I had an interesting encounter last week.
We have some lovely young ladies who have joined the organisation (at my “real” job in marketing, not my freelance work) as trainees. They were doing the tour and were shown into my office [read: cave] where the tour guide asked my position (he’s new around here), “I do marketing,” I replied.
— I DO marketing? That’s not even a proper sentence! I hear you grumble. Anyway, let’s move on, shall we? —
I went on to say that if they had any questions about marketing then they can just ask. The girls (I can call them girls, they’re 16 years old) shuffled their way further into my office, “Well, what is it that you actually do?”
Ah…. Well…. Marketing is a very broad topic to cover in 4 minutes but I attempted to explain my role in a few short(ish, for me) sentences.
“I make pretty pictures,” was my self-deprecating start (7 years and thousands of dollars in uni fees summed up in one underwhelming sentence).
“Primarily I’m a copywriter, so I write. A lot. Every word in every ad you see has been written by a copywriter,” (or should be) I say, flicking through our not-insubstantial Annual Report.
“Also I do PR, so I liaise with the media to get us free publicity.” Anything vaguely joining us to the media probably sounds pretty glamourous to a 16 year old.
“Also I design,” I say, gesturing to the print outs, colour forecasts, posters, pantone charts and paper samples littered around my cluttered office.
“And anything you see with one of our logos on it I have designed and sourced.” The promo gear in my office was identified as an OH&S hazard in recent weeks, compelling me to clean up.
“In short, every article, advert, brochure, poster, flyer, invitation, promotional item, annual report, business card and letterhead comes through my office. I design and write every one.”
I’ve realised that, stepping away from the big city corporate world, I had taken for granted that people know what marketing is and what us marketers do. I recall being aware of advertising when I was young but not realising that client-side marketing was a career option.
In a broad sense we manage everything to do with a brand’s reputation; how it is perceived, published and promoted.
We are the protectors of the logos, the upholders of the fonts, the enforcers of the colours. We are the custodians of our brands.
You may not think you care about this sort of thing but we do, and that’s our job. Although I bet you know when something doesn’t look right or offends your eye.
So whenever you see a poorly-printed flyer, a misspelled advert or a skewed logo then you know that company’s marketer hasn’t been doing their job.
[As a side note, the manager of said trainees just came in to thank me for engaging the girls and said how it really sparked their interest which is apparently a challenge in adolescents.]