Most of the companies that approach me at the moment want purely digital marketing – whether that it blogging, social media, online advertising or refreshing web copy. So I was a bit taken aback when at a meeting a few weeks ago where I was asked to look over some marketing materials – and imagine my surprise when the client handed over an actual leaflet. Hard copy? Offline materials? This stuff exists?
I also had the opportunity to meet up with another client, who, after some fairly heavy hints from me (heavy hints = I basically demanded) gave me a branded mug and lanyard. Yay! I love freebies, especially lovely ones that keep my coffee warm.
These little incidents tied into my own thoughts about stepping away from my digital life a little to get a better balance (update on how it is going below. For the short answer - NOT WELL).
When you are so tied into online marketing, social media and other digital forms of communication it can be very easy to forget the importance of traditional marketing for most businesses. Yes, digital communications are growing, but word of mouth recommendation, networking, meeting people, giving away a brochure or a notebook or a pen still have a significant place in your marketing strategy. They are not to be forgotten.
There is a real tangible benefit of having a face to a name, to having a little brand piece of tat (sorry) on a desk so your name gets glanced over a few times a day, and especially to having a folder of your company information to hand for a potential client who might suddenly have a problem and need your help.
It is also important to bear in mind that your marketing must be integrated. Working away in little silos can dilute your message, whereas making sure that your branding, text, calls to action and campaigns are all working together, whatever medium they may be in, can only strengthen how potential clients see your business. It also makes your life a lot easier.
So, embrace the offline and as well as the online; and pull all of your marketing messages into one lovely integrated whole!
TECH FREE UPDATE
It went well for the first few days and then went steadily downhill. I can only blame a news addiction (and all of it bad news) and a lack of willpower. However, for the days that I didn’t reach for my phone straight away I definitely felt better for it. I don’t know if this is the lack of guilt that I would normally feel for being on the phone or the lack of FOMO that can get you when you’re scrolling away. Who knows?
I’m not going to give up just yet, small steps, baby acorns, blah blah…
Feeling like your phone is stuck in your hand? Getting those tired techy eyes? Frustrated by all the negativity coursing through social media?
You are not alone.
This sounds like a great sales pitch where I unveil my wonder juice that is going to make it all better AND leave your skin super soft and hydrated! It isn’t – I am as confused and befuddled by it all as you are. Worse than that, it’s my job to be online all day.
How do you balance social media management with reducing the amount of tech in your lifestyle?
I’ve been looking at this in detail recently while feeling increasingly demotivated by online activities, so I’ve set up a plan to start getting tech free whilst still staying on target for all my clients.
Remember, a good marketing consultant is a happy marketing consultant – like a puppy or a small child, we need to eat right, get plenty of fresh air and have regular breaks. Here’s the plan:
Reduce the phone time
I hate the fact that I get lost in a scroll spiral too often, whether it’s Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. I am taking baby steps with this one, as obviously I need my phone near me for my client accounts and also my own life (analysing Ru Paul’s Drag Race each week is like a fundamental human right, yeah?) but for now, I’m not turning to it as soon as I wake up and it’s being put down at least an hour before I go bed. Boom!
Declutter the desk
Technically, is this techy? I don’t know, but it is helping clear the fuzz from my brain… especially as a lot of the decluttering involves spare leads and wires and who know what. Also, if you feel more productive, as a clean and tidy workplace promotes, you are less likely to procrastinate away reading news on the Guardian. Clean desk, clean mind, people.
Take regular breaks
Step away from the laptop! A break means getting away from a screen, not eating a sandwich while checking Twitter. There is nothing relaxing about checking Twitter any more. So, I am going to try to have breaks away from my desk, and luckily I have a dog that loves walks so that should be fairly easy.
That’s only three things, but I think that’s enough for now. As the title of the blog suggests, this is just the beginning. I’m going to be reporting back on my process as we go along, and also working out how this affects the marketing activities I carry it out every day and how stepping away from the tech can make it better.
If you have any comments, tips or strategies for reducing the amount of tech time in your life please comment or contact me with your ideas – I’m going to need them!
I have a new obsession with RuPaul’s Drag Race. It means I want my hair bigger, my outfits fiercer, and my make up more glittery than ever before.
But it’s not just the aesthetics - following the journeys of all the queens, the relationships, the support and the no-hold-barred LOVE makes for inspiring watching (and also, sticking on RuPaul’s podcast while working keeps the inspiration going all day long, guurrrlll… ).
It also makes me think about what we project, and whatever category we decide upon when we walk down the runway everyday (the runway of LIFE!). Caitlin Moran said it best:
“When a woman says, ‘I have nothing to wear!’, what she really means is, ‘There’s nothing here for who I’m supposed to be today.”
I think that the lesson we can take from these inspiring drag queens is – you can be whoever you want to be, and, more than that, you choose whoever you want to be. Make up and clothes, and the choices we make, reflect who we are to the outside world – but you don’t have to pander to that world. Stand out, be proud, and the more notice we take of, and the more influence we take in, from different communities and diverse opinions; the more we know that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.
So what does this have to do with marketing? Well, essentially, absolutely nothing. I’m about to spend an amazing weekend with my best friends celebrating a fabulous person and his farewell to the single life, and it is all his fault that I love RuPaul’s Drag Race so much, so this blog is for him.
Isn’t marketing a bit of drag queen mystique though? You can think of it of covering over the cracks, making a good impression at all costs, not showing who you really are… or you can think of it of representing your business as you really are, cracks and all, and making connections and relationships with people that matter and showing some love to the world. That’s the approach I always want to take, even if that approach means a nonsensical blog with only a vague connection to marketing…
And remember, if you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?
I do a lot of work for charity. I don’t like to talk about it. I prefer writing it down in a blog so it will stay on my website FOREVER and direct hits to my contact page so I get the maximum exposure possible.
Seriously, it is a lovely, yet difficult, prospect. The charity I am currently supporting is the Mityana Charity, who are doing unbelievably wonderful things in Mityana, Uganda.
They work tirelessly to ensure that children in Mityana get sponsorship from the UK to enable them to do the things that we just take for granted – go to school, for one thing. Have school books, a uniform, a school bag, school meals… and all for a yearly cost of just £125. This sponsorship includes…
“a year's school fees, a pair of shoes, shoe polish, a school uniform, pens, pencils, paper, exercise books, maths equipment, a school bag, a broom, soap, toilet paper. The school fees pay for a lunch for the child and for a mug of dilute maize porridge at break time in the morning, often the first food or drink they have had since the previous evening.”
You can also donate directly (http://mityanacharity.org/donate.php) and sponsor older children (http://mityanacharity.org/sponsorship_sec.php). Their projects include sanitation, education, health, and much more.
This work came about through another client who asked me to give Mityana a hand with their marketing. I’m doing as much as I can, providing advice and contributing to their social media feeds, but it’s a difficult thing to juggle with paying work. You want to help more, but practically it’s not always going to happen. So I feel that my contributions are sporadic, not always as thought through as they could be, and although generally helpful not as professional as I would want (much like my approach to blogging).
Perhaps this is the problem with a freelance approach to marketing – would Mityana Charity be better off approaching a larger agency with more time and a CSR allocation to help them (are YOU that agency?) or should we all just muddle through because any help is just that?
From running a marathon (someone is running a marathon for Mityana Charity, you can find out more and donate HERE) to making it a school wide charity thing (Mityana has had a lot of support from Wellington College) to writing out a few Twitter or Facebook posts from time to time, we all have a part to play in supporting those with less than ourselves.
I had a sudden ridiculous revelation today. I am pretty amazing. Look at me, running my own business, looking after a kid, a dog and a husband, always something to eat in the fridge (slightly soft apples count) and a house never that untidy that it will give you a flesh-eating virus (yet). Clothes clean, bills get paid, stuff gets fixed. I’m actually not doing that bad.
I was on a high as I’d actually done something usually beyond my comfort zone – stuck to my guns, said no and stuck up for myself… and actually got results. I couldn’t believe it. It took so much for me to be quite blunt about the facts and risk it that someone might not like me because of what I said… and the hard work paid off. I felt amazing.
I’d also drunk a zillion coffees today too, but let’s ignore that detail.
So, yeah, I was feeling pretty on top of things. I am feeling pretty on top of things. It made me think about the planned strike in America for International Women’s Day. I think it’s a fantastic idea – the idea of stopping all the paid and unpaid contributions that women make to society is a big one, and it has been proven to have made a significant impact in Iceland in the 1970s.
However, will it make that much of a difference now? Women have so many responsibilities to keep the world turning and we really REALLY feel that sense of responsibility. We are so worried about eating right, looking right, having the right home, teaching our children the right things, making sure they are watching the right amount of television, reading the right books, have we done all the washing, have we signed that petition, could we be doing more, is the PTA thing today or tomorrow, how can I help them, should I stand up for myself a bit more in meetings, is that pipe leaking, does my car need a service, should I lose some weight, I don’t think I’m organized enough, has my child got a concentration problem, should I be doing more, am I doing the right things…. And on and on and on.
I just really don’t feel like we can turn that switch off so easily. Striking from a job is one thing, striking from a life is another.
So here is what I am doing –I am on strike from being guilty. I am on strike for trying to do the right thing all the time. I am on strike from making myself feel bad.
I am going to recognise all the awesome things I do everyday and I think you should join me. Give yourself a high five or a stupid dance every time you do something good. Even if it’s just a smart email or dropping the kids off at school. You did good, lady!
If we start appreciating our contribution to society for what it is, other people will do too. Trust me – Good luck!
Freelance Marketing Consultant, especially that Social Media stuff.