Memories of the Ploughing.

As I reach for a Lemsip I smile and think yes here it is my annual Ploughing Championships cold.

I used to blame the Championships for my annual sniffles, the stress of the busiest time of year. Will our clients’ leaflets get there? Will the signage all be the right way up? Would the many different promotional items arrive in time and be printed in the right branding colours, would we ever find a parking space?

For those of you who don’t know what the Ploughing is you may be picturing a quaint scene in rural Ireland with a few tractors, which is part of it, but now supersize that to include everything from a Céilí to a fashion show and try to visualise the fact that on the opening day yesterday they welcomed 91,500 people through the gates!

Forget Glastonbury, the Ploughing championships is Europe’s largest outdoor event and if you do the full 3 days you will feel like you have been to Glastonbury twice.

It must be the only place you can watch a ploughing competition, get a fake tan, and buy a new hat and a tractor, as well as getting countless goody bags and your fill of ham sandwiches. I will never forget the haunted face of the man at the Denny tent wiping the sweat off his brow as he produced yet another cooked ham to be devoured by a group of fifty children who descended like locusts.

Another memory is the lady on the tannoy, narrating the day’s events and news in real-time, “Michael is here at the lost children’s tent looking for his parents Michael Senior and Bridget, he is dressed in cords and a navy jumper and he tells me he is sixty years of age, but sure you are always someone’s child.” Also, I had heard the phrase tyre kicker, but at the Ploughing I saw it in action, people actually do kick tyres.

Who goes to the Ploughing?  Everybody, families, kids, farmers of course, politicians’, Agricultural firms, in fact, any business that is in any way connected to the countryside all gather together to showcase their wares and enjoy what is usually the tail end of the summer sunshine.  

It’s been at least 7 years since I went to the Ploughing and it is back this year for the first time in 3 years after Covid, so I have to admit my September cold can’t really be blamed on the Ploughing but for me, Lemsip, golden sunshine and a ham sandwich will always conjure up memories of the  Ploughing Championship. For all of you exhibiting and attending I hope the sun stays shining and that you have the best time, and for those of you doing the full three days I salute you!

Photo by Lomig on Unsplash

Marketing Views

This agency won’t eat itself.

What do I mean by eat itself? Whilst there are great agencies out there with strong cultures creating stellar work for their clients, there are also a lot of agencies that are made up of a handful of employees and a loose band of freelancers.

These freelancers roam from project to project selling their time and expertise, but at the same time trying to resist the politics and time drains of meetings, constantly managing the conflict that happens when you are independent, but also being paid by the person who is hiring you.

The employees become increasingly specialist in their areas, they observe the freelancers resisting the corporate structure and yet still getting their slice of the project and profits. They have built up good relationships with clients and so eventually some of them think, what if I was to leave to roam the freelance savannah, taking my chances and building my own empire?

So, they leave and hire their own tribe of employees and freelance specialists, and there we have the circle of agency life.

Does it really matter? In my experience clients don’t care that much about the method once they get results, but this constant transition and conflict about who are you working for drains time and energy and distracts from the fact that the person you should be working for is the client. This energy could be better spent doing the work. Also, an agency may favour their own inhouse staff over specialist experts because they are salaried, but they may not be the best people for the task.

Clients also have valuable people inhouse and often have other trusted relationships with third parties that span years, there are people who have an in-depth knowledge of their company and systems and this knowledge can’t always be easily transferred, but the mindset of ‘winning the business’ isn’t always compatible with collaborating and working with the skills and expertise already present in the business.

A real growth mindset should be based on collaboration not competition, otherwise you run the risk of offering solutions that are biased, and not as effective or efficient as they could be.

What if companies could only hire the knowledge and skills that they need but still have the benefit and convenience of a single point of contact?

That is a question I asked myself, and it is why I have started Eskdale. Eskdale is a network of knowledge experts, we work with companies to come up with innovative solutions and then we partner with them to deliver.

We aim to be transparent and lean so you can get the best specialist help exactly where you need it.

If this sounds interesting to you contact me today to see how we can help you.