Michael Morpurgo, author of the best-selling book War Horse, has some sage advice for wannabe writers: “Don’t worry about writing a book or getting famous or making money. Just lead an interesting life.” The same can be said about marketing.
You can sit and stare at your spreadsheets for as long as you want, but there is no getting away from the fact that marketing is a creative job. Nothing will sap your creative juices more than staring at a computer screen and hoping for inspiration to reveal itself from behind the glare.
The best marketers work hard to develop a network of personal contacts, enjoy learning from others and always have a story to tell. They seek inspiration from everywhere, and as a result, they never run short of ideas.
Note: These ideas don’t always work — but with a bank of ideas in reserve, marketers can quickly learn from their mistakes and move on to the next project.
With this in mind, we’ve compiled a list of five things you can do to make your life more interesting and become a better marketer.
5 Ways to Lead a More Interesting Life and Become a Better Marketer
- Hot Desk: Never lock yourself away behind a closed office door. Take the opportunity to work in other areas of your business and learn from people outside the marketing department. If you really want to know what makes your clients tick, your first port of call should be the customer service department. When you make yourself more accessible to the wider team, you may find yourself presented with numerous marketing ideas (because everyone is an expert). Some of these ideas will be better than others — but remember, there is no such thing as a bad idea, so never discourage anyone from sharing.
- Make Friends with Clients: Too many marketing relationships end the moment a prospect becomes a client. This is a real shame because retention (keeping that client) is just as important and is certainly much more profitable than winning a new client. Your clients will also share vital information about how they and their competitors (more potential clients) view your organization and your competition. Building up a healthy relationship with your clients will also make it easier to beta-test new products and build up a useable bank of testimonials.
- Go to That Conference: OK, so attending some educational conferences might not be too beneficial if you are already an expert, but consider this: If you leave the conference with just one good idea that is successfully implemented, your investment in time and money will be returned many times over. And remember, good ideas can come from anywhere. Perhaps you’ll find the keynote speech illuminating, or maybe a question from a fellow attendee will spark inspiration. Sometimes, good ideas can come from completely random conversations — and you never know who you’ll meet and end up talking to at a conference.
- Challenge Yourself: The moment you step outside of your comfort zone, things really start to get exciting. So start doing all those things that put you on edge. Accept that invitation to speak in front of 1,000 people. Put yourself in front of a camera and start a YouTube channel. Push deadlines. Exceed targets. Stop doing all the things that you know don’t add value to your business — but you’ve always done them because the company has done them (or because your boss asks you to do them, in which case, challenge the boss). Nothing will ever change if you just play it safe — so take some calculated risks. What’s the worst that can happen?
- Widen Your Interests: All work and no play makes Jack (or Jill) a dull boy (or girl) — so widen your interests. Take up that offer of a game of golf, go hiking with friends or learn a foreign language. My best ideas come to me while riding my bike along the coast near my home. When you clear your mind of work-related issues and start enjoying yourself more, you find inspiration comes in floods rather than drips.
How could you spice up your marketing career by leading a more interesting life? Share your comments below: