A recent article in BrandWeek goes Inside the Mind of a Marketer. Let's find out what makes them tick.
Some common themes emerged:
An ability to listen and discern. Listening is the number one thing we can all do better. When we quiet the voices in our heads -- the ones that are formulating a comeback -- we can actually hear what the issues are and build from them. This comes a little easier over time. Because we bubble up with creative energy, we sometimes make an effort to still ourselves.
A preoccupation with the future. The motivation and psychology of other people inspire marketers. This means wanting to find out what customers need and what their company can offer that their competitors doesn't. This is also the predilection for spending a lot of time anticipating new trends. It builds on the ability to listen, observe and discern.
A skill for asking the right questions (and not being afraid to ask the wrong ones). Often a conversation may start with "what" when it should really begin with "who". Who is our customer? Who is our audience? Why do they like or dislike something? Why does something make them feel a certain way? We ask questions until we can identify what we need to know about a product or service and can now explain it to others.
Comfort with risk and with wielding authority. Marketers enjoy having responsibility especially when it comes to creating all those touch points that lead up to sales. Sometimes that means doing some high-wire acrobatics to convince a group, particularly a sales team, that there needs to be a certain amount of planning involved.
A willingness and zeal to create something out of nothing. This requires innovation, project management and sales skills as well as a grounded ability to play accountant.
Marketers are literal sponges; they soak up the countless bits of social and cultural intelligence that's hurled at the masses each day in the most disparate forms, and then synthesize them in a way that assists the development, growth and promotion of their brands, the article says. Certainly we do read and consume a lot of information and stimulation every single day.
So I stopped reading and looked around my office. What do I see?
Piles of magazines. Actually, I am quite neat, so they are rows of back issues of Fast Company, Communications Art, How and Print. Other magazines, newsletters, newspapers, bulletins -- trade, weekly, etc. -- get read and promptly shared or tossed. Paper is like blood, it needs to be kept flowing.
Gadgets. No, these are not the geeky toys. I have two sets of Lego's, colored pencils for sketches, a deck of playing cards (long story here), promotional items I am testing, dimensional mailers for our campaigns.
Plants. The splash of green is very relaxing and provides a nice frame to the view of the highway I have from my windows.
Large Pictures of Italy. Two poster-framed pictures of Piazza Grande in Modena, the center of life in my hometown, one with a delightful top view of the square, the other showcasing the colors of the old marble and stone. One picture I took of Florence under a threatening sky: a real beauty.
Two Guest Chairs. My office is always brimming with buzz and people stop in frequently to inspire and be inspired.
A White Board. This is for impromptu idea sessions, a quick run at the numbers, a "control freak" moment and any other time anyone feels like expressing themselves. Instead of quotes I post one-page digests on the importance of communications and marketing. It gets the conversation going.
The Changing Face of Marketing and Communications in Today's Creativity Economy, a study from Weber Shandwick by KRC Research sums up how marketers and communicators are getting a seat at the table. Here's a sampling of what respondents had to say:
86% feel the marketing and communications function has become an increasingly important tool for business success.
84% said their company is changing advertising/marketing and communications practices based on the Creativity Economy concept.
73% find their marketing function becoming more actively involved in the R&D or product development process at their companies.
68% said their communications practices are expanding as a result of the Creativity Economy. For example: there is more emphasis on understating and incorporating the customer's viewpoint; working to provide customers with all the information they need to make informed decisions; and shift to marketing and advertising expenditures that enhance the way you think and talk about a company, not just its products.
Ultimately the conversation around marketing should be about making a lasting impression on the people it serves.