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RETAIL • INDUSTRIAL Tuesday 22nd April 2014

THE SECRET AGENT

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“Brochure! Ad in the EG! Letting party!”

His clenched fist came down on the oak surface to emphasise each phrase. An uncapped fountain pen rolled sideways and off the desk.

It’s the bit of my job I hate most. Every time we get an instruction we have to go to the senior partner and map out our marketing plans. He is now giving me his feedback on my plans for an instruction that I was rather excited about bringing to market.

“I let half of the West End with that marketing approach and I’m not sure why you think you know better!”

It was my own fault. I’m usually ‘economic with the truth’ when telling him what we’re going to do but this time I’d given him the truth. The whole nine yards.

Micro-site, email campaign, online listing, brochure, push SMS marketing, PR, advertising , video, social media and, yes, a letting party. I hadn’t drawn breath and it was only when his face got redder than a lobster with sunburn that my great marketing vision rather tailed off. He took the opening to give me his opinion and we were now at the desk-bashing stage.

My sudden outbreak of frankness was actually a result of a drink I’d had with a mate from college who now has a BMW dealership in Surrey. He’d been telling me about how they are bringing the new 2-series coupe to the market. After an endless list of initiatives and showing me stunning videos of the motor on his phone, he uttered the immortal phrase: “I guess you do the same with your properties…”.

A colleague from the office who’d joined us at the bar snorted into his pint. I then told my mate how we did it and watched his eyebrows march up his forehead. “What!? You guys are dinosaurs! Relics! Why not get one of those ‘Golf Sale’ boards while you’re at it?”.

To say I was peeved was an understatement. My colleague piped up: “Yeah, but cars are a big ticket item”.

“And buildings aren’t?” my mate chipped back.

Good point: what’s the annual rent on a 1,000 sq ft of City offices? Or a shop up the West End? Or a big shed in Park Royal? Yep, ‘big ticket’ by any measure.

So I left the pub that night as a ‘New Marketing’ covert and when the boss asked me for my plans I told him what exactly what I wanted to do. And now I found myself shouting across the desk: “You’re a dinosaur! A relic!”.

Shame that he’d already left for lunch – and an even bigger shame that I have my annual appraisal next week. Ah well, onwards and upwards: I have seen the future and it works.