To be a Marketer requires pro-active, organized and creative strategies. The same can be said for being a parent. I am the mother of two beautiful, young children. They are center of my universe and what inspires me every day.
But parenting, like Marketing, is challenging. It takes a lot to keep up with the fast-paced environment. Actually, working as a Marketer and becoming a first-time parent only five, short years ago, I recently came to the realization that in many ways my work life parallels my home life. I am surprised how the skills I utilize everyday as a Marketer might have very well helped to prepare me for parenthood. Here is what I have found to be the same in both Marketing and Parenting worlds:
- Multi-Tasking: This is the be-all, end-all survival method for both office and home. To accomplish anything as a Marketer you have to know how to multi-task. It should be your number one skill set in order to accomplish multiple, daily tasks. Similarly, it too should be your number one skill set when raising children. Juggling tasks at home takes practice, but it soon becomes your means to peaceful existence.
- Managing Time, Schedules and Deadlines. It is amazing how many things transpire in one day in the world of Marketing. And managing them all takes flexibility, adjusting time and reevaluating processes on a whim. At home, things are the same way. You never know what will pop up. Forget about getting anywhere on schedule with young children. In my house, the reality of it is this…my time is not my own. Never mind my schedule; I am at the mercy of two others’. And often, their idea of how things should be done conflicts with mine, so flexibility is a must.
- Planning and Forecasting. As Marketers in the AEC industry, we constantly ask, “Is it a Go? Or No Go?” Or, “How will this decision affect us down the road?” The industry has its trends and is highly competitive. It involves multi-levels of planning and forecasting. As a parent, we plan and forecast, but in a much simpler way. Often, it is ‘off the cuff’ and occurs in the middle of Target, like forecasting issues with time…so plan on avoiding the toy section while quickly picking up a few household items.
- Storytelling: Being Marketers, we tell a story. We present our clients with who we are, where we have been, what we have learned, and how we can help them. As parents, we continue telling stories. When our children are young, we read and discuss with them the morals of childhood books so they learn important lessons. As they grow older, we tell them stories of who were are, where we have been, and what we have learned to help them avoid making our mistakes.
- Creativity and Development of New Ideas. In Marketing, what works for one client, doesn’t always work for the other. Additionally, as Marketers we always want to set ourselves apart from our competition and provide our customers with what they require to meet their goals. This takes creativity, customization and the development of new ideas to stay competitive and maintain the relationship. As parents, with the first child we think we have it down. But when the second one comes along, what once worked is no longer a viable solution. This unexpected monkey wrench encourages us to get creative again and develop new ideas to satisfy their needs as well.
- It Takes a Village: Marketing involves teamwork. It takes a strong, dynamic team to bring in the leads, develop a quality proposal and bring home the win. It involves participation from various levels of the organization, various departments and support all around. Raising a child definitely takes the support of a village as the old proverb emphasizes. It is a communal effort involving teamwork from other family members, neighbors, teachers, etc.
- Maintaining the Brand: Branding is essential to a company’s identity. And maintaining the brand is essential for a company’s success and longevity. As parents, we hold our families to certain standards. We keep family traditions and we try our best to instill values that our children will carry with them for the rest of their lives. We want them to become individuals and be the best they can be. We also want them to hold on to the past in hopes that it guides them into the future. Ultimately, we strive to maintain our family brand.
- The Big Wins! Although not really a skill, it is still an important part in both worlds. In marketing, there is always a great sense of accomplishment and success when you get that Big Win. Additionally, it is always nice when the blood, sweat and tears of parenting pay off too. Your reward… that awesome smile on your child’s face.
About the Author: Tina Anthoney is the Federal Marketing Manager at S. M. Wilson & Co. and has 17 years of industry experience. Tina earned a B.A. in Sociology from Loyola University and a B.S. in Web Design and Interactive Media from The Art Institute. She currently serves on the SMPS Communications Committee.