The Power of Percolation

In his monthly column, Brian Gray from Glasgow-based erotic marketing agency Lascivious Marketing offers his thoughts on all things marketing. This month he’s strongly urging you to think about how you work on your next creative marketing activities.

Another month has come and gone and many of you reading my column will have made the yearly trek to eroFame which I hope was everything you hoped it would be. For some this will be the first time reading my column (together with previous columns available on the EAN website). I hope you find them not only interesting but they get you actively thinking about how they relate to your own erotic retailing enterprise: whether you’re already operating or approaching launch in the not too distant future.

Back in the comfort of your home, your mind might be racing. The people you met, the new products you saw up close. They may be the catalyst for some seriously inspiring thoughts concerning your business in the coming months. And that’s a jolly good thing.

But a word to the wise: don’t be too hasty in your desire to get all sorts of creative initiatives and promotions launched, worked on and completed in record time. While this could be misconstrued as trying to quash your creativity the opposite is true. I’m trying to give you the best chance possible to profit from it.

And it calls for percolation.

I’m a big fan of percolation, and if you’re a time-starved marketer, solopreneur or new business owner you should be too. We’re living in a world which now apparently runs on immediate gratification and immediate results. There’s so much pressure to be fast, responsive, mobile and delivering things at breakneck speed that in turn can quickly make you feel inadequate, overburdened and stressed. Thinking and creative time become inevitable casualties, if not outright forgotten. And this is bad. Because just like makin’ sweet love all night long, there are some things that require you to s-l-o-w the heck down. Such as your marketing.

You could be at the very beginning of your erotic retailing adventure, and still to think of a name, a logo, and an overall brand identity. Or perhaps you’ve been in the industry for a while now but circumstances dictate that the brand needs revitalised or even repositioned. Or, looking more tactically, maybe you’re about to start work on a major new print or digital campaign. Whatever the exact case, ask yourself: just how likely is it that you’re going to be able to produce the goods in just one energy drink- and chocolate biscuit-fuelled session with each task being started and duly completed with little to no breaks between them? Not only is it completely unrealistic, but the results would be woefully below par – and that’s being polite. Also, think of the inevitable pressure to perform (pun intended, naturally).

There’s the old saying in marketing circles: ‘get given sh*t and all you can do is produce sh*t’. Imposing an unrealistic timeline comprising of a block of time for something requiring your creative best equates to giving yourself the proverbial poop to deal with. Not pleasant, is it?

Of course, I’m not suddenly advocating dropping everything you’ve got and now deciding to take things easy and take your foot off the pedal. Perish the thought. Obviously that would be quite insane. But you can’t just block off one piece of time and expect miracles from it, never mind produce decent creative.

When I’m writing my column for this here fine publication how many of you think I write it all in one afternoon, typing furiously to get everything done in one fell swoop? If you did, you couldn’t be more wrong. In fact, if we’re talking total elapsed time, it’s probably closer to five days. But then that’s the thing about elapsed time versus actual time: there could be – and in my case definitely is – a noticeable difference between the time I’m actively involved (scribbling my initial thoughts on paper, refining the idea, perhaps carrying out some research or supporting examples, typing my first draft, printing and reviewing it with my dreaded red pen, making the necessary amends then sending it over to Randolph) and the total time from start to finish.

In between these things, I’m taking breaks. I’m percolating, Baby. The breaks are just as valuable as the time dedicated to it bashing the keyboard. I’m letting my mind and subconscious carry on working on this while my conscious mind is already working on something else. Or sleeping.

The breaks away from the task are as important as the ‘active time’ spent hunched over your computer. While you’re walking the dog, sitting in front of the television, or even doing other work tasks, your brain is still whirring away in the background on the task at hand. How many times have you had the ‘lightbulb moment’ while taking your morning shower?

If you’ve read enough of my columns you’ll know how important time and balance are to me, and this is a textbook example of it in action. Time is our most precious commodity, and it should be treasured accordingly and used most effectively. If you’ve got a to-do list as long as your arm, and one of those tasks is to conceive a new ad campaign or piece of content marketing, the worst thing you can do is to block off a single chunk of time to produce it. Even if the total completion time is accurate, the end product will suck.

Sure, you’ll get through the stages of some of the basic elements – creating a (very) rudimentary logo, or deciding on some corporate colours. But do not for one moment think that you’re going to create marvellous work without breaks. The different trains of thought need time to get to their rightful destinations. And if it’s a brand or campaign that’s to really stand for something and make a lasting impression and create an emotional impact, believe you me, that’s NOT something that can be rushed and done in one fell swoop.

So, assuming you don’t want your creative efforts to suck, get the process started in good time and take breaks, damnit. If you’ve got a deadline for a task involving a fair bit of creativity, don’t leave it until the last minute: get started on it now. Brainstorm and go crazy on your big office whiteboard. Spew out everything and anything that initially comes to mind without judgement or fear of reproach. But get that ball rolling, and be organised enough to schedule time within the available days. This way you can work on it regularly but without the pressure of having to come up with everything there and then.

It’s funny that while there’s no shortage of products in our industry designed to prolong pleasure, eliminate dysfunction or help eliminate performance anxiety, I’d be willing to wager that more than a fair few of you are perversely working under conditions in which pressure to perform is at its worst. That can’t be right, can it?

So, get percolating. It’s good for you, and your business. And you won’t go blind either!

Brian can be contacted at or phoned on +44 (0)141 255 0769.