When’s the last time you had ‘one of those days’?
What makes your job special? Jon Silk, head of European digital strategy at Bite, argues marketing is not about the pitching or lead generation, but the crazy, creative days
I’ll be honest – I’m writing this column from the depths of a hangover. Not just a ‘couple of beers on a school night’ hangover. A deep, dark, meaning-of-life-questioning hangover. In any other industry, behaviour in the office today would be deemed unprofessional. But because I work in PR, lying on the floor of the office hugging a Furby and begging to be brought a glass of water and paracetamol is seen as an acceptable way to spend a Wednesday.
Last night, you see, I was networking. I was hobnobbing with senior marketing professionals who are at the cutting edge of the profession. As agency types, our time spent in each other’s company more often than not becomes a brainstorm. In the brainstorm we will probably come up with an idea for a product, or a campaign, or someone we want to hire, or a new business we want to start. Together we’ll probably find a solution to a client problem that would’ve taken us years to solve alone – then someone will say the word ‘Sambuca’.
Have a think about how many times you’ve been doing your job and thought: ‘this is one of those days that could only happen because I’m in marketing’. Perhaps that time you ended up in a karaoke bar at 2am with your client, Marie from accounts, and that tall bloke off X Factor. Or the time you ended up running through Stockholm airport dressed as Elvis because you overslept after the press party.
If you haven’t had one of those days for a while, try and engineer one ASAP. It isn’t the pitching, the team structure or even the leads you are generating that make our job special. It’s the crazy, creative days that bring us together and remind us why we do this in the first place.
Here are a few ways that you can arrange ‘one of those days’:
1. Organise a team building day
Go-karting or paintballing work well if you’re up for some physical activity. If not, there are hundreds of teambuilding experiences based in cool locations, such as TV studios and farms, that’ll get you away from your desk and thinking differently for the day.
Visit another office. Go to an exhibition. Try out a new restaurant. Do it next week. Just go somewhere else that you wouldn’t normally be.
3. Make a new connection
You know that person who is in vaguely the same industry as you, that you swap messages with on Twitter from time to time? Go and meet them, informally. Networking is never just that – it will always turn into an idea or a solution to something. Also, I bet that they know someone you know, and you end up amazed that you hadn’t met before.
4. Swap jobs
Get out of your seat and go and sit with another team. Follow them around. Shadow them in meetings. Offer to do some of their work. Seeing your own job from another angle will reinvigorate you, and give you ideas on how to stay fresh when you go back to it. Offer someone from the other team to do the same on yours.
5. Do something wrong
I do love the phrase ‘fail forward’. Sometimes, good stuff happens from mistakes. At the least, you’ll learn not to do something a second time. At most, you’ll create something wonderful.
Oh, and if you think you’re out too late for a school night, order another drink.