There is a dearth of qualified professionals available to fill increasing numbers of demand generation openings in all types of businesses. Not everyone is suited to the rigors of the profession – it takes a personality with specific traits and a skill set that isn’t necessarily like that of a garden-variety marketer. The shortage of capable individuals will continue to grow unless our industry takes serious steps to stem the problem.
To address the shortfall, we think it’s important to start early in life and “get ’em while they’re young”. We need to identify and nurture children who show a proclivity for demand generation. In the table below we identify important traits, list indicators of early aptitude and make suggestions for developing those traits.
Early Aptitude Indicators
Uses unusual logic to win arguments. (“No point in driving me to school today. Think of the wasted gasoline, extra pollution and possible exposure to flu viruses.“)
Frequently screams “show me the data” when angry, hungry or a diaper needs changing.
Always sorts relatives and friends into two or more categories to better understand their needs and manipulate them skillfully.
Enroll child in this class: Boolean Algebra for Babies.
Encourage child to set up a lemonade stand and use accrual-based accounting methods to manage the business.
Bedtime reading: Three Little Pigs Explore Three Little Market Segments.
Wants the most expensive iPad model and is willing to negotiate terms to get it. (“How many times will I need to mow the lawn and clean my room before you buy it?“)
Makes a career choice at age 5, and sticks to it.
Won’t take “no” for an answer when requesting a chocolate bar.
Enroll child in this class: My Infantile Obsession is a Virtue.
Keep cookie jar visible in the kitchen, just out of reach.
Bedtime reading: Thomas the Train Hauls a Big Enterprise Goal Up a Steep Mountain.
Experiment & Optimize
Loves shopping at Toys R Us, but wants to evaluate alternatives at home before an unconditional commitment. (“If I don’t like it, can I bring it back for a full refund?”)
Enjoys mixing random household chemicals together to see the result.
Takes apart mechanical and electronic devices to “improve” them.
Enroll child in this class: Use a Hacksaw and Drill to Make Things Better.
Encourage child to learn statistical quality improvement by channeling W. Edwards Deming for an hour a day.
Bedtime reading: Daddy Loves Billy Except When Billy Takes Apart Daddy’s New Flat-Screen TV.
Attentive to Details
Counts corn kernels, peas, etc. on the dinner plate; then arranges them in repeating patterns on a layer of mashed potatoes.
Refuses to eat broken cookies due to aesthetic considerations.
Berates the manager at McDonald’s when french fries aren’t served at precisely the right temperature.
Enroll child in this class: Super Fun in the Supermarket: Reading Nutrition Labels.
Encourage child to recognize signs of cosmetic surgery when meeting new people.
Bedtime reading: What Details Did Little Red Riding Hood Miss about the Big Bad Wolf?
Draws a flowchart of the plot line after reading Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas. (“Why didn’t he address the root cause of his problems?”)
Asks too many questions about how babies are made. (“But what happens BEFORE that step?”)
Can’t fall asleep at night because he/she needs to know where water goes after it disappears down the drain.
Enroll child in this class: Fabulous Fun with Fantastic Flowcharts.
Encourage child to use a decision tree when choosing an ice cream flavor at Baskin Robbins 31 Flavors.
Bedtime reading: Wile E. Coyote’s Process to Catch the Road Runner Sucks Big Time.
Recreates Formula One racing in the garden with dueling snails on a dirt track.
Takes up bird watching at an early age.
Eats desserts very slowly to prolong the experience.
Willing to wait for serious answers to profound questions until he/she is older.
Enroll child in this class: Use Meditation to Get in Touch with Your Inner Demand Generation Professional.
Encourage frank and explicit conversations about hidden meanings in marketing-qualified leads.
Bedtime reading: A Spiritual Journey through a Sales Funnel. Include the Coping with the Trauma of Funnel Leakage appendix if older than 8 years.
Creates artwork spontaneously on clean walls at home.
Bedroom looks as if it belongs in House Beautiful magazine.
Invents new and bizarre games to play with other children, but manipulates every contest to win.
Enroll child in this class: Marketing Campaigns for Minors.
Encourage acting and role-playing, especially if being cute and precocious leads to a new revenue stream.
Bedtime reading: How to Express Yourself like Vincent Van Gogh While Keeping Your Ear.
Never leaves home without a tape measure, stopwatch and thermometer.
Always asks strangers about their height and weight.
Wants to collect ultra-precise data to calculate your car’s gasoline mileage to five decimal places.
Enroll child in this class: The Metric System Rocks My World.
Theater outing: Measure for Measure (William Shakespeare).
Bedtime reading: Jack and Jill’s Play Date: Measuring Subatomic Particles at the Large Hadron Collider.
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