensure that you prioritise the highest impact projects and keep yourself in check at all times.
What are key skills needed to be an effective marketer?
There are many skills that I think are paramount to becoming an effective marketer, one of which is being able to coordinate effort between a vast number of stakeholders. Be it engineers, product managers, designers or public relations – it’s essential that you correspond effectively between one another. You also need to be at ease with data and spreadsheets and have the ability to review your own performance and understand how your actions influence numbers and progress.
Digital communications has changed how we communicate – how has this impacted on marketing?
I believe that people’s attention spans are far shorter than ever. The current climate has seen an increase in fast-digestible content on the likes of Instagram and Twitter – something that has proved to be a challenge. We now have less than five seconds to retain the attention of our target users. When I was at Imperial, five years ago, the state of the industry was wildly different and far less concerned with the digital side of marketing: today, we think online first, and then offline.
What advice do you have for current students on how to secure their dream job?
Though it may be the last thing you want to do when studying for finals, I would advise that you start looking for and thinking about jobs whilst you’re still studying. In my experience, it’s far better to take your time and really quantify what’s important to you and your career before jumping into a position. Really think about what your ‘dream job’ might be, before diving head first into the first opportunity that comes your way. Pressured decisions don’t often make good ones.
What appealed to you about your MSc programme and why did you choose Imperial College Business School?
Firstly, Imperial is an amazing, world-class institution, so when I was given the chance to study there I didn’t have to think twice. It was an opportunity I couldn’t let pass me by. Secondly, marketing and entrepreneurship were a strong interest of mine and they remain so to this day. An MSC in Strategic Marketing not only complemented my business degree by enhancing my existing skills, but it was essential to my development as a businessman. It was what I needed in order to learn how to think strategically about business problems.
How has your programme contributed to your career success?
Aside from the excellent quality of education, being at Imperial saw me spending a lot of valuable time with very driven and inspiring people – people who were set on achieving great things. It wasn’t long before I started to resonate with that sense of ambition: spending a year in that sort of environment set me up for aiming high. Without it, I may not be where I am today.
The degree had a very strong focus on digital technologies and entrepreneurship – which has proven very useful throughout my career. Working at an app startup, I draw upon the techniques I learnt at Imperial almost every day.
What advice would you give to a prospective student considering studying the same programme as you?
You can never be too clued up. Start getting comfortable with numbers today, not tomorrow. It may seem unnecessary during your degree, but you’ll be thankful for that extra bit of knowledge when starting a job. I also can’t stress enough the importance of making as many friends as possible during your time at Imperial. Being surrounded by so many interesting characters from a variety of origins and backgrounds is a pretty unique opportunity and has proven, to me at least, to be a great asset in all areas of life.