The Secret Marketer

Thanks to modern technology I’m able to get a little more work done at home these days. There’s no doubting that the avoidance of the M25 rush hour is a joy, though, to be honest, I’m finding the rest of the experience surprisingly stressful.

I bet I’m not the only marketer who is prone to a lack of focus and concentration. I suspect there is something genetic which encourages the marketing species to tackle too many things at once while being more interested by what is happening on everybody else’s brands rather than our own (just as well for our friends at Marketing Week).

It’s fair to say that a client-side marketing role does usually involve being rather busy and important, but upon greater inspection, we do very little real work. The more senior we become, the more we have colleagues and agencies who do all of this for us, and our role becomes one of mentoring, signing things off and generally drinking lots of coffee. While I am finding the hand-roasted espresso somewhat better, I am missing just about everything else to do with working in the office.

I decide that the key to my home working adventure is to a) ignore the underlying issue of loneliness and b) to buy some new stationery to help my spare bedroom look more like an office.

I haven’t bought stationery lately, in fact I think my last serious shopping expedition may have involved wallpaper, glue, smelly erasers and a protractor. Call me old-fashioned, but I decide that WH Smith is still the place to go to buy these things. I rather like the newer WHS stores at stations and airports. They are convenient, serve fast and offer a limited but appropriate assortment for my needs.

Regrettably, their bigger cousins on the high street appear to be increasingly unclear about their role in life. Upon entering my local WHS store, I am greeted by a lady from npower (well at least she had the T-shirt) who asks me whether I wish to switch my electricity supplier. I advise her that I am simply looking for a lever-arch file and run as fast as I can through the corridor of third-party hard selling that was formerly known as the foyer to the UK’s foremost stationery supplier.

I do eventually make a purchase, only to be challenged again about my monthly bills as I exit the store. The entire experience was unpleasant and disappointing. Take me home…to the office that is.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3711 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here