On the 23rd of February, I was invited to the Get Schmart Conference, in Sydney. Basically it encompasses, as they so aptly mentioned, Marketing: the art of strategy, creativity, social media and integration. Having qualifications and working for over five years in the marketing arena in several different industries, I was greatly anticipating what the conference would provide and excited at the opportunity to listen to and hear from the ‘heavy weights’ of the industry.
In all honesty, the sheer thought of an eight hour conference is a bit daunting, as, the reality of the situation is, sitting in a room for that long, absorbing a constant stream of information can be exhaustingly trying on even the most disciplined of people (in fact one of the speakers actually mentioned that adults have an active attention span of only 110 seconds). However, all in all, the conference was engaging, innovative, very relevant, thought provoking and extremely insightful. I fear that may be too many adjectives, but it is the honest truth.
Throughout the conference, I found myself nodding in agreement, considering the application of the information being presented to my own situation, or forming questions to mention during the question and answer sections. These three ideal participant responses are, to be perfectly frank, all too frequently difficult for a marketing conference to achieve, because of the obvious risk of being described as “well that is all good and well for you to say those things in theory up on a podium, but putting it into practice is just not possible, hence this presentation completely useless” is highly prominent.
One thing that I particularly enjoyed was the tweeting and use of twitter during the conference. There were large projector screens set up at the venue, and a hash tag established, so you could tweet information and questions about the conference, in real time. You could even directly address the speaker, which I found a real useful tool. I signed up for twitter that morning and ran my battery completely dry making comments, posing questions, and forming my own conclusions, which other attendees would interact with, replying, retweeting and referencing. It was such a positive contribution to the meeting, as it really encouraged live, simultaneous discussion to run parallel to the speakers, whilst providing a direct example of utilising social media at the same time.
Whilst I won’t go into detail with each individual speaker, overall, their topics blended together well and I felt that each had their own field of expertise to contribute to the overall message, which left me with a beneficial aggregate message upon the conference’s conclusion. By this I mean, for example, social media is absolutely dominating the internet and marketing strategies, but it truly is the proverbial ‘sand slipping through the fingers’ scenario- i.e.: no one truly understands it’s power and scope, especially as it changes so rapidly. The speakers chipped away at the complexity of the beast that is social media, and I found that their insights, real examples and discussions allowed me to piece together and grasp an appreciation of how marketing, as a function, needs to react and take advantage of this phenomenon in order to utilise it effectively and efficiently in a corporate world. Naturally, their messages were heavily boosted by the large, extravert personalities one would expect from a marketing professional, which made the conference, over all, enjoyable and truly educational.
Thank you to PMP Limited for hosting such a great conference, and I look forward to next year.
"Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life"- JK Rowling.
I am a writer: I write music, copy, lyrics, novels, blogs and articles. Hence why I believe myself to be a creative person, which comes with its amazing ups and frustrating downs. Often, inspiration needs to be spurred, and so I often turn to other successful writers to learn from them and their experiences, in order to focus and enlighten my own.
The Trend Of Creativity
There is a continually repeating theme I keep noticing amongst successful, creative professionals, and it's the fact that some of their best work came from a time when their lives were, in their view, seemingly at their lowest. This 'rock bottom' appeared to give them the ability to shut out all distractions and focus on making a piece of work that transcended just putting words on a page.
JK Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series, is by far, one of the best examples of this. I watched quite a few interviews with the infamous writer, who really epitomises a true 'rag to riches' story. For those who do not know, whilst Rowling began to write the first Harry Potter novel, she was an unemployed, single parent in England, stuck in a situation she describes in her Harvard Commencement Speech, 2008, as "poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain without being homeless." What she said next is what struck a chord with me. She highlighted the importance of these low points and failures, saying, "failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded in anything else I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena that I believed I truly belonged. I was set free."
"Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life" summed up her entire argument, and now, mine as well. It seemed to be this struggle that made the escapism of writing all so much more important, and this struggle appears to give the writer's creation more passion. For example, Rowling explains that she always intended to have the books begin with Harry Potter's parents murdered, but she did not dwell on this, making their deaths fairly shallow at the first draft. However, she admits that the loss of her mother to the disease Multiple Sclerosis, six months in to writing the first book, made the death of Harry Potter's parents more real to her, and it was that deeper meaning in death that seemed to make the loss of his parents far more emotional to the reader through her 'emotionally charged' writing.
Another example that further illustrates this is the writer, Stephan Elliott, who, when I met him earlier this year, said that he wrote the film The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert during a brush with the law. He said that it was at this point in his life where "he has nothing else to loose" which freed him to really go for gold. In 2004, Elliot was also involved in a skiing accident, and was hospitalised for quite a few months; he accredits this experience with rediscovering his sense of humour, which reflected in several of his works past this date.
This is not at all to say that a good writer needs to experience a traumatising event in order to be successful, but I found it interesting that these two examples (and many more) give light to the possibility that, writing as a method of escapism could possibly be more potent if the author is actually trying to escape from a bad experience in their life.
Unfortunately, as Rowling noted, this rock bottom period of life is far from pleasant, and no one should ever relish in it or romanticise it in any way, which is definitely not my aim with this article. It is simply to highlight the old saying of "Write what you know"; experiences in a writer's life can often 'hit home' with their emotions as they write, triggering a greater foundation of passionate flare and creativity, providing the reader with a more in-depth experience, which they certainly notice as they become absorbed in the content. This, in turn, increases the reader's satisfaction in the story, as the reader becomes favourably lost in this pit of vented emotions intertwined in a plot, as opposed to a shallow tale.
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