Can You Sell This Pen?

“If you’re so good at marketing, sell me this pen.”

In the bible of tough interview questions, this one stands at the top. Interviewees across the world plan endlessly to sell a mere pen that most people lose in about 48 hours after the purchase. Then there are unsuspecting candidates who, in the pressure to impress, try to concoct a very complicated and groundbreaking plan on the spot to build a campaign that sells this pen.

But marketing doesn’t always have to be that complicated. And whether you’re interviewing for your first job or not, you need to know what smart marketing is to answer this question.

As a marketer, know that selling a mere pen – or a chair, water bottle, or even a desk – doesn’t require intricate plans. Sometimes, all you have to do is take a smart decision of placing the product at the right place, where the right customer can purchase it at the right time.

That’s because marketing doesn’t always mean advertising or promotion. It also has three other Ps, namely product, price, and placement. And if you combine the three strategically, the promotional aspect will work itself out automatically.

That’s called SMART marketing – the ability to think specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound strategies to bring positive results for your brand. And these goals don’t always require out of the box thinking. Just analyze the need to demand ratio at your placement of choice, and your pen will sell itself.

sell me this pen

How to develop SMART marketing skills?

It’s easy.

To build smart skills, you need to keep an inventory of the resources you have, the effort your campaign needs, the results you want to achieve, and the supply-demand status of the market. Because no matter what campaign you’re running, you need to have a bird’s-eye view of the overall scenario so you can make the best decision for your brand, and that whether your product – be it a pen or a pencil – needs a big campaign, or a mere change of placement to sell.

So when the next interviewer asks you to sell that pen they’re holding, don’t fret. Know that the answer doesn’t lie in being too complicated or too specific; it lies in taking the simple yet smart route. Do that.

And what if they’re not impressed? Well, you don’t want a job at a place that cannot sell a tiny pen, now do you?

Mainstream Contributor

A content driven blog by marketers, for marketers.

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