Written by Yev Pusin
I was sent to CES, (Consumer Electronics Show) to do a bit of guerrilla marketing and PR work for my company. It all sounded great in theory, and I had spent the week prior to the show visiting my parents in Iowa. I had the time and was able to create the handouts, get everything ready, and pack it all up all in the few days leading up to my departure. What I did not take in to account was my awesome mother. She’s fantastic, and I love her dearly, but I really did think that my bags would be safe next to the car when I put them there. She was inside the house after-all.
Russians have a saying, and it has become our family motto, “I tried to make it better, but it turned out like it always does.” It loses a bit it in translation, but the gist is that whenever someone in my family tries to do good, it backfires and turns out like it always does (worse). In this case she was trying to move the car and make it easier for me to place my bags in it, not realizing my bags were already outside.
What does all this have to do with marketing? Well, have you ever had to recreate materials from scratch right before having to give a presentation? Have you ever not had enough extra materials, or didn’t have a printer available to create mass-scale copies? It’s no fun, and if you’re not super type-b like me, it can be stressful. So a few words of advice that might sound elementary:
- Always make extras. I would say enough to recreate 3/4 of whatever it is you are putting together. If it’s simple handouts, a few extra is fine, but if it’s an entire package with many parts that can go awry, the more extra copies the better!
- Give yourself extra time. I had planned on hand delivering these handouts in a city I wasn’t familiar with (Las Vegas). I was scrambling to recreate the broken handouts and figuring out the best routes to deliver them, it got complicated and a little frustrating.
- Make a plan. It’s good to have a backup plan (I do work for a backup company after all). Think of ways to “pivot” and do something quickly that would have a similar amount of impact. Preferably something you can throw together last minute if everything goes south.
- Take a deep breath. Everything going wrong? It’ll be OK. As long as it’s not life and death, you can regroup and carry on. If it is life and death, quickly (but calmly) create a Plan B.
- Give your mother some space. You have to love her, but maybe place your bags on the grass near the driveway, a place where the odds of her running over them are slightly lower.
So here’s to you creating a Plan B, and making extra copies. Give your mom a big hug next time you see her, she really does mean well (probably).