I do - and have done - lots of different things. I won’t list them all here, but the two that you’ll need to know about for the next two minutes are: 1) I was a Marketing Director who hired/fired lots of agencies, 2) I’m a beekeeper.
Being a beekeeper means you end up with honey. Having honey means folks want you to enter honey competitions. Being me, I thought I’d make friends with a honey judge to get the low-down on how best to succeed. I wasn’t expecting what he told me to be reminiscent of hiring an agency, but one key part of his approach was familiar territory…
So, you’re now a honey judge. In front of you are 20 jars of honey (40 actually – competitors need to provide two identical samples). As a judge are you going to taste all 40? No, of course you’re not; honey is lovely, but not that lovely (like attending a beer festival – after 10 pints your taste buds stop working, hate you, and want to go home for a nice cup of tea and a lie down).
What a honey judge does is find small (really small) excuses to not bother tasting your honey at all. Before doing anything, he is looking to eliminate non-contenders without even touching a jar. Do your two samples not have exactly the same amount of honey? YOU’RE OUT! When you open the jar is there any honey on the inside of the lid? YOU’RE OUT! Do the two samples appear even slightly different when viewed through the honey grading glasses (I’m not making this stuff up by the way)? YOU’RE OUT!
I could go on, but you get my point: when choosing from lots of apparently similar options, the first act is to make life easier by quickly getting rid of options you know don’t stand a chance to begin with. SO DON’T BE THAT OPTION!
I’ve had days where many agencies were invited in to pitch for our business one after the other. Those with inflexible methodologies… those with ‘quirky’ MDs who impose their will on everything… those who chose to do their presentations on hand-chalked easels… those who CAN’T USE APOSTROPHES… you’re all just making it too easy for me to cut my options down to a more manageable size.
Show your talent, show your work, show your ability to listen… make it really tough for me to choose between you and the next agency. As long as you can avoid the ‘easy filter’ you stand a chance. Now all you have to be is really really good.