In 20 years of brand development and marketing work, I have become a focused strategist for companies creating targeted and strategic development and social marketing conversation for everything from mom n’ pop shops to Fortune 500 corporations. I’m also a mom to two boys, who have provided me with the greatest of gifts, the opportunity of making men for the future. To be able to be a part of how they see and interact in the world each day is a reward I cherish. And teaching them emotional intelligence and seeing them display emotion with understanding and compassion is the BEST part.
I have certainly acquired many of the necessary “hard skills”need to succeed as a marketer over the course of my career, however the “soft skills” like teamwork, leadership and communications came as a result of a much more difficult and rewarding job : being a mom.
It’s hard to turn off the “mom” switch when dealing with teams, clients, and industry colleagues. While juggling both these seemingly unique and diverse roles may seem challenging, truth be told, a lot of the same rules of engagement apply. But you certainly don’t have to be a mother to put them to use in achieving your marketing objectives. Below are 3 of my go to mom-isms that can help you become a better marketer, no matter who you are.
- Adapt or Die
This idea is a mainstay in my arsenal of parental tools. Simply put, what works one day might not work the next day. The diversionary tactics it takes to get two brothers attention off of their ABSOLUTE MUST HAVE of fart putty in a can, is all about adaptation. And adaptation is at a premium in the simple task of getting your toddler to eat. You begin by making that goofy face to get him to eat his breakfast one day, pratfalling behind the counter while he chomps on lunch the next, and finally resorting to him eating from your plate, hoping that at least one day you will enjoy a plated meal, and so will he.
Now, from a social marketing perspective- being able to adapt is key. A strategy that works for a brick and mortar client in San Francisco, isn’t going to communicate the same way for a mom and pop shop in Merced. What works in one business, with one audience in one city might not work with another. If you are running marketing strategy steeped in similar campaigns, month after month, the audience loses interest and will not respond in the way you would like them. You have to mix it up and try new and various tactics, campaigns, messaging, a mix of online and offline storytelling,
2. Trust your instinct
As a mom, one of the challenges is knowing what is right for your child and tuning out the advice and suggestions from outside influences. At times, trusting that voice which can by and large guide you toward what is the right solution for your family and your child places you outside of what your peer group is saying or doing with their kids.
Similarly, as a marketer in working with a client, I have a notion, an intuition, of what will work and what won’t- will a certain content driven narrative capture their voice better than another? Will a location set up for an image or video represent their brand adequately? Will a certain frequency of delivering similar messaging to a particular audience, work? These are just a few examples, where it helps to trust your instinct as a marketer. And like parenting, your instincts grow as your experience does.
3. Nurturing a Team
Finally, understanding the nuances of a team, and how to mesh conflicting personalities is a skill every mom develops. Part coach, part referee, it is a daily sometimes hourly task. Having two boys means playing mediator and peace-maker, but it also is a constant opportunity to help them grow, learn, and develop their personalities. Similarly, as a marketing mentor, one of the more rewarding parts of my job is working with a talented team of freelancers and unique business owners to help put them in a position to succeed. Nurturing their growth (though they aren’t my children….not really), makes the job far more meaningful.
As you can see, motherhood has a lot to teach us about many aspects of life, including marketing. Of course, it is not necessary to be a parent to have this type of perspective on life and work, but for me, it has shaped the person I am today. Someone need not herd wee ones on a regular basis, to be an effective marketer. But using that skill set and working like a mother hasn’t failed me so far!