The world is a very strange place. As we drift towards a post-pandemic normal, we are finding ways to grow from the lessons we learned during the last two and half years. Many of the adaptations we’ve had to make have been out of sheer necessity, for the survival of society and our economies, and many of those adaptations will have lasting considerations for the future.
One of the adaptations we’ve made is the increase in our use of digital tools for self-improvement and advancement – especially when it comes to job hunting. Leading the charge, platforms like JobStreet by SEEK ran special initiatives to bring people together and provide much-needed help when it was needed.
In this issue of the Marketing Expert Series Julie Wang, Head of Marketing Singapore for JobStreet by Seek, shares her insights and experiences in her role during the pandemic.
Hi, Julie, thank you for joining us in our Marketing Expert Series. Let’s begin with a little history: can you tell us a bit about yourself? How did you get to where you are now?
I’m currently the Head of Marketing at JobStreet by SEEK, Asia’s leading online job portal. I started my career in advertising sales and was at my peak when I decided to do a career switch after 5 years, to pursue my passion in marketing. It was a painful decision at that point in time, not only to have a 50% pay cut but to also start from the bottom of the ladder. I did feel that this risk paid off, being able to gain exposure at the giant FMCGs companies of the world like Nestle, Unilever and Danone for both local and regional markets. I even manage to put my classically trained FMCG marketing skills to good use by starting a tea training school.
In 2019, after 10 years in FMCG, I decide to take stab at the world of e-commerce/tech marketing and joined Lazada as I believe that this is the future. It was a very interesting period where e-commerce growth exploded due to Covid. I recalled having to deal with late-night crisis management of panic & bulk buying on our grocery channel, RedMart after the government raise its DORSCON level to Orange. It was also a period that saw an unprecedented adoption of e-commerce even among the most traditional brands. Consumer buying behaviour was also erratic and dynamic. That further built my agility to make the most out of the changes and capitalize on new opportunities.
Having made several career changes by then, I decided to take the offer at JobStreet by SEEK as a way to share my career experiences and help job seekers improve their lives through better careers, while at the same time, continue to hone my skills in tech marketing.
Tell us a little about the work that JobStreet does and the role you play there.
SEEK’s purpose is to help people live more fulfilling and productive working lives and help organizations succeed. We are committed to making a difference to our community as well as to our company. Our strategy is to match more candidates to opportunities than anyone else through using our marketplace scale to build a radically more efficient and effective employment marketplace.
As Head of Marketing for Singapore, I’m responsible for moving the company forward not only to be a more digital, data driven, and innovative organization but also to achieve in-market operational excellence for local activations through my team of 10 that cuts across brand building, performance marketing, content, PR, SEO & social.
In March 2022, we held Asia’s biggest virtual career fair that connected thousands of job seekers to tech and digital job opportunities across various career stages to fill employment gaps as the economy gradually recovers.
Is there a part about your role that you enjoy most?
I love how this role enables me to empower job seekers to find work that is rewarding, and they can be passionate about, and by finding companies motivated and able employees.
Late last year, we launched the #LetsGetToWork movement to encourage job seekers to stand up and stand out, to take that bold step and pursue the job that they love. In last month’s virtual career fair, we also launched the Women in Tech series to encourage gender diversity in the tech sector. I feel proud and fulfilled to lead such initiatives to contribute back to society,
How have the developments of the COVID-19 Pandemic affected your own strategies at JobStreet? What challenges and/or developments have you had to adapt to since the start of 2020? How did you overcome these challenges?
The COVID-19 crisis had deeply scored the world’s workforce, with entire industries forced to temporarily shut down, stalling or cutting off the jobs these industries supported. As the pandemic unfolded over the rest of 2020 and to mid-2021, total employment in Singapore continued to fall.
Two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, employees are also getting more frustrated at work, fuelling the Great Resignation wave and hence, giving raise to vacancies especially in growth sectors like tech and healthcare.
At JobStreet, we started the #LetsGetToWork movement and Asia’s Biggest Virtual Career Fair to empower job seekers to pursue the job that they want, to upskill and reskill in the face of rapid digitalization while helping hirers to better find qualified candidates through our hiring tools and career fairs. At the same time, continue to advocate to hirers for healthier work cultures, gender diversity and building a multi-generational workforce to better cope with the changing needs of employees.
Marketing, as we know, comes in many different shapes and sizes and can be rather demanding. How do you believe that marketing leaders can help their brands – and their teams – grow in today’s world?
- Know your consumer, audit and rewire your marketing programme when needed
It is critical to know what your consumers are thinking, how are they feeling and what are their beliefs. Be in tune with changing needs of consumers (we definitely see more of this with the pandemic) and even anticipate ahead with data analytics. Focus on what is working, fix what is broken, and cut what is not working anymore.
- Drive authentic engagement with a clear and meaningful brand purpose
Consumers today are being bombarded by too many messages every day. Hence, they are also getting savvier and choosing which brands to engage in. Therefore, a clear and meaningful brand purpose that resonates deeply with your target consumers can help to motivate and engage them authentically. Knowing this will allow brands raise from the clutter and stand out.
- Invest in Innovation
With digitalization, the marketing landscape is evolving more rapidly than ever. What is relevant today might be obsolete tomorrow. Hence, if you don’t try new things or invest in innovation, your brand’s ability to grow will be limited. Consider setting aside a part of your resources to experiment outside the box.
- Develop talent and capabilities for the future
A strong team can be the competitive advantage that takes the organization to new heights. Engage your people and address their concerns early. Be invested in their career development and build their skills for the future.
- Lead authentically with empathy and humility
The pandemic led to many employees changing priorities, with many shifting towards jobs that are more fulfilling and meaningful to them, as well as a positive work culture. It is therefore, more important than ever before to focus on building authentic connections and trust with your team. Make the extra effort to understand their situations and what they are going through, in order to offer support and help. Recognize their contributions and keep them motivated with positive reinforcements, so that they can remain dedicated and joyful about their work, their leader and the company they work for.
Any advice for aspiring, young marketers?
In today’s VUCA world, agility is key and change is the only constant. What seems like the right thing to do today, might become irrelevant tomorrow. So be prepared to constantly unlearn and relearn. The more you know, the more you don’t know. Never stop learning.
It’s been great to learn more about you and your work, Julie, thank you for sharing. How can people connect with you if they’d like to know more about you and the work you do at Jobstreet?
They can connect with me via LinkedIn.
The Marketing Expert Series features marketing and communications experts from across every industry. Every month, 2Stallions will showcase the stories and expertise of marketing experts from around the world, join us as we explore how marketers navigate the challenges of the regions and industries they work in. If you’d like to be featured in a next issue of the Marketing Expert Series. Please reach out to us via email.
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