Does Being a Parent Make You a Better Marketer?
At The CMO Club Awards, I received the President’s Circle award. To be a member of the CMO Club, one has to be a CMO or head of marketing as I am at my company, Unique Photo. Lots of industries recognize their best at these kind of functions. I could be glib about winning this award, except the truth is, that receiving this award was a huge deal for me personally. There was a time I never thought I’d be a creative person again.
I became a single parent of five children (ages 18 months through 8 years old) when their mother left us permanently in 1996. I vividly recall the enormous pressure that placed me under. I went through periods of low creativity and the marketing block that went with it. I was struggling just to survive. The free flowing creativity marketers need to have was just obliterated in me. I did not suffer from a lack of productivity, since God has graced me with copious amounts of mental and physical strength and five children who relied on me to provide for them.
So on the day I became a the sole parent of my five little kids it was like getting the job as CMO of an established mid-size company which had an ugly brand image, staff members which had no idea what to do, a completely disorganized work environment, no plan for increasing productivity, a minuscule ad budget and all it had to be taken care of rapidly or I would lose my job. Sound familiar to any of you out there?
The urgency I felt when my own children were suffering, unproductive and unhappy was greater than keeping my own job. This was a real creative problem unlike anything I knew before because the solutions are not linear. I had significant problems occur every day. They had to be solved. It wasn’t like I could turn them over to my managers. We talk about and know the difficulties in managing a labor force in business. But children are a force with an even greater demand for management.
As example – my son Zak: After his mom left he was severely traumatized and stopped speaking and interacting for years. His behavior was at times wild and almost uncontrollable. Many thought he had ADHD. I got advice from all over the place what to do from drugs to boarding school. The solution that came to me was putting him in travelling, competitive soccer when he was eight years old. He acquired discipline by having to run and train hard several hours a day, he learned to relate to his teammates and coach and gain the experience of competition and what was required to win. In High School he was an all-state player and won the NJ state championship with his team. Today he manages the largest camera store in New Jersey. Mine.
That’s a nonlinear solution which required the kind of creativity excellent marketers need to have everyday.
How has being a parent made you a better marketer?
Categories: Business & Social Media, Parenting & Fatherhood
Congratulations on the President’s Circle award!
Zak grew into a wonderful young man, we enjoy his company and compassion a lot. And look at him manage the store in such a short period of learning.
Being a parent definitely made me some sort of a marketer. I’m not sure if the word “better” applies here though :). You had million times more pressure to succeed.
Thank you irisciaphoto. Better comes in all measures, but better is better. It is interesting to realize how similar teh skill sets are in many ways.
I think it’s a two-way street–well at least for me since I believe I was a good marketer before my son was born.
To be a good marketer, you are thinking about the future and have to have vision. You have to always be thinking about the future threats to your market and opportunities while assessing your company’s strengths and weaknesses (SWOT).
As a parent, if you are thinking about your child in the same way you can play to their strengths-ones they may not even know they have. You can help them defend and strengthen their weaknesses and give the extra care needed. You can help them see their opportunities but at the same time, you always point out the threats and danger ahead.
Clearly you will give your child(ren) the best future when you share your gift of vision and help them learn how to see ahead and not get bogged down in the struggles they may be having.
I think you have it exactly right, I would just add that as a parent you have the obligation to do a SWOT analysis on your children daily and you should guide them to find their strengths.