What’s the point?
1989 – Berlin Wall comes down
1990 – Nelson Mandela released from prison
1992 – Text messaging starts
1993 – Adam graduates from Leeds Metropolitan University
1994 – Amazon founded
1998 – Google founded
2001 – World Trade Centre Terrorist Attacks
2003 – Saddam Hussein Captured
2004 – Facebook founded
2005 – YouTube founded
2006 – Twitter founded
2007 – Apple debuts the iPhone
2008 – Barack Obama becomes US president
2009 – WhatsApp starts
2010 – Instagram & Pinterest founded
2011 – Snapchat founded
2012 – Facebook buy Instagram
2014 – Facebook buy WhatsApp for $19bn
2016 – Instagram Stories begins
2017 – TikTok launched outside of China
2020 – COVID19 pandemic strikes
There have been some significant events and developments over the past 30 odd years. One that maybe, just maybe, doesn’t stand out is my graduation from university. Graduation is rather an exaggeration in this case. More of a limp conclusion to three years of indifferent and often negligible study culminating in me looking a proper charlie in a cap and gown, clutching a scroll that I had no right to be displaying. My degree was in Economics and Public Policy. Not really a subject that has marketing written all over it I think you would agree.
What if I had dreamt of being a marketing professional from the age of 5? Instead of making mud cakes and playing army, I had already begun drafting press releases and handing out crayoned business cards. I had no intention of being anything to do with the marketing world, at any age. It kind of just happened. My career ambitions lurched from pub landlord (hastily dismissed as I liked beer FAR too much and would have drank all the profits), naval officer (also hastily dismissed due to my fear of deep water and a non too happy relationship with confined spaces), an English teacher (mainly driven by a love for Robin Williams in Dead Poet’s Society – and still something of an ambition). But let’s just say for the sake of argument that I knew exactly what I wanted to do as a career for the rest of my life.
I would have been studying marketing at some prolific university, not spent all my time in the Student Union, obsessively listening to The Levellers, James and The Smiths but instead studying the buying habits of consumers, worked as an intern at a marketing agency and then headed out into the professional world, some sad parody of a Mad Men character but loving life having found and realised my vocation. My campaigns would prove legendary and spawn many imitators, all envious of the marketing guru (hate that word) that was Adam Whittaker.
In reality I love my role in the marketing world today. I still, from time to time, look at short term contracts that may help pay the mortgage but also spark my interest. So many of them stipulate that a marketing degree is essential to the application. I don’t have one as we have already established. But what if I had? What value would it hold in the modern world. Marketing in 1993 was very very different from 2020. I would know all the Ps, the marketing mix blah blah blah but what would it mean and more importantly, why would it matter?
When I graduated in 1993, Mark Zuckerberg was 9. In my lectures in Leeds no one would ever have predicted the effect one man would have on marketing and the world in general. As we (if I’d been studying marketing remember) were discussing Coca-Cola and how the power of the brand turned Santa green to red, we would never have contemplated how mobile phones, Google, Facebook and the rest would revolutionise communication.
The evolution of marketing moves as rapidly as the evolution of technology itself. When I have 1 to 1s with business owners now, some of the marketing principles may still hold true but the essence and logistics of marketing changes on a day to day basis. As COVID19 keeps us indoors, marketing is a very different animal than it was 8 weeks ago, than it was during the September 11th atrocities, than it was under Obama compared to Trump.
As I approach my 4th birthday as a self employed marketing consultant, I’d like to think I have built a decent business, mainly by adapting but keeping certain principles at the heart of what I do. I do often wonder how different life may be if I had done that marketing degree.
If you need any help with your marketing during the current crisis or you need to chat about how your marketing strategy may need to change contact me