25 years within Marketing – what Cheryl has learned
Next up as part of our “sharing the wisdom” series: Our chat with Cheryl Crichton, Marketing, Design and Online Consultant. Cheryl is an experienced marketer with a background in blue chip corporate design and B2B/B2C brand communications. She originally qualified in Graphic Design, and helped build teams that focused on delivering great brand solutions for big corporates but migrated into client services and consultancy in the late 90s. These days she focuses on marketing consultancy and delivery that helps smaller, but non-the-less ambitious businesses deliver long-term sales results.
Her clients say she is a clear thinker with the ability to look at the bigger picture without losing touch with day-to-day tasks.
Now, Cheryl, in an attempt to capture some of your wisdom you’ve gained as a professional so far, what are “5 stand-out things” you’ve learned within the past 25 years, while working in Marketing and making the switch from Agency to Consulting?
There’s no black art. My first pearl is to let you into a wee secret that there’s no black art to marketing and nothing has changed about how people make a decision to buy something in years and years and years. Techniques and marketing trends come and go (there was no Internet when I was successfully helping brands sell things in the 80s and only 4 TV channels) and technology is swallowing up our lives, but human behaviour has stayed the same – we see something and buy it (impulse by), or we see something, find out more about it, then ask our team and trusted network about it, and then buy it (a considered purchase). That’s what a lot of marketing decisions are made on – how people buy from people.
Give, give, give. My next pearl is to be generous with your time and wisdom. As I’m self-employed I can sometimes spend hours alone at my desk but I make a huge effort to connect and keep connected with as many people around the city, the region and the world as I can to share knowledge and experience (on and offline). It’s how we learn and grow and how I often keep up-to-date with my industry – I never stop learning (personally and professionally). Plus, I know home working isn’t for everyone, but when I worked in open plan environment, I spent my days craving my own office to be able to get things done. Guess what, now I’ve got it.
And finally, a problem shared is a problem halved. I won’t hesitate to turn to my professional network for help with a problem. Competitors and all. It’s called business karma and it pays dividends to reciprocate every time. And while I’m on that note, mentor and be mentored. Find someone who can help you get where you want to go – never be afraid to ask for an opinion or help.
Hesitation. In fact don’t hesitate. ‘He who hesitates is lost’ as my dear old father said, and he was always right. Make swift decisions and don’t waste time regretting what you’ve done… well you know how that one ends. And apply it to life and business… As a delivery expert, I also sometimes get asked to speak on ‘getting things done’ (how to get all the marketing done in the little time we always seem to have). I make the analogy that many people wish they had a time machine so they can go back in time and get more down. Well making swift decisions is a time-making tool. Make them quicker and get on with things sooner. I’ve seen so much time wiped of project plans through slow decisions making.
Use your instinct. Always go with your gut feeling about things – a bit Malcom Gladwell, but I truly believe we are all capable of trusting our inner self about the decisions we make in work and life. I absolutely loved my Agency life and I made some of the best friends I ever could wish for, and worked in some amazing brands. But the time came when I wanted to work more directly with business owners and smaller teams. It was a long-time-coming decision for me, but one I knew the outcome from the start. I just wish I’d made the move sooner because it’s now paying dividends in all walks of my life.
Humanity. Next on the list is ‘be kind to yourself’. You’re either the kind of person that thrives on pressure or you’re not. I don’t mind working hard (and it has been known), but don’t make yourself ill. I had a client make me cry once and I was very upset with myself that I let it happen. I swore I would never let anyone put me under that kind of pressure again (least of all myself), and I also think that was one of the deciding factors in changing direction on who I want to work with. At Watertight Marketing where I am accredited, we work with a framework that includes looking at how to only work with the business we want, and how to say no to the business we don’t want. It’s a fundamental part of business – find the work you love, do more of it, and make it profitable for everyone.
The world seems as new and exciting to me now as it always has and I’m constantly thrilled by the business challenges and opportunities that come my way. Every day is a challenge and I embrace it. My leave-behind thoughts are to be brave, make the decisions you need to make to get where you want to go and draw courage an inspiration from others.
Thank you for indulging my very personal perspective in the last 25 years, but in reality, this is all I want from the relationships with my customers. An honest view on where they have come from and they want to be so I can help them get there.
Thank You for sharing!