Nice post from "Management Cartoonist" Tom Fishburne, on the need for all of us in marketing to get out of our offices into the real world. As Tom says,

"It's really easy for a marketer to only see the immediate stimulus
of the office around them.  There's such a steady diet of research
reports, agency reviews, focus group results, and internal meetings
that it's sometimes difficult to actually see the wider world.  You
start breathing your own exhaust.

Some of the wider activities of
the company (the factory, the sales team, the call center) can appear
as specks in the distance.  Even further away appears the world outside
the company, the retail shelves and actual consumers."

Picture 1

A couple of specific tips from Tom:

"1. Make the most of "brand virgins": get everyone to write down all of their thinking and insights about a brand before they
actually join a brand team.  Before they start parroting the same stock consumer archetype definitions and brand
promise statements.  That notebook of virgin observations becomes a
handy reminder to refer to later when you're fully embedded.

2. Spend as much time in the field as you can. But I don't mean the luxe Soho offices of the ad agency.  The real
observations of the brand can be found by stocking shelves alongside a
field sales rep, or talking to the store manager of a small Midwestern
grocery chain, or spending a few hours answering calls in the call
center, or putting on a hair net and hard hat and talking to a
production line engineer as the 4am shift starts.  All of those
activities can teach you a thing or two.  And all of them could become
marketing tactics.

3. Go on a treasure hunt for marketing ideas: A few years ago, I interviewed someone for a
supply chain role and asked what he would do personally to increase
consumer advocacy.  Rather than shunt this question off as "not my
job," he came up with an idea to print jokes on the sides of the brown
corrugate cases that hold the products on the way to the store.  He
thought that if your gave the stock room guys a rare chuckle, they
would take particular care in stocking your product on the shelf.  This
would lead to better merchandising in store.  And because you have to
print on the cases anyway, it doesn't cost any more."