The process

I am inspired by the people I work with.

Not by a process.

I went for an interview with a marketing agency once in Calgary. It was for contract work and I thought that’s where I wanted my career to go after pimping out cable TV, internet and phone services for two years.

Contract work. Yeah, pick up work from a few places here and there, set my own hours and live the dream, baby.

The agency owner asked about my process.

I’d never been asked before about my process. I didn’t know how to answer.

Process? What the hell is a process?

I stammered out a “well, I’ll either brew a pot of coffee or pour a glass of wine, depending on the time of day, and just get to work.”

It wasn’t a lie. It was the best answer I could come up with at the time.

He still gave me a writing assignment.

One that he never paid me for.

But it isn’t like that $300 would go very far.

(Two sidebar points: 1. Yes, I even undervalue my writing; 2. I can hear my husband frowning at me being dismissive about $300, especially considering I was collecting pogey at the time.)

I don’t have a process.

Dammit.

Recently, I was talking to one of my SMEs (subject matter experts) about a piece of fiber-optic cable-management architecture. He was telling me about the difference between our cable-management pieces and flexible tubing. It’s a big deal in fiber-optic cable protection.

He even cut his hand on the tubing.

I tried to come up with a campaign idea about it. I’d be launching it on Oct. 31, so I thought about playing up something gory with Halloween.

Hey, why not send all our customers one of those (fake) bloody fingers from the joke store? Um … it’s B2B marketing, so that might be a touch radical.

I went for a run and thought about it. Usually around Mile 3 or 4, my brain starts to empty out of everything in it and somehow it finds space to create. I come up with (what I think are) some of my best ideas when I’m running or cycling.

My SME’s story morphed into ’50s style human-resources safety videos and, well, I’m pretty happy with the finished project. (I have the most amazing videographer that I work with. I shit you not.)

It has even spawned a year-long campaign that reflects on the 35-year history of my company.

I’m excited about its potential. The people I work with have bought into the idea.

And there was no process behind it.

No method by which I can plan another campaign or video.

I was inspired by a story and I’m using it to tell a bigger story.

Maybe that makes me a bad marketer.

Or a helluva storyteller.

Which is really what good marketing is all about. Good storytelling.

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