Helen Lowe, events and marketing manager at Europa International, talks about the importance of keeping up with the creativity amidst the chaos.
Let’s face it, anyone working in marketing is busy. And when I say busy, I mean caffeine-fuelled, non-stop, always ‘on it’ go go go… Ring a bell?
It takes a certain type of person to want to dedicate themselves whole heartedly to a career that leaves them welded to a clipboard and a to-do list for the most part, but a true marketer is like the professional equivalent of Alice in Wonderland… Bonkers.
Having worked in the sector for 20-something-years – predominantly in events – I know that better than most.
Hands up who has nipped to the bathroom during a family meal to check your emails, or forked out a fortune to attend a concert only to spend the duration checking the response to your latest social media post? Me too.
The reality is that (worry lines and stress-related weight gain aside) the majority of us absolutely love it and wouldn’t have it any other way; but when the pressure is on and deadlines are looming there’s always a risk that a usually creative soul could find themselves simply ‘doing what works’.
‘So what?’ you would be within your rights to ask. But imagine if everyone in marketing – especially when it comes to marketing an event itself, or marketing a business operating within the events industry – stuck to a tried and tested formula.
We’d all be bored to tears within a matter of months, wouldn’t we?
Well, not on my watch matey!
So I sound a bit smug, I know; and I wasn’t always this comfortable with blue-sky thinking, but when you have organised hundreds of functions (working both in-house and as a consultant) you really have no choice but to think outside the pop-up exhibition tent, let alone the box.
Don’t get me wrong, there are elements that are non-compromisable – but apart from the fundamentals, like putting a date and time on the marketing material and invitations, what else is set in stone?
My mantra is ‘just do different’ (it was originally ‘Just Do It’, but a well-known sporting brand that shall remain nameless nicked it and I had to regroup).
Now, I fully appreciate that not every person in the industry is given the autonomy to ride the creative wave at will; perhaps stifled by controlling clients, or a boss with a non-negotiable vision of what good looks like. However, even if you find your hands tied when it comes to the bigger ticket stuff, there are endless possibilities when it comes to making your marketing stand out.
I’m incredibly lucky in that I currently head up the marketing and events division for a fantastically quirky and forward thinking furniture, carpet and panel hire company. My creative juices are not only left to flow freely, but pretty much extracted with the force of an industrial strength suction pump.
In fact, the staff recently took part in a photo shoot to produce our 2016 calendar for clients which features the MD donning a rainbow wig and a red nose as he prepares to nosedive into a paddling pool. Think Richard Branson meets Krusty the Clown.
Of course it has context, but it’s still a pretty ‘out there’ approach that could have gone down like a lead balloon. And, while I am delighted to say it’s been a hit with everyone who has received a copy, so what if it hadn’t?
At least we would have known for next time, and at least I can say we tried something different. I think it’s safe to say that all brands face the occasional hiccup along the way, but provided the act was carried out with integrity, and in the best interest of the business, it can always bounce back.
And even if you are resource light and stretched for time forcing you to play it safe, remember; if the marketing of an event, product or brand is a reflection of your passion for what you do then that will always shine through.
In the words of the American author Stanley Marcus: “The dollar bills the customer gets from tellers in four banks are the same. What is different are the tellers”.
Ultimately you, your imagination and your drive are the most powerful marketing tools at your disposal.