Welcome to the first in a blog series starting here, called ‘What do you do?’. In this series we will give you a little insight into the individuals making up Seven and why we do what we do. First up (because it was her idea!) is Amity, our Marketing Manager.
‘What do you do?’
‘I work in marketing’
It’s a rubbish question, that ‘what do you do?’ – reductive and often loaded – but it’s inevitable when you meet someone new that it comes up. And I’m always surprised at my equally rubbish answer!
I’ve worked in Marketing for fifteen years. As a discipline it’s extremely broad. There are basic principles of course, but we could argue a lot of those are currently being disrupted. I’ve worked on supermarket navigation, value amplification, brand development, corporate communication, retailtainment, own-label creation – and that’s just some of it. Now I work in retail and consumer recruitment marketing which is yet another branch of this big old tree that I have built my working life on.
I like the tree metaphor when thinking about marketing. It’s like an old oak, been there for years, standing strong in the park. Everyone sees it, but at the same time nobody notices it. It’s massively high and has hundreds of branches going off in every direction. It changes all the time and stands strong against the elements.
It is the way of the world now that everything we produce is Content, and that’s giving marketing a bit of a bad name. There is now the constant scroll, the addiction, the platforms, the 24hr never-switch-off culture that a lot of people feel is making us ill and degrading our society (check out Jaron Lanier’s fantastic book if you fancy a very insightful and compelling read on this, or catch Emma Gannon’s Ctrl Alt Delete podcast with Katherine Ormerod). A lot of current debate about marketing focusses on social media and digital marketing, and they’re not wrong, but I often recall one of the first things I heard years and years ago, when working agency-side for one of the ‘big four’ (as it was then!), that ‘marketing is the ears and eyes of our business’, which has really stayed with me.
That idea of being the ears and the eyes, is for me the absolute truth of marketing. Businesses such as Mars who are embracing this are the ones who will make it through this confusing time where a lot of marketing is now driving demand through algorithms, rather than listening and responding to consumers through their habits, as used to be the case. For me, the fundamental skill in marketing is listening before acting. It doesn’t matter how much data we gather, it’s got to be about listening to our audience, rather than solely analysing numbers. And ideas! We are in danger of squeezing the creativity out of our work if we forget that it’s about exciting people with ideas, not just treating them as datasets.
In my role at Seven I wear many hats (the best thing about working in a SME, for me, is the opportunity to wear many hats!), but the first job title I give myself is Listener. To our clients, to our candidates, to our business and our market; it is imperative to the effectiveness of any post, any campaign, any communication we produce, that the first task we’ve undertaken is to listen. Great things are coming up for us over the next year. We have a lot of ace clients and excellent candidates talking to us and we want to make sure we involve them in our journey in the most engaging way for all of us. This for me is where the marketing magic lies, in activating the eyes and ears. So next time someone asks me what I ‘do’, I’ve got a better – if a little longer – reply!