Weekly Work Diary #4 – Using Agencies, CIM and Mobile World Congress

So like all good blog series’ that are for me and not my clients… it’s been a while! Anyone who knows me personally will know that the last four weeks have been pretty tough work wise as I transition out of one big project into another and try to keep all of the balls in the air at the same time! I’ve also started working with a personal trainer twice a week doing strength training which is a totally new domain for me and my poor aching quads, so both physically and mentally I’m feeling half at my peak, as I always am under pressure, and half like I could hibernate until Spring! But all that aside, here’s what I’ve been up to and thinking about this week.

Mobile World Congress 2017

On Tuesday I took my annual day trip to Mobile World Congress in Barcelona which is undoubtedly one of my favourite shows in the tradeshow sector! It’s an exercise in branding and the extent to which brands will truly go all out in order to create an amazing physical presence for their potential buyers.

Unlike most, my job there is to look at the marketing of the products and services on display rather than the actual products and services themselves. Here were the big trends: tons of event technology, used in the form of huge LED walls, VR theatres and stage sets, full use of space, sometimes to the detriment of clear messaging and of course, a great use of colour. Who else but T-Mobile could fill their entire stand with fuchsia pink and manage to pull it off? While Darkmatter (startup to watch) created a stand that nailed the transition of its security services into a physical space in that it was imposing, exciting and kind of brilliant. All in all a great trip, if only I’d had time to have more tapas than just a small plate of patatas bravas!

Mobile world congress review - Darkmatter

In-house marketing and using agencies

Part of my recent transition is moving away from getting caught up in doing the work, as in all of the work – the stuff that takes hours and hours of time but probably doesn’t need to be done by someone you’re paying a freelance rate. For example, managing the design of businesscards, tons of social media scheduling, uploading of blogposts and so on and so forth. But here’s the thing I’ve noticed; there’s a real lack of in-house marketers these days who actually know how to do the basics.

The stuff I take for granted, after years of ‘doing the work’ such as the best image dimensions for an in-feed photo on Twitter, or how to hashtag differently across Twitter, IG and FB, or even just what tools to use to schedule posts, seems to be missing from their repertoire.

In companies who are large enough to hire an agency to do most of the ‘graft’ work for them, it’s clear that the in-house marketers, even at a low level, have missed a trick in the marketing ladder.

Sure, this kind of stuff is time consuming and probably not as riveting as ‘big picture’ thinking but actually, as a marketer, regardless of whether you’re an intern or a consultant, I kind of feel like you should still know this stuff?

So this week I’m feeling grateful for always having to get my hands dirty and actually do the work, because despite being time-consuming, it’s been a blessing in disguise when it comes to the knowledge I’ve taken for granted that everyone knows. Turns out they don’t, their agencies do.

CIM: is it worth it?

I’ve been looking  into getting an official accreditation in marketing for a while now. Experience-wise, I think I’m good but I do find the odd person surprised when I say I’m in marketing without having a marketing degree. I’ve done a ton of short courses with CIM, General Assembly and more on SEO, social media, web management and so on so it’s not like I’ve been resting on my laurels (do people still use that phrase?). However, as someone with a serious case of imposter syndrome, I feel like a strong accreditation would help me learn more about the process and strategy behind marketing and will no doubt help my future and current projects.

So then the question has come down to IDM or CIM? IDM seems a little more fresh and is considerably cheaper (!) but I also can’t help feel that CIM is more industry recognised. The level 7 new CIM Marketing Leadership Programme which is the equivalent to a masters is probably my top choice, but at just under £8,000 it’s going to be a pretty big investment to self-fund. Some centres will let you break the payment down over 10 months but £800 a month on top of general expenses, mortgage, wedding savings and so on is still quite hefty!

Considerations ongoing… however if anyone has any insight into these types of courses I’d love to hear them! Let me know – beth@bethgladstone.com. I also found this post on IDM from Chloe super useful if anyone else is considering the same. What’s up Chloe!

Being London bound

I’ve now joined the great The Office Group which offers 18 locations lounges around London for freelancers to work in for £60 per month. As you can see, I’m a big fan of their business model and the fact that my home base is right next door to Liverpool Street’s McDonalds for all of those chicken nugget needs. Which means I’ll be spending a fair few more hours working in London going forward now I finally have a flexible base and don’t have to impose on EAT or Starbucks! If you’re in London too and fancy a coffee or a chat let me know – there’s some serious Instagram-worthy spaces I can now take you to!

Hit me up on Twitter – @bethgladstone