Monday, March 31, 2008

Work for, well, me

We're looking for a strategist to work in beautiful and historic, Newburyport, MA at MECHANICA. Interested? Or know someone who is: drop me a line at

What is MECHANICA? Funny you should ask. The website is in transition so you won't get much there. Here is a quick take:

MECHANICA is a 4yr old brand strategy co. that structured the place and the approach to address the new challenges posed by the increasingly messy and complicated world of marketing. Central to this new structure were 1) a core team of senior strategists from a diverse array of approaches including consumer insight, user experience and business analytics and 2) a network model which allows us to objectively asses the client’s marketing needs without any predetermined solution, and then deliver best-in-class solutions by tapping into a national network of partners whether that involves art directors, web designers, event planners or search-engine marketers and DM specialists.

There are other important bits, but in general, we lead with some strategic engagement and then figure out what to do next.

Our current needs match the jr-ish mid-level (a few years of experience) person, but people who have worked for me in the past know that I'm less interested in a particular number of years or category experiences than a set of skills and qualities.

In other words, you need to have some experience with the basic planning bag of tricks (research, analysis, working with creative types, convincing clients you're right). But while the traditional planning skill set is important, we might be willing to sacrifice some planning experience if it meant stronger experience in quantitative analysis or work with digital products and brands:

1) Quantitative skills: Deeper experience with quantitative analysis. Interest in and proficiency at running and analyzing robust quant research: concept tests, tracking studies, etc. Proficiency with Excel and SPSS. Basic statistical knowledge would great--in terms of knowing sampling requirements and limitations, hypothesis testing, and classification techniques like cluster analysis.

2) User experience: Experience researching, analyzing and helping shape the development of digital products, brands and user experiences. This might include things like experience with observing or executing usability tests and being able to read an Information Architecture documentation. But could simply be an orientation to the digital landscape and an understanding of the distinct brand experiences in the online environment from the important role of search, widgets and social media.

Other desirable qualities include:

• Someone who can think conceptually, analytically, and creatively; in other words, you can reframe problems with new perspectives, design innovative research, synthesize data and information from a variety of sources all the while remaining sensitive to anything that might provide a source of a great idea for operations, product or creative developlment.

• MECHANICA has some classic start-up dynamics (read: energetic, fast-moving, a bit chaotic) so the person has to be comfortable with and, to some degree, enjoy a less structured environment. This is generally called an “entrepreneurial” spirit: someone who likes variety, filling a bunch of different roles, looking for opportunity and acting on it; someone who wants to have an impact on a growing, innovative company.

• Interest in branding beyond advertising is pretty important. Our work extends beyond impact on traditional or even non-traditional communications to user experience, product development and organizational alignment. You don’t have to know much about all these things but you do have to have an interest in thinking about the strategic impact beyond communications.


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