The professionalism equation: cut crap, rate yourself, reap rewards

I do a lot of those ‘standing up the front, waving my arms around with slide presentation’ things. People are generally quite nice and give you a little clap at the end and then you get cheese and wine. It’s all very pleasant. However, my sensibilities were a little bit shaken the other day when a well-meaning smug suit stood up at the end of my presentation, addressed the audience and said: “Everything Courtney said is just a suggestion. There’s no best way really.” How very post-modern. And undermining. Punk.
I certainly don’t expect a round of Obama fistbumps every time I open my mouth, but where does this leave our profession and craft? If everyone is an expert then there’s no reason for the industry to exist.

No wonder marketing and communications people hit their head at general manager of marketing and will never get any higher into the executive suite or boardroom in most big New Zealand companies. No wonder a lot of company executives still think the marketing industry is made of bullshit artists in black rimmed glasses and Chuck Taylors.

The standard Friday night moan of marcomms folk is that people expect them to do a lot of work for free. It’s true but only because we’re stupid enough to let it happen. How many times have you been to a lawyer or accountant without getting a bill afterwards? An hour of selling you an accounting package for $2,000 and then an itemised invoice for every six minutes of ‘professional advice’. It’s the same undercurrent that fuels the ‘expert from out of town’ mentality of New Zealand communications agencies.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for a bit of Fight Club and expert crowns shouldn’t be dished out like Fairplay awards. It’s business and I’m the first to crack skulls. Set the expectation. Cut the crap, rate yourself as a professional and people will learn to pay for it.

If we don’t take ourselves seriously as a profession then how can we expect other people to?

  • For more of Lambert’s marketing musings and other miscellaneousness, venture here.

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