It’s taken me a couple of months shy of a year to do this. But after several trusted associates and mentors begging me to, and me declining, I had an epiphany today. Not of my own, but thanks to a very lovely prospective client.
You see, I’m really not one for shameless self-promotion – especially in the digital space. On a personal level, I abhor selfies and selfie videos in particular. I’ve worked with people who shamelessly promote themselves, and I know how others talk about it – not very positively.
As a marketer, I’m all about brand. But here’s where my business journey becomes tricky. What if you are your brand? Ok, so if your brand carries your own name – do it. Take Neil Patel (one of my virtual heroes). He uses himself in all of his digital content. I don’t find it offensive because it’s structured and educational with a definite message. It’s not a video for the sake of a video with a ‘hey look at me shaking my booty just cause I can’. Rather, there is a very cohesive message and something to be learnt – normally quite technical. It works.
I’ve seen too many other people who post videos and selfies, just for the sake of being seen and heard and not having anything really useful to say. And to be honest it makes me throw up in my mouth a little.
My brand does not carry my name either, so I thought I could get away with being all brand online and me offline. This is something I’ve really struggled with in terms of digital marketing content, since becoming an entrepreneur. Good friends, business associates and even my mentors have told me to swallow my pride and, to coin a hackneyed phrase, ‘just do it’ (sorry Nike). I also hate the blurry fuzzy lines people create when they just 'put it all out there' - if your brand is your given name, you have to be VERY careful with the perception you create. So I have kept a solid divide between me and Magpie in the digital space. Finished and klaar.
And then today happened. I went to a meet-up of a virtual group of creative entrepreneurs. Some familiar faces and some new. That’s when the gong was struck - LOUDLY. One of the women at the meet said ‘Ooooooooh are YOU Magpie Marketing????' (cue blushing and me feeling the size of a troll doll). She went on, 'I’ve looked everywhere to find out who owns this business and found nothing! I really need help and was wanting to use Magpie, but when I couldn’t put a person to the company, I gave up.’ And therein lies my lesson.
People want to connect with people. I know I have a kickass visual brand (thank you SimonSays), my website is not the flashiest around, but it looks good and does what it says on the tin, and my social media presence, whilst it needs some improvement and more dedication (caveat - I'm so busy working on clients' stuff, I haven't done enough of my own), is ok. I also know that I’m really good at relationship building – something which I used to build a marketing-technical career.
I have been wondering what the hell is missing in my business in this first year of trading. And to today I got the answer as clear as a clanging bell (which leaves your ears ringing). The answer – ME.
So here I am. This is me. Beverley Venter (MCIM). Ok the MCIM bit is a bit bolshie, but that’s my qualification – Member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (which I should, but haven’t, traded on). I’ve a long history in corporate marketing, product management and client relationship management, in the UK and South Africa. I studied Fine Art and Marketing Communications (not together, but FA was a 'starter marriage')
I talk a lot. Like a lot a lot. Like, you have no idea. Don’t even get me started after a couple of glasses of red. But there’s a good reason – I talk a lot only about things that I’m passionate about – family, ideas, strategy, marketing, ideas, ideas, ideas (you think I’m an idea’s person??). I can write even better than I can talk. I’m creative (and not just good at drawing Trolls for my kid to colour in). I can work with numbers and plans and strategies. I’m analytical – to an annoying fault - just ask my friends and family! I can see things in my mind’s eye that others can’t.
Ok I’m shamelessly self-promoting here and vomiting a little in my mouth. But. You want a marketer who can sell themselves on and offline, don’t you?