A bad day in Marketingsville

It’s that time of year again.

Everyone is away on holiday and tumbleweed blows through the empty streets of Marketingsville.

Suddenly they arrive, out of the shadows – the ones I will not name, who’ve realised that life will return to normal soon and they need to ‘do some marketing’.

Then there are the chaotic ones who’ve been told to ‘get things sorted’ by their superiors  and realise that time is running out.

“What’s your availibility for the next two months?” they cry, and “Can you come in for a meeting with a fully worked up proposal tomorrow afternoon?”

“Sure” says the Marketer, dusting off the old Stetson and preparing the Smith and Wesson for some marketing action, “Can you tell me exactly what it is you’re looking for?”

“Well,” they say, smiling into the phone “We’ve got this new brand we need to communicate/event we need putting together/pdf file we need to create/website we need writing, and we’ve scribbled some ideas down.

I’ll email them to you at the very last minute this evening. You weren’t planning on going anywhere, were you?”

The Marketer sits back and sighs.

“No, pardner. I’ve got all the time in the world. I’ve just been waiting for your call. What’s your budget?”

“We’ll talk about that tomorrow.”

The Marketer works into the night  whilst the other citizens of the one horse town enjoy themselves in the local saloon, knocking back the tequila.

He travels to his destination next day, hot and dusty but knowing he’s doing a good job.

“Fantastic!” the shadowy ones say,

“Can you do lots of research around it/write the copy/commission the designers/do all the leg work.  We’ll sort out a contract for you.”

What can the Marketer do?

He gets on his horse and rides the rough terrain.

There’s no brief. He writes one.

There’s no clear budget. He works in a vacuum.

The time scale is ridiculously tight. He rides through the night, getting his rancheros together to deliver the goods.

“Great!” say the shadowy ones “Now we just need to get your contract and the budget approved”.

So the Marketer waits for the stage coach  to arrive, visiting the telegraph office every day, polishing his saddle and wondering how he’ll respond to other offers of work; should he take them, or devote himself to the shadowy ones, who say:-

“You are available still, aren’t you?”

And then they have the budget meeting.

The inevitable happens.

The Marketer is told that he wasn’t ‘approved’; that the shadowy ones think they want something else now; that they’ve had a cheaper quote.

So he gets on his horse and rides into the sunset, cursing himself for having a sense of urgency, while the shadowy ones have endless meetings and still aren’t sure what they want.

He sends in his invoice and puts it down to experience, riding through forgotten canyons where the bones of worn out  marketers lie bleached in the desert sun.

And as he rides away the desert rings with their ghostly cries:-

“Please, please write a brief, allocate a budget and get them approved before you ride into town, looking for The Marketer.”


Click on the link below to help you next time you meet The Marketer.

Briefing document







About Philippa

Philippa Cowley-Thwaites is a no-nonsense South Londoner with a passion for communications. Since graduating in English from London University in 1983 she has established herself as an expert communicator for a variety of brands in the private, public and voluntary sector with great success – she’s one of the best business writers in the business.

Leave a comment