Three times my mum and my missus made me a better marketer

Let me set the scene….

It was a couple of years ago, when a fresh faced eager eyed bachelor from the small market town of Selby was in the pursuit of love.

After a promising first encounter, the handsome boy persuaded the fair maiden to go on a second date, this time in the historic city of York.

After a few beers and a walk around the Christmas market it was decided that a visit to Evil Eye (possibly the greatest cocktail bar in the city) was a must, and the perfect way to finish the romantic day out.

However, since the boy was me, and given my terrible sense of directions (not helped by the amount of beer I had consumed) I couldn’t remember the way to the bar, and, as such, risked ending the date on a terrible low.

Never one to give up I grabbed my mobile and simply said ‘OK Google, where is evil eye’ to which a map appeared on my phone and took me to my chosen destination. The then girl (now my fiancé) looked at me like I had crapped on the floor and said ‘ Urghhhh as if you’re one of those who talks to their phones’

Fast forward to present day…

I head downstairs to see my fiancé asking Google for where the best restaurants in our town are. Not only that, we now have Alexa, who is the most used piece of tech we have in the house.

This was just the one of the times a non-marketer had helped me become a better marketer by showing just how fast voice search has progressed.

Voice search is no longer classed as ‘uncool’ or ‘geeky’. In fact recent Google research shows that 57% of young people use voice search in front of their friends meaning there is no stigma surrounding the function.

The second example was earlier this year. Myself and my partner went on a long weekend break to Paris. Prior to the trip she must have watched at least 30 YouTube videos on things to do and places to eat in the city. It made me realise that any campaign I produce needs to offer much more than just links or content, it needs to answer real questions, and answer them in a way that people will engage with.

Buzzsumo, is a great tool which allows you to see what content styles get the highest level of engagement. For example, when looking for ‘things to do in Paris’ we can see that a list feature is the most engaged content style and therefore should be considered in your strategy:


My final example of how I have used my friends and family’s behaviour to better my campaigns is when I asked my amazing Mother some simple marketing questions. I noted the questions and answers below:

What would you do if you were looking to eat in a restaurant near where you currently were?

“I would go on the internet and pop in restaurants near me”

What research did you do before booking your latest holiday?

“I decided where I wanted to go and then looked up the destination and things to do based on reviews”

What do you use social media for?  

“Looking up holidays and information on things like businesses and restaurants”

What is my job title (I did this one just for fun!)

“I haven’t got a clue! Are you the manager of media?”

Apart from my mother believing i run the whole media, her insight was useful. Reviews are now a must for any company no matter how small or large.

Running social listening and staying on top of the way people perceive you is crucial to success. People are using more than just forums and TripAdvisor for reviews. A recent article in the Telegraph explains how food reviewers now prefer Instagram over TripAdvisor.

Personally, I’m not sure how much I believe the above stat but that’s not the point. The point is there will always be new channels for people to review and search on, and you must stay on top of each one, ensuring you have a tailored strategy for each.

To develop as a marketer, we need to continually monitor the way people behave and consume media. The easiest way to do this is to simply check in with friends and family who preferably don’t work within marketing. If you’re producing a campaign, test it out on them, see if they would share it, see if it makes them do what you want it too.

I watch the way my family and friends engage with brands and tech to give me the understanding of how my clients customers will react to campaigns that myself and my team are producing. This insight not only helps make the campaign a success, but, ultimately, make me a better marketer.

Massive thanks to my Mum and Missus for the inspiration to write the above – you’re both legends!