I suppose its Phillip Schofield I have to thank really. When someone told me a couple of weeks ago it was such a big shock, and then at the same time, not a shock at all. Someone you grow up with, all the way back to the broom cupboard with Gordon. Must have been so difficult, not comfortable with who you are or how you are represented. It must have required real bravery for such a high-profile figure to come out in the way he did. Good for you, Philip.
Look, before you go any further, I’m not coming out in the same way as Philip Schofield. It was a devious use of a misleading title and his name in the first line that has hopefully stirred enough curiosity to open up the blog. (we all do it!)
I’m not coming out as gay, sorry to disappoint. I’m not gay. I can be little bit camp, love a showtune, am a massive fan of Shirley Bassey, once did an amazing rendition of ‘In The Navy’ on a podium in a club in Mykonos, and of course, a few people think I’m gay. But I’m not gay.
My coming out is more of a business thing – and it happened last week. There are some parallels with our Phil, in that I had been uncomfortable with what I was talking about, about how I explained who I was and what my business was about. It required a moment of clarity and once that moment arrived, I feel so much better about myself and the whole situation.
So here it is…’I AM A PART TIME MARKETING DIRECTOR’. There, its out there. Let me tell you how it came about…
I set up my business about six months ago (thanks to all of those who sent kind words about my previous six-month blog). The idea was to work with SME business as an outsourced marketing help. Helping them with their business planning, their sales and marketing strategy and execution.
I had come to the idea of working with a business as a ‘part time Marketing Director’ about a year before. I say marketing, but that could easily be sales and marketing. I have experience working across both. Ultimately that’s where I wanted to get to. To be retained by businesses who would value my skills and experience. To offer a cost effectiveness way to change up the gears of a business. To offer all the positive things a Marketing Director brings (strategy, direction, commerciality, innovation, leadership, mentoring) without them committing to that significant cost. Seemed quite straight forward.
That’s when I started to overthink things. Looking for a point of difference. I thought that difference came in the shape of the management process that I have used over the last 20 years. Not another coach or adviser, but someone who came up with a solid plan using a recognised management process.
So for six months, I have been talking about OGSM, about business planning and putting together a plan for someone – and suggesting that possibly, in the fullness of time, after a trial period, where everyone is comfortable, I could, very possibly becoming something like what someone might potentially call a part-time Marketing Director, or that type of thing.
I was making two fundamental errors. First, I was boring people with stuff they didn’t see as relevant to them. I have seen this glazed look appear on a number of faces in the past six months. I have always taken this look as them going into some glorious rapture where they realise the higher planes they could be working on using this proven management theory. I now realise they were glazing over because they had no idea what I was talking about and how it was relevant to them and they were actually thinking about what was for dinner or how many trophies Liverpool will win this season (the correct answer being all of them!).
The second error was downplaying the end game. Where I was heading. The part where they do begin to realise the benefits. Downplaying it because it sounded like too much too soon, too much of a commitment. Like I was selling them some kind of retained tie-in just five minutes after meeting them. Also, because I am a start-up, am not actually anyone’s Part-Time Marketing Director yet, so to say that would be a flat out lie.
Last week I caught up for a cup of tea with Becs Bate. Becs has a really successful Social Media Training Business based in Warrington. It does exactly what it says on the tin, training people to get the most of Social Media.
In the past six months I have met Becs at a number of networking meetings. At the first one, she had sat at my table and listened to my 60 second introduction. My introduction was all about my background, my business planning ability, management theory from the 1950’s – all the usual stuff. The stuff that I thought was fascinating and ground-breaking. The stuff that created ‘the glaze’.
Since then, I have bumped into Becs a few times, we have a quick chat, and then we move on. Our understanding of what we do hasn’t moved on. Last week we met up for our first proper 121.
She sat there with her notebook out and we had a proper conversation about what we did. When it came to my turn I started with ‘well, I’m a kind of part-time Marketing Director’. And straight away, she wrote that down, looked at me and nodded, “yeah, OK, I get it”.
I told her all of reasons why a firm would want me as their PTMD, how I could potentially help her clients to work more strategically so they get more out of their social media training – an issue we had previously been talking about, how I would need her help with my own clients as I was more focussed on strategy and needed trusted partners to manage the delivery – in social media, creative, digital etc. She got it!
At the end, I told her about a presentation I have next week and how I am struggling to make people understand what I did. Just gave me that look, that incredulous ‘you idiot’ look (I’m familiar with it, I get it a lot at home from my 7 year old daughter). “Just say you’re a Part-Time Marketing Director”.
And straight away the penny dropped. Instead of mincing around what I was doing, what I was offering, being almost apologetic about the whole thing, the answer was there ‘I AM A PART TIME MARKETING DIRECTOR’. I felt relieved. I know exactly how Philip Schofield felt!
And so to round off this poorly disguised piece of blatant self-promotion, let me just outline what a Part Time Marketing Director does and who should be giving me a call….
I AM….An outsourced professional who can help you effectively manage all of your Sales, Marketing and BD output. The help you need in a cost- effective manner
I WILL….Increase the number of leads, the level of conversion and customer spend. Make your brand more relevant to your target market. Improve the potential and capability of your Sales/Marketing team.
If you tick any of the following boxes, then get in touch
Lack of clear marketing identity, strategy and activity
Lack of tactical responsiveness and ROI awareness.
Doing the same things now as you did last, because ‘that’s what you’ve always done’
Lack of an experienced decision maker to manage direction and no one to manage, lead, mentor or develop people.
Agencies managing the marketing function, agencies who are too dominant, badly managed or following their own agenda
Many thanks to Becs for listening and helping, many thanks to you all who have worked your way through another rambly blog. See you next time.