Philosophies

I have a few concepts that tend to guide my actions and strategies in the workplace. I’ve tried to capture some of them below – and I’m more than happy to talk over anything via LinkedIn.

If I can’t tie a project to revenue impact, it’s not a priority.

This happens when you work at the company whose Chief Strategy Officer, Dr. Debbie Qaqish, invented the term “revenue marketing.” My team wasn’t held to MQL or SQL numbers – it’s a revenue number.

SQLs and MQLs are operational metrics that can help optimize the pipeline, but only one number truly matters. And that guides all project and resource planning for the team, because if we’re working on things that won’t move the needle, it only hurts ourselves and the company’s bottom line.

Good marketing makes people feel what you want them to feel, which makes them more likely to buy.

A slide detailing information for emotional currency from a dealer training module I created

A slide from a training module I put together to educate the Club Car dealer network on the importance of an optimized website. Click for larger image.

Call it emotional advertising, but I believe it’s at the core of any marketing plan. A good ad catches a person’s attention and makes them want to learn more. It takes them to a great website experience with an eye-pleasing, easy-to-use interface that inspires trust and makes it easy for them to do the thing (contact us, build a vehicle, buy something online, etc.) you hope they will.

After all, you don’t have much time to make inroads – usually a couple of seconds, or even less.

Bad marketing turns potential customers away or just doesn’t make them care, just like a poor website creates distrust or drives people to your competitor’s site. After all, each of us are subjected to hundreds of ads everyday – and remember precious few, if any, of them later.

From the colors, white space, tone/style of text, and imagery used to the timing of when an ad hits or who it’s shown to, so many factors go into moving the needle. But the attention to detail is well worth it when crafting a narrative to inspire action.

All marketing tactics – traditional and digital – can play a role in a customer’s journey.

A common misnomer about digital marketers is they abhor “traditional” marketing – TV, radio, billboards, trade shows, print collateral, etc.

While it depends on the industry, customer expectations, and typical customer behaviors, any marketing tactic can be a bridge point between initial impression, customer, and advocate.

What does your ideal customer profile want? When’s the last time you updated your customer journey mapping? These are key questions that determine a lot of what marketing will do.

Lead management is dead without buy-in from Sales.

I’ve seen it firsthand: Marketing and Sales arguing over what a “good” lead is, with revenue dying in the pipeline.

Or, even worse? Salespeople thinking they got less commission on marketing-sourced leads, leading to all sorts of shenanigans within the company’s instance of Salesforce.

Marketing and Sales have to have a strong relationship, or both will dramatically suffer.

Strong marketing collaborates across departments for better cohesion and long-term planning.

Communications? IT? Finance? Customer service?

Through projects of all sizes, marketers work across different teams to implement and execute desired strategies. The more integrated marketing is with others, the less guesswork there is on how to align with overall company strategies and objectives.

An example:Digital email icon

When upgrading a website, it’s important to work across traditional team lines. Marketers are working on the front-end content, but must collaborate with a web team and IT to ensure the back-end is updated, secure, and with a user-friendly design.

It must also support other business objectives, such as graphics supporting a traditional marketing campaign or a more streamlined customer service portal to make it easier for end-users to contact the company and have their request route to the right internal team.

Rarely do decisions made only impact your team.

You hire staff do to a job. Let them do it.

I’ve had the privilege of stepping into various leadership roles throughout my career, but also having many excellent superiors with varied management styles. I’ve noticed a few trends:

  • Good managers display trust in their employees, champion them to key decision-makers, and mitigate risk while allowing employees to try new things
  • Bad managers fail to set long-term vision for a team/project, are too reactive to problems instead of finding solutions, and often over-micromanage the small details

As with most things, nuance and balance are vital. Sometimes, an employee may need his/her manager to step in and back them up, or provide guidance on the best way to move forward with a project. Unforeseen problems will arise, necessitating a reactive strategy that simply could not have been prevented.

Status quo is not status quo.

One of the biggest barriers to progress I’ve run into is a mindset of sticking with what’s worked in the past – or what a person is most comfortable with. A vendor, program, or even staff member may have been the ideal solution years ago – but that doesn’t mean it’s the same today.

This also goes for levels of success. It’s good to celebrate the wins, but following that up by asking “How do we get better?” keeps teams moving forward.

Go to bat for your team.Go to bat for your team

Something I’ve noticed among my favorite bosses: They sing your praises publicly to other team members and executives alike. It brings recognition to those who otherwise may not be noticed by decision-makers and makes them rightfully feel appreciated.

A related note: Those same superiors also did a great job of providing real, honest feedback and weren’t afraid to give criticism – but in a private setting.

Asking “What could go wrong?” often saves trouble

This stems from spending some time in Public Relations. Even small potential issues need solutions before they can spiral into bigger problems, and anticipating them in advance can take a good plan and make it airtight.

Asking hard questions matters. For example, would a particular photo, used in the context and associated with particular text, be taken in a way you don’t intend? Does it matter if a :30 video spot for a client happens to have actors of only one ethnicity when they are trying to reach an entire city?