I’ve had an opportunity to reflect recently about what I feel I have learned since entering the industry.
I had a realisation about the value of instinct. Something that we can be quick to try and avoid, feeling it could mislead us, but it can and usually does provide a valuable foundation to build upon (note – CAN!!).
At an APG strategy course I attended in June, there was an afternoon dedicated to military strategy techniques. Now based on traditional marketing nonsense, I should have read the Art of War, constantly discuss how I can ‘target’ a demographic and have a general aspiration to be a marketing sergeant. Uhhh…nope! No idea. Clueless. Every bit of military terminology in this session was alien to me.
We were given a huge amount of literature and tasked with creating a strategy to overcome a genuine issue that arose in the early 1990′s for British, American and French forces. It involved limited personnel, but lots of different options in terms of approach and a huge amount of variables and resources at our disposal – along with a shed load of military terminology to explain each one.
I was blank.
Information overload matched with a complete lack of understanding around the military left me completely lost.
This was rather liberating.
It provided an appreciation of what we as marketers, and planners especially, can undervalue.
An innate capability or aptitude (free online dictionary definition #3).
We have an underlying understanding that allows us to grasp something new using previous experiences, whatever that may be (often completely unrelated to work).
It is only when instinct fails us that we appreciate the value it brings each day to what we do.
It should never be the sole basis for an idea, but it gives you a lead to investigate, even if it’s just gut instinct (often the most consistent for producing brilliance).
This is far from a big revelation, but working in the technology marketing sector, consistently having to learn about new, innovative products; you realise how much instinct plays in creating an initial hypothesis that is usually worth investigating that little bit further to see if it fails before writing it off.