My father is in his late 70’s. He is dyslexic and consequently didn’t do well at school. The majority of his working life was spent in sales roles. After a short spell of national service he became an estate agent, he spent time running a coffee shop and then went to work at Woolworths. He worked his way up from stock room boy at a store in Bognor Regis to store manager at a large store in east London. He then spent time selling double glazing, insurance and kitchens.
He has never really retired. Him and my mother help run a community gym in the small town where they live in the north of England. One of my fathers roles – along with gardening, is to apply for grants for new equipment. He has been very successful at this, he writes a powerful and well thought out application and has managed to generate a lot of funding. He also manages to get his picture in the paper on a regular basis alongside an article promoting the gym.
He manages to do this despite never had any marketing or PR training, he knows instinctively what to do.
My background is in engineering. I am a qualified mechanical engineer who held several engineering roles before moving in to sales. After spending time in sales I moved to work in a pr agency and never looked back as they say.
I often hear it said that you cannot get an engineer to write in proper marketing communications language as they always want to write about the technical specs. Well I think I manage it. I have had formal marketing and PR training, but that was after joining the agency. I was writing press releases and articles before that. I have also worked with people who have had formal marketing communications training and still cannot seem to get an idea down on paper, in a way that can be easily understood. Maybe I just inherited some good genes.
So this brings me to my original question. Marketing communications – is it nature or is it nurture? Is it something that exists in people or can it be trained in? Are there some people who can just do it and some who will never be able to do it?
What do you think?