Older and wiser?
I've recently been discovering the lengths that recent graduates are going to in terms of preparing for interview. Competitor analysis, in depth study of the company products/services/clients and USPs, knowledge of the website from back to front … and this is before we even get onto the presentation stage!
This coincides with a call from a lovely agency client of ours to talk about interview preparation. The interviewer was concerned that despite wanting to work on a particular, well known, client's business, fairly senior level candidates appeared to know next to nothing about what marketing activity they, or their competitors, were doing.
Now I do know that, by definition, graduates seeking their first job probably have time on their hands and also that this preparation is a means to demonstrate their skills. More experienced candidates have other things to offer and can talk extensively about what they've achieved elsewhere, and they're probably short of time too.
However, taking time to find out about the business that you think you may want to join makes a massive difference and can really pay off. Aside from demonstrating interest and commitment, it helps you understand whether the company and, if it's an agency, its clients are right for you. Are they interesting? What are the challenges? It also gives you the chance to demonstrate your skills; your view point on the business and where you could make a difference.
I can guarantee that your interviewer will not only be impressed but you and she will find it much more interesting to have an intelligent, relevant discussion about their/their client's business and marketing activity. And you'll have the chance to demonstrate your understanding of the issues and where you can add value, giving you a better chance of getting the job!