When you work in an environment of integrity and trust it’s easy to respectfully challenge other people's thinking. If we all agreed with each other out of politeness, we would be doing ourselves a disservice. I want my ideas tested and vetted and challenged so that every possible perspective is considered – and I hope that my colleagues would expect the same from me. As long as the argument is grounded in objective fact and it’s delivered constructively and simply as possible, being the contrarian can be the most important role in an organization.
market and social researcher
I believe strongly that market and social research craft skills are the backbone of the marketer’s platform. If you can’t analyze, report on and monitor the market and your audience objectively, how can you hope to make educated decisions about your business? Monitoring cultural and social trends is a specialist task, and the findings need to be fed in early to brand and creative development. Differentiating between mere “fashion” and genuine cultural trends is not something for the inexperienced – many people can tell you what’s in and what’s out, but a good strategist should be able to tell you why.
elusive insight hunter
Knowledge kicks ass. Knowing where to go to find stuff out is critical. However much time pressure is brought to bear on my working day, I always make time to feed my head. Deriving insight from knowledge is one of the most important skills a marketer can possess. Mining insights and peering into nooks and crannies without losing sight of the big picture in order to identify a key insight that can transform a business is a real skill.
There are a lot of painful ways you could spend your day – and I’ll admit, sifting through cells and cells of a mind-numbing spreadsheet is one way to make me run into the streets screaming. With that said, I do hold data in high regard and wouldn’t make a decision without some of it. That ‘some’ being what is truly relevant to the campaign and not data just for data’s sake. Knowing how to interrogate data and find a story through it rather than be intimidated by it is the challenge. Common sense, intuition, numeracy and clarity of thinking all help.
passionate customer advocate
Here’s the thing; customer needs are far more important than business or product roadmaps because demand will only be created when customer needs are being met. The idea is to enjoy a mutually beneficial relationship with your customers, not a forced marriage. In the past, I’ve played the role as customer advocate in an organization or it’s been someone else – the point is to have someone whose role it is to represent your audience and involve that person in every stage of your marketing development.