Do you have a morbid fascination with the end?
I'm not sure why (but I'm pretty certain that a psychiatrist would love to figure it out of with me), but I often think about the end. I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm scared about how my life will end (which is in direct relation with the many issues I have around control) and that I don't want it to end any time soon. There are plenty more things that I want to accomplish in my life and I often play the "which would you rather game" when it comes to deciding between family and the rest of my life (in case you're wondering, family wins almost every time). Don't worry, this Blog post will not descend into the scary depths of our mortality. All of this leads me to wonder: "why do I do what I do?"
I discovered (mostly through trial and error) that I love the marketing world. I love working with brands and thinking about brands and tinkering with what they can do to connect (more honestly and powerfully) with their consumers. I look around on this flight that I'm on and I see people - from all walks of life - working in various occupations, and all of them are carrying a ton of technology on them. From smartphones and Kindles to iPads and laptops. I can't help but wonder and think about a time in the not-too-distant future when we're no longer carrying these devices around, but they are actually in us... a part of us (you know, sub dermal implants or brain activity activated... who knows?). As I was walking through the airport, I noticed that the current cover story for Wired Magazine is all about self-driving cars. It is these combined instances of science fiction catching up to reality that get me excited. It gets me thinking more about how much I love marketing, and it makes me hopeful that I'll be privileged enough to be alive long enough to see how we innovate from this very innovative moment in time that we currently find ourselves in.
So, what's all this talk about the end?
When I think about my career (or when I see other people thinking about their careers), it strikes me that even with goal setting and planning, it's usually a very shortsighted vision. Think about your current work situation. You're probably wondering about your next bonus or raise, your next step up the corporate ladder or that new business pitch that is just around the corner. Maybe, you're thinking about where you're going to be in the next five to ten years? But what about the end? Recently, I've been thinking about the evolution of marketing and the role that I want to have in it. It made me realize that I only have one true goal for myself in the marketing industry: longevity.
Longevity is key.
In thinking back, it was always there, but it wasn't something that I was able to verbalize or acknowledge until very recently. I want a career in marketing with longevity. Nothing less. In looking at the client work we do at Twist Image, this Blog, the Podcast, the Six Pixels of Separation business book and many of the things that make up my personal work - on a day to day basis - it's all about longevity. How many people do you know who started a Blog, a Facebook page, a LinkedIn community or many other things that they simply dropped or got bored with? Yes, there's a moment in time when you have to ditch what's not working or even disengage if the platform can no longer deliver economic value to your brand, but in general, I think most brands (and the marketing professionals who represent them) have very short-sighted and short-term goals and visions. This Blog has been around since 2003 and if I think back, I can recall saying to myself that the Internet Gods have given me a great gift to be able to publish without editors telling me what's good or bad and without massive costs to reach an audience. Not only did I commit to it as a platform that fit with our business goal, but I knew that I wanted it to have that longevity as well (sorry, I won't stop Blogging any time soon).
Tortoise of hare?
Longevity doesn't happen quickly. That doesn't mean that I don't put a tremendous amount of focus on creating a sense of urgency. I want stuff to get done (and yes, I like quick wins as much as the next person). The bigger thought here is that when you're focused on longevity (for both yourself, professionally, and the brands you represent), odds are that you're going to do a lot more critical thinking and ultimately, you will be putting things into the market with a much more solid foundation and expectation for outcomes. I'm starting to think about everything in terms of longevity and the value that comes with it.
What are you after?