It's been just over a year since I joined the Travis Schultz & Partners (TSP) team as the Community & Brand Manager and I have to say, I could not be happier.
There is something really satisfying about working with a values-based firm that truly practices what they preach. TSP genuinely cares about their people, their clients and the community we live in. This has provided me with an opportunity to focus on what I enjoy most about my career – meaningful marketing.
However, it hasn't always been this way for me, and I thought it might be helpful to share a bit about my journey for those early in their career or the budding marketing students out there trying to find their way.
Here's a little bit of context. Since completing my communications degree about ten years ago, I have worked in several marketing and PR roles. These roles have included consultancy, corporate, agency and not-for-profit (NFP). After graduating, I was eager to work in the not-for-profit space. However, I found these jobs were few and far between, paid minimum wages (understandably) or required relocating to Sydney, where many NFP head offices are located, which didn't appeal to me.
Over the years, I've experienced a wide range of industries, business owners, managers and projects. I enjoyed learning from all these experiences, however I recall some projects that created a sense of unease within me. It took me a little while to put my finger on it, but this unease came from a feeling of being too 'salesy'* or disingenuous with the type of work I was being asked to produce. It didn't sit well with me, and in time, I realised I have to believe in what I'm marketing and the positive impact it has on people's lives in order to do my job well.
At first, I just thought, 'this is the way it is' or sometimes, in more extreme cases, 'have I picked the wrong career path?'.
For many years, I was on a mission to discover how to be 'me' and make my work meaningful and hopefully be successful in the world of marketing and PR.
On this journey, I read and watched content by Simon Sinek, Mark Schaeffer, Seth Godin, Adam Grant and many others I soon discovered I shared common values with.
Over time I realised I could do my best work when I was undertaking #meaningfulmarketing.
So, what exactly does meaningful marketing mean?
In the words of Seth Godin, I believe modern, meaningful marketing is based on empathy, humility and effectiveness.
- Empathy, because we understand marketing is for other people. We are doing this to help another human being make the change she/he seeks to make. Because we see the world through her/his eyes, not how we insist it be seen.
- Humility, because we don't have the right or the leverage to go steal permission and attention and grab people. We have to work with them.
- Effectiveness, because we only do things that work. If it's not working, we do something else. We are committed to a cycle of serving our market by bringing compelling stories and effective media to people who want to hear them.
By taking this approach, we start by asking ourselves the important questions: What promises are we making to our clients? What change are we seeking to make, and how can we help?
Another particular piece, worth sharing, because it is so simple and makes one 'nod yes, I agree' is written by Mark Schaeffer, and it's called themanifesto for human-centred marketing. This is an extract from his book Marketing Rebellion (which I really enjoyed); I have this extract printed and sitting on a shelf in my office to serve as a daily reminder.
Over the past few years, there has been more focus on meaningful marketing. I find it so refreshing and welcome it with open arms. For more progressive industries or business leaders, I think this approach may also be more so the norm.
As with every successful marketing concept, I believe it has to be labelled in one of several ways; meaningful, authentic or human-centred.
Although the word 'authentic' is wildly overused, what it stands for, along with meaningful and human-centred, still rings true for me.
Marrying this philosophy with a firm that genuinely lives its values is a perfect match. Finding my place with a heart-led firm enables me to curate content and deliver outcomes that align with making a positive difference in the lives of others, and for me, this is really meaningful.It feels good to be promoting what we do so that people can find us when they need us most.
In future, I hope this approach will be known as 'marketing', but for now, it's important to me to highlight the distinction.
If you're interested in chatting past, future and present trends or anything marketing or branding related, please reach out.
We are on the home stretch for 2021, and when I launch into 2022, I will endeavour to continue this approach with an even stronger sense of purpose.
"Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it."
Dr Maya Angelou