the opinions and musings behind the expertise
Get a Haircut and Get a Real Job
Posted: October 29, 2015
For those of you familiar with George Thorogood, you will recognize his classic hit “Get a haircut and get a real job.” In the song, the various antagonists complain that the protagonist needs to stop fooling around with his career and get a serious job like his big bother Bob. While I don’t have the longest of hair, I can clearly identify with the protagonist with wanting an unconventional way to earn a living.
During my 20 plus years in the marketing field (gee I feel old writing that!), my work has involved projects at the federal, provincial and municipal government levels, business associations, plastic surgeons, law firms, charities, multinational companies, start-ups, auto dealerships, aviation operators, unions, tourist operators, transportation firms, retailers, oil and gas organizations, technology based companies, and well the list goes on and on. This has resulted in a wide range of assignments that included providing photo direction in a cesspool, presenting campaign concepts to provincial cabinet ministers and conducting video interviews with dairy farmers standing in the middle of a field next to a herd of cows.
While each project presented its own unique set of challenges, a common critical element to a successful outcome was learning all about the client. This means I have witnessed numerous production processes from fish plants to cookie factories, to window manufacturing and many others. I have seen countless product demonstrations from improvements on existing designs to new state-of the-art fantastic gizmos. I’ve listened to many clients talk excitedly of how their new service will significantly impact the marketplace. In all these cases, the client was looking for solid direction on how to best market their offerings. That means rolling up one’s sleeves and diving deep into research and idea development to frame out the project’s marketing goals, strategies to attain each goal and bread and butter tactics to achieve each strategy. This included fully identifying the market needs, the target market’s defining characteristics and knowing detailed aspects about the competition.
Implementation often included everything from new brand development, photo shoots, video production, website design, social media strategies, event planning, computer animation, signage, display booths, radio spots, print collateral, media plans, and so on along with establishing measurements of success.
And here’s the kicker. Everything I have described here is multiplied many times over by the team I work in at OPEN. A highly talented bunch of people that each bring unique perspectives and contributions to every aspect of a project. What does all this mean to our clients? Quite a lot. It means that when they hire us, they tap into a wide breadth and depth of hands-on experience that ensures the marketing strategies and deliverables we provide achieve the intended results. Personally, it means for each new project, I get the opportunity to roll up my sleeves yet again to gain the intimate knowledge I need to help that client and I find that variety of work intoxicating. Yes, there are more conventional jobs (insert accountant joke here), but I think I will continue to skip the haircut and resist getting a real job until the day I retire.