Marketers can sharpen their skills with extra-curricular challenges

Quite an eventful week with three tough meetings – none to do with my day job.

The Secret Marketer

I’ve had quite an eventful week with three tough meetings – none to do with my day job. The first was a ‘vote of no confidence’ in a committee I am involved with outside of work. While most of the members of a committee are retired, it was interesting to watch their attack strategy. First a strong pre-meeting communication to get lazier members to attend the AGM and play on their need to get involved. Second was a very strong showing on the day extolling the virtues of the incumbents versus the unknown challengers. Many a politician – and brand manager – would have been impressed… and the existing committee won the vote 3 to 1.

Then I was embroiled in another group meeting – this time at work – with a number of employees raising a dispute about the company’s approach to a number of matters. Here, ‘the management’ embarked on a communications programme that sought to get straight to the matter, using the employees’ terminology to describe things, putting ourselves in their shoes, and working to address their specific needs, rather than necessarily the detail of the issue as we saw it. Ultimately we appealed to them to trust us and remain loyal to our brand. The employees dropped their dispute.

Finally, I attended a board meeting for a charity of which I am a non-executive director and where the board and the chief executive had very different views over a certain matter. By undertaking detailed research and intelligence, having a clear focus on the endgame rather than the short-term pain and playing to the emotions of the legacy that we had created for past customers, the non-exec board won the day.

For me these demonstrate that by using the basics of good marketing – market analysis, developing clear propositions, understanding your audience, strong communication that carries an emotional hook – you can make a difference in any scenario. It also shows why marketers should get involved in things outside of their day job – you’d be amazed how many times you can use your experience, and how such roles can help you become better marketers.

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