. . . I’m going to Marketing Week Live. Since my baby boy was born 10 weeks ago I have struggled to maintain interest in anything that doesn’t involve him and work has been the biggest casualty of this change. Stuff that used to enrage, fascinate or motivate me are now met with a steady ‘meh’ or a resigned shrug. This will not do. Tomorrow is step one in my loose plan to get my arse in gear and start remembering why I enjoy my job.
I’ve not been to an exhibition like this before as I have always felt the content is either too general to be useful or dominated by big brands. I work in higher education so finding out how McDonalds are going to sell us more burgers is never going to float my boat. My plan for the exhibition is quite vague but I want to hoover up as many tips, trends and promotional ideas as I can.
I have picked out some of the presentations I’d like to see but mainly I will be wandering round looking for interesting exhibitors. I may be leaving my natural cynicism at home and attempting to rediscover my inner marketer but there will be some people I will be trying to avoid.
- Any shiny suited zealots that take their product soooooo seriously. It’s not that important, trust me on this one.
- Anyone peddling data. They always seem shocked when I tell them I don’t need any data and endlessly re-phrase the same question as if I’m stupid.
- Anyone who calls themselves a ‘guru’. I don’t need to explain this one.
However I will be perfectly happy to talk to the following
- Exhibitors who show an understanding of what I do before launching into a pitch. Understanding my role isn’t rocket science so a little nod every now and then to show you ‘get it’ will always be appreciated.
- Anyone who realises the best way to sell to me is not to sell to me. I can make decisions by myself so please don’t feel you have to guide me all the way.
- Excitable creative types. I can’t help being drawn in by someone with a mind that won’t stay still.
Despite this being a working day I have already decided to dress down as I want to relax. This may mean I get ignored but anyone who judges me on my appearance deserves to fail. If you are going to be at the show then say hello and I will look out for you.
Starting this blog has reminded me of a post I wrote a few year back for the excellent ‘I Am Staggered’ website entitled ‘What’s Wrong with Weddings – A Groom Rants’. Even though I have been married for less than 3 years, this seems like a long time ago. I did enjoy reading it again and I’m not ashamed to admit that I laughed at my own jokes especially the bit about the Dulux dog.
Part of the reason why I started thinking about that post again is because before George was born I kept wondering if the day of his birth would be ‘the best day of my life’. I feel like putting a little ™ after that phrase as I seemed to hear it so often. I asked Dad friends their opinion and got a mainly positive but decidedly mixed reaction that left me no closer to the truth. How would it compete with my wedding day? I won’t go into details of the day George was born as that will probably become the subject of a separate post. In summary it was a day of worry, crushing helplessness and confusion spread over 40 hours without sleep. He is worth everything we went through but it will take a long time before I can look back at the day with anything other than horror.
In contrast I spent my wedding day driving around in a vintage car drinking champagne with a beautiful woman. Then we went to a party with my friends and family where I picked the music and everyone bought me drinks. Best Day of My Life™? No contest.
I was inspired to write this after reading an excellent blog post on finding out if you are ready to have a baby which included some excellent tips to help prospective parents achieve ‘actual baby readiness’. My favourite tip was to ‘practice wrestling a large, slippery fish three times a week’ – we laugh because it’s true. My first thought was to start a list of ‘Baby Readiness’ tips that other Dads could add to but then I realised I had very little advice to give. Instead I have written what I would like to say to myself before my baby was born I and maybe this will help some other ‘Dads to be’ reading this post.
Don’t worry so much about the big day – I thought very hard about the emotional and practical support I could give my wife the day she went into labour. I thought I could be a decisive, resourceful, well prepared and above all adaptable partner for her. In reality my preparations proved to be useless within half an hour of arriving at the hospital and I have never felt so helpless. It was like sending the two people you love most in the world – one of whom you haven’t met yet – into a car crash and sitting back to watch. It was over a week later before I found out that I had done everything my wife wanted me too. Merely sitting by her side and holding her hand made her feel like she wasn’t going through it alone and this was the most important thing I could do.
You won’t be able to prepare for the first moment you see your baby – I had also been preparing myself for the possibility of being disgusted by the sight of my baby after watching too many gruesome birth videos. I didn’t want the horror of clapping eyes on my blood and snot covered offspring to show on my face. The reality was love at first sight. I knew that most parents feel their child is the cutest, most adorable little bundle of joy but I had put this down to bias. When I first saw my son I only needed to use the evidence of my own eyes so see that he was the most beautiful baby the world had ever seen. Without a hint of bias I knew this was a cast iron certainty and any thought of managing my emotions flew out the window.
Assemble all baby equipment in private long before you need it – Despite the many claims of the manufacturers it does sometimes feel like you need an engineering degree to assemble the average ‘travel system’. A friend of mine tried to assemble his car seat at the hospital and was forced to endure a very public 20 minutes of graceless wrestling with his recalcitrant equipment. I side stepped this land mine but frequently leave everything until this last minute and end up assembling in the dark whilst desperately wishing toggle G would fit in slat F.
Get used to singing stupid songs – I break into song so frequently it is like living in an extremely low-budget musical. My baby addled mind reaches out and grasps the strangest songs leaving me to adapt them for the situation. Most disturbingly this frequently happens at nappy time and I find myself belting out such classics as ‘Saving all my poo for you’ and adapting ‘Moves like Jagger’ by Maroon 5 to become ‘poo like Daddy, you’re gonna pooooooooo like Daddy’. My latest inspiration hit while I was giving George some gripe water and before I knew it I was spinning round the kitchen singing ‘The Mayor of Brightwater’ which in my version was ‘The Mayor of Gripewater’. This is a song I learnt in my rugby days and it is no way fit for any sort of polite company so I really need to ditch it before George can learn the words. Learning the odd nursery rhyme or having a stock of Motown numbers could have really helped me.
That is all I can think of for the moment but please leave any extra suggestions in the comments box below.
For my first Father’s Day I wanted to set a precedent by insisting that no money was spent on a card or present for me. I will gleefully accept homemade cards and presents but I don’t want buying cards for me to become an unwanted chore for George in the future. I hope we can always find time to spend time together instead. My lovely wife has embraced this and on Sunday I received my first homemade card that she made with a little help from George. And yeah I did blub.
As this my first blog post I guess I should talk about my grand manifesto for this blog but the truth is I don’t have one. I know most blogs have some sort of theme and I would too if I could think of the right subject. All the good stuff has been done and I really don’t have the knowledge or commitment to be a specialist.
My reason for finally starting a blog is that I have recently become a Dad for the first time and there is nothing like bringing a new life into the world for stopping you in your tracks to re-evaluate your world. One of the things I have realised is how much I love my life and how happy I have become. I have the time to sit back, enjoy all the wonderful experiences that get thrown at me and realise that there is always time for biscuits. I can be quite grumpy and critical at times so I intend to be a positive as I can in this blog and talk about as many good things as I can. Let’s see how it goes.