Seven Deadly New Year’s Resolutions

I have always been a fan of the Seven Deadly Sins, ever since I stayed up to watch the original Bedazzled movie, back when Christmas telly was good. So I thought it would good to devise marketing-related New Year’s Resolutions, based on the handy readymade structure of the ‘capital vices’. The idea isn’t to commit all the sins (in some spectacular orgy of Sadean libertinage); rather, it’s to figure out how to avoid them, and stay on the narrow way of goodness combined with the shining path of marketing success 😉

So what have we got to contend with? Lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride comprise the traditional menu, with corresponding virtues: chastity, temperance etc. So let’s sort ’em out.

Lust
Tricky one this – what kind of marketing lust might we fall prey to? Dante defined it as ‘excessive love of others’ so let’s avoid promiscuously courting random people – and instead try and fill our databases, Facebook friend lists etc with genuine potential customers, with whom we can have meaningful relationships.

Gluttony
doesn’t just refer to food, though personally I do intent to follow Thomas Aquinas’ example and avoid eating ‘too much’, ‘too daintily’ or conversely ‘wildly’. Gluttony is also about waste – so our diligent value-for-money procurement, environmentally-friendly production methods and highly-targeted (or non-lustful) marketing will put us on the right side of this one.

Greed

is slightly different – a sin of excess involving the accumulation of wealth. Isn’t this what marketing people are interested in? Maybe, though in the public sector we aren’t creating profits for shareholders. We do intend to raise £1.3m in philanthropic income over the next three years. That will of course be charity – the virtue corresponding to the vice of greed – so we’ll definitely be on the side of the angels.

Sloth
can’t be good, and I’ll be fitting in some regular blood-pumping, endorphin-liberating, cholestertol-lowering exercise by walking around the campus, into town and maybe even through the woods, inspired by the Urban Walks scheme. Within the department, as well as maintaining a white-hot rate of busy-ness, we’ll be going above and beyond by working on an exciting action research project, of which more in a later post.

Wrath
can be manifested as impatience, and in a sense we’re paid to be impatient as we’re all trying to improve things; to move with speed from where we are now to where we want to be. However the Devil’s in the detail, and we need to get things right as well as forging ahead. So I’m resolving to avoid overhastiness…

Envy
played by Barry Humphries in the 1967 version of Bedazzled, is another kind of insatiable desire, wanting what others have. ‘Envious marketing’ could manifest itself as lookalike advertising, trying to resemble another institution or organisation. I’d like us to carry on being distinctive and ploughing our own furough.

Finally Pride – a difficult one as we’re often beating ourselves up for being too shy and retiring as an institution. And, yes, I’d like us to win more awards and recognition. Perhaps marketing departments are a kind of professional boasters, absorbing hubris like a medieval Sin Eater? I don’t think this is the case – as any marketing claims we make have to be based on substance. So another resolution is to focus on credibility and keep it real…