Mark Heuer, a most interesting fellow, is pulling all the stops to find a job. His Mark 4 Hire website is pretty creative in itself, but he didn’t stop there. Frustrated by the extremely difficult job market, he decided to put his face on a billboard on a heavily trafficked highway near Milwaukee, Wisconsin USA. What a great example of creativity and drive! But is the billboard working? I really wanted to find out, so I contacted Mark through a mutual business associate, and he was nice enough to answer a few questions. You can find more details in the links at the bottom of the interview.
1. Mark, can you tell us a little bit about your professional background?
I am a senior manger with over 15 years experience primarily running small to medium sized operations in the textile laundry industry, office coffee services, electrical contracting, consulting and I served as a contractor in procurement in Iraq. I traditionally took on under performing situations and financially uplifted profitability an average 22% in most operations served as well as orchestrated cultural change for sustainment and growth.
I found myself looking for work as a consultant and in a down economy with very little assignment and really desired to work in to a valued long-term commitment. I went to Iraq first and then came home to potential opportunity only to find the economy collapsed and indecision by the parties entertaining opportunity of me working for them directly. This is where sheer networking has come in to play.
2. What gave you the idea to try a billboard?
The billboard came from a thought with all the networking I do to how can I get in front of more people. Hwy 45 in Milwaukee captures 60,000 cars a day. The Mark4hire.com is a result of how do I get people back to me without a lot of effort and the concept of the website was born. I was able to do the site myself for $30.00 for three months through Yahoo and I am not traditionally a technical person. But user friendly templates just have you point, click and fill content.
3. How did people react when you told them you were planning to try a billboard?
Varied response but mostly Wow, go for it. Then it was just discussing what was reasonable to spend if by chance it fails vs. success.
4. What have the results been so far?
Overwhelming to say the least – although as I write this I have not accepted a position I am being called by many people with opportunity. Some very serious salaried positions as well as a lot of multi-level marketers. With the MLM I am not interested as this is not my personality and I just have to sort through he vast amount of email as well as many calls. I apologize to those that contact me and I can’t get back to all as it is seriously a lot to sort through. It is to early to discuss specifics but as I get into the accepting stage I would love to share more.
5. Your website is a great idea – where did it come from? How do you drive traffic to the site other than through the billboard?
The idea came from Maureen Swan of Clear Channel out of Waukesha, WI. As she was discussing pricing and options she was doing solution sales as well. We discussed how to get people back to me with snap shot advertising and suggested not only the web site name, Mark4hire.com but also doing a website which I had never done before. To say the least I learned quickly and did it myself due to my budget going to mostly the billboard itself.
The traffic drives itself beyond the highway. The local West Bend News picked it up in the paper and WTMJ Channel 4 out of Milwaukee picked it up on the 10:00 news: http://www.todaystmj4.com/news/local/41068947.html. Richard Moon, owner of Lunar Communications was then instrumental in getting a connection to put it in the Business section of the Milwaukee Sentinel last week: http://www.jsonline.com/business/41127687.html From the Sentinel FOX News picked up then ABC, from ABC it snow balled to CNN and across the country on affiliated stations, etc… I never expected the publicity it received but one must enjoy the journey when you hit a home run. I am doing an interview this afternoon for Inside Edition to be aired by Thursday and another Interview for CNN Australia Saturday.
6. What advice do you have for other job seekers with many years of experience?
Think outside the box. But most of all get away from your computer and get out in networking traffic face- to-face. Asking for help when you’re down is humbling, but if one can overcome humility you will find that people are inspired and genuinely want to help. Motto – “if you want to get hit by a car, you have to get out in traffic” Spoken to me by a close friend Jim Stapleton out of Atlanta.
Mark, Thank you for the interview and good luck! There are many great lessons here for job seekers and marketers. If any firms out there are looking for a creative, detail oriented, and fearless executive … I’m betting you’re going to find them.