Business attire in digital – What should you wear?

So, I am often asked why  I never wear a shirt and tie for work? After all I do run the front end of Marketing Signals and I am one of the faces of the company.

We recently published a content piece for one of our clients based around a survey they conducted with over 1000 business people – The graphic is embedded at the bottom of this post.

Whilst I agree with the majority of the stats – including not to wear flip flops to the first meeting – I do feel that the attire you wear to the office is based on your job and the industry you work in.

Different dress for different industries

I have a friend who works in the legal profession at a senior level in a top 5 law firm – would he go to work in jeans and a polo shirt? Never, but that is the culture that exists within their industry and who are we to try and change it – Maybe it makes them feel more high powered and important.

As digitally based creatives, we do tend to run by our own rules. At least 50% of our client base has never had a face to face meeting with us – We attract clients from all over the world so a lot of the time meet-ups just don’t happen, due to geographical reasons rather than choosing not to speak to them.

Where we do meet clients face to face, I have always found that the smart casual look is expected – We are Internetters and it is kind of expected that we will not be wearing a full suit.

Sales person – or product manager?

For me, I am invited into businesses to offer consultative services based around digital marketing. I always feel that if I arrived wearing a full suit and shoes, I would be seen as the sales person, whereas the reality is that I am a technically minded educator who will make the client aware of what we can do and what our product offering is; If they like it, they buy it.

According to the survey, 66% believe senior managers should be dressed smarter than the staff – That may be the case in a traditional role where the boss has a smarter suit but I do not feel that applies for the digital marketing world I live in. I manage via inspiration rather than with an iron rod and we have a very flat hierarchy here at Marketing Signals. We are the delivery people rather than the sales people.

At the end of the day, dress to feel comfortable – I know the staff here would feel less relaxed and creative if we all wearing waistcoats, neck ties and shiny shoes!

If you are going to visit a prospective client and you feel they will be wearing smart business attire – wear a shirt – but remember – they are hiring you for your digital marketing skills, not for how well you can starch a collar!

Infographic for your viewing pleasure

What to Wear to a Business Meeting
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Gareth Hoyle

Gareth Hoyle

Gareth graduated in 2006 finishing top of his year in e-Business. Straight from University, Gareth started his own digital marketing agency from which Marketing Signals has grown. A commercial mind with deep technical understanding, he conveys comprehensive digital marketing knowledge in a straightforward and easily understandable way to stakeholders at all levels. An investor in people.