My mum & dad obviously did a good job in dragging me up as (for an only child) I’m a great believer in sharing. I’ve often thought that if hard cash were not the currency of choice in our modern world then I’d happily do what I do for free – *Pauses* – Let’s be absolutely clear here, I don’t do what I do for free but neither am I so miserly that I’d refuse even to talk to someone unless I thought there was ‘something in it for me’.
The best thing about working in ‘marketing services’ is getting to meet people who are really enthused about their business / product / service and experiencing the glow from their halo of expectancy. I love those meetings, so charged with adrenalin and ideas and beliefs and it’s ok to get carried away in the moment and share their passion, injecting some of your own on the way. I remember years ago pitching to Inca Digital, a Cambridge-based company who make fabulous large-format, flat-bed printers. Not everyone’s cup of tea I grant you but when they showed me the images of their new machine, my gut instinct (and the first thing to fall out of my mouth) was “That’s gorgeous!” – it was a really beautifully engineered piece of kit. We won the contract and I’m not saying that me complementing them on their machine was what swung it, but faced with two equally good agencies, if one shows a genuine passion for your product and the other is ambivalent then I know which I’d choose.
Of course there’s a balance to be found – I couldn’t spend every day chatting to people without trying to at least earn enough for a couple of stocking fillers for the kidlings, but to be able to spare the time to share the knowledge I’ve gained with people who are also happy to talk openly about their ideas and experiences gains me far more than you’d imagine. Traditional marketing & PR is changing, there’s a definite shift in power occurring and those who previously wielded huge budgets and expected specific outcomes are running scared – social media is an unstoppable force, incredibly powerful in its immediacy and potency. It’s the ‘water cooler moment’ multiplied exponentially and (it would seem) the meek really are inheriting the earth through the levelling platform of twitter, blogging, online reviews and forums and so on. Positive marketing is now multi-dimensional, requiring a transparent proposition to succeed and those who are engaged with their customer base on a personal level, prepared to share information and listen aggressively to the good and the bad feedback will relish it, whilst the others will gnash teeth and hold another board meeting announcing that “the markets are stagnant and unresponsive”.
Thanks to Thomas Baekdal whose article ‘How the Social Web Destroys Traditional Marketing’ was the inspiration for this post…