How Scale Modeling Made Me a Better Marketer
It’s no secret that having and holding onto hobbies can bring an insane amount of joy and fulfillment, albeit sometimes with stress. Hobbies allow you to unlock your creative potential, with the skills and creativity you bring to your hobbies helping you in other areas of your life.
Scale modeling, at least in hobby terms, consists of creating miniature representations (models) of larger subjects. It’s been my true passion for about 2 years now and grew out of two factors: Quarantine boredom and wanting to expand on my interest in military history, specifically World War 2.
Scale modeling is a hobby of patience. Scale models don’t put themselves together out of 500+ individual pieces, the creator does through hours and hours of meticulous attention to detail, planning and patience. Without these 3 points, you can never truly become an excellent scale modeler. I wouldn’t consider myself not possessing any of those traits, but they definitely were areas I could work on.
For many, their personal and work life don’t intersect, and their hobbies at home stay at home. However, I truly feel the hours I’ve spent over the course of 2 years (easily 500+) have allowed me to become a better digital marketer and improve my overall skill set.
Attention to Detail
Did I say the average 1:35 scale kit I build has 500+ pieces? Those individual pieces have to be cut from their sprue (where the pieces are molded), sanded down to remove an extra plastic, and glued into place. On top of building, you need to paint the kit and weather it, helping it to look as if it is really somewhere in the world such as a battlefield or area of conflict. Each instruction manual on a build usually looks something like this:
Each letter combined with a number is an indication of which sprue (C, B, etc.) and which sprue gate (1, 2, 3) the part you’re wanting to remove is located. I’m sure you can understand that your attention to detail needs to be spot on here, as missing a part or attaching the wrong part could be the end for your kit building experience.
Much like scale modeling, digital marketers have to possess this skill to maintain a high level of quality for their clients or business. No campaign build, performance report or media plan goes together without serious attention to detail. Lacking that key fundamental skill could spell disaster, like entering the wrong budget, not setting an end date on a campaign, or not doing the necessary research to understand your clients’ offering or competitors.
I truly feel scale modeling has helped my attention to detail, and it’s pushed me to make sure I am covering every step of the process.
Our lives require planning, it’s an unavoidable daily task I feel, however, scale modeling requires even more planning than many hobbies and is certainly in line with the planning required as a digital marketer.
When I decide to build a kit, I take days, sometimes weeks, picking out the build’s look. For example, I’m currently building a Soviet T-64BV tank set in the modern-day Russian-Ukrainian War. I spent days looking up reference pictures of these tanks, thinking to myself a myriad of questions: Are they covered in mud? Are they covered in dirt? Are they rusty or missing something? What are their identification numbers? All these bits of information help me create a realistic model. Without this planning, you may not create it like you truly want or what is up to your standards.
Quite often when building, you have to think ahead. I find myself putting parts in little plastic cups to save for later in the building stage, because I know I will need those at some point. This type of planning helps bring your creation to life. Much like this, planning is literally a daily exercise with digital marketing. Every day, week, and even month requires planning around budgets, upcoming events, or even your day-to-day tasks. I’ve become better at thinking through planning campaign builds and reporting projects, often utilizing the ideas from my scale modeling.
I find myself utilizing a planning notebook far more now than ever, as writing out tasks and notes to remember as I do with scale modeling, has helped to clear my head of stress when tasks add up. Prior Mark might crack under stress.
Oh man, this is a big one. Patience is truly an art form in itself, but scale modeling requires more than the average level of patience. Attention to detail and patience go hand-in-hand, as attention to detail usually requires you to slow down and rethink how you work through a task. Without it, you may be unable to stay true to the objectives and requirements. The times when I’vei’ve screwed up the most working on a scale model are the times I’ve rushed or didn’t stop to reevaluate what I was doing
The same goes for work, the times I remember making the biggest mistakes are when I assumed. Your assumptions are often wrong, and I look back and realize how simple it would’ve been to just second-check, or not just assume what I was thinking was true.
I find myself now with far more patience than I had years ago, and I think much of that comes from maturity, but a lot truly comes from the patience I find myself exhibiting with scale modeling. If you rush with scale modeling you will make a mistake. There are no “ifs” or “buts” about it, it’s a matter of when. There are far too many details in the building of a kit to rush through with success. The same for digital marketing, it requires patience to build an entire campaign in Google Ads or to plan an entire 12 month media schedule. Rushing will only lead to mistakes or disappointment.
You may find your hobbies to be something that purely is for your after-work entertainment or for your mental health, but I push you to consider if the hobbies you have help you with your work life. Because I feel you might find they help you more than you anticipated, you just never considered it until now.
Shameless plug for anyone interested in learning a bit more about what I do: @markoscalemodellng on IG.