How I became an Internal Marketing specialist
Internal marketing – all about leveraging what you already have, so that you don’t run around like a hairy chicken chasing the rainbow of “the unknown customer”. That’s not an Oxford definition by the way. That is a Nicola Mercer definition.
Have you ever been in a situation where you knew you were in the right place at the right time? I wonder sometimes whether fate decided that I would be the entrepreneurial type, rather than the corporate-focused good employee that I had always been.
Straight out of university, with a Bachelor of Physed no less, I went straight into civil service and started my career in Health Promotion. This was a fascinating vocation as my first job, as it is all about changing behaviours that people really don’t want to change. My two areas of responsibility were Road Safety and Women’s Health. Obviously so inter-related (not!) that the approaches taken for each were wildly divergent. I learnt some valuable lessons. The language, tone and forum to speak effectively to women about health issues would not be the same language, tone and forum that I might select to get my message across to 16 year old males who have just earnt their drivers license (and “license to kill and be killed” back then!).
Following the corporate and promotions career path that every good educated individual would choose, I then headed to a bigger town (Wellington) and a bigger job (Service Promotion Officer) at Wellington City Council. Wow. Again, eye-opening. I worked in the Environmental Control Business Unit, of which the primary function was “permissions”. That is, if you wanted to build a home, you needed consent. Similarly, if you wanted to light a bonfire, you needed consent. This business unit covered permissions that covered development right through to dog ownership – and the team members of this large unit were predominantly male, and predominantly ex-tradie. Generally these gorgeous folk were not good with people, the written word, or “management”. Being a young smarty-pants not long out of university could have been a problem. I looked around and saw that the information for the public was poorly written, photocopied to within an inch of being legible, with 16 different versions (depending on which officer was using it) and it was ugly. Builders do not design brochures. I quickly learnt, however, that builders are incredibly knowledgeable, practical, and concerned about the welfare of their permit applicants (even if they didn’t show it), and that I would never understand all of that stuff about “height control planes” etc and so on. I COULD however, make these fabulously talented people LOOK like fabulously talented people. It’s all about content and design peoples!