I was recently asked a great question by a client - a clever and thoughtful young marketer on the rise;
"What are the most important things you've learned?"
It was a tough one to answer on the spot, particularly at that time of night, but it was good one. You know, I believe that those that inquire are those who succeed. And I believe that if anyone goes to the trouble of asking a good question, they deserve the best you've got.
So I sat down and wrote a list. I've been incredibly fortunate to have had some terrific mentors. They've pushed, challenged and encouraged me. Some of these points come directly from them. Most have come indirectly through their wisdom and the learning they have inspired.
- People matter most of all. Those at home, those at work, our partners in business and customers of course. Treat them well, inspire them, help them to grow and give them amazing experiences. That will make them happy and they will do amazing things.
- Ask why, always and often. Understanding why and being able to explain why provides meaning and purpose to ourselves and everyone we come in contact with. Purpose is what drives us.
- Culture is the way we do things around here. It starts at the top, is a sum of all parts and comes through in everything that goes on. Most know what it feels like when its good or bad, but few possess the insight, influence or sense of purpose to change it. Those that can are worthy leaders.
- Self-awareness is hard to learn and sometimes harder to accept. When you truly learn who you are, you’ll be better in most situations and more comfortable in your own skin.
- Be happy and do what’s necessary to sustain it. It’s easier said than done.
- Expect people to be intelligent, but don’t expect that they’ll care. If people don’t get it, assume it’s your fault.
- Solve problems already identified in their business. By listening to your client from the beginning, you'll find out what it is they need you for, even if they don't know it yet. Don't sell them on magic, impress them with results.
- Under promise and over deliver. Now - not to say you should give away all your hard work for free but offering proof of concept early in the relationship will allow your client to feel secure in both your passion and ability.
- To simplify without being simplistic is the highest form of complexity. Master it.
- Arrogance is the best friend of underestimation, complacency and bad relationships. Eliminate it, then replace it with well-founded confidence.
- Make a point of reframing situations in order to understand how others may see it. Learn to look at opportunities, problems and solutions through the eyes of your boss and your boss’s boss. This will serve you well.
- Great data provides clues. Look within for insights that matter. Get that right and you will have the foundation of great strategy and the power to convince anyone who needs convincing.
- Great strategy is rare. At its best, it disrupts entire industries. It must inspire everyone responsible for its delivery and those who benefit from it. It must be clearly linked to action with resources that are not always under your nose. If it can’t be implemented, it’s not good strategy.
- Power, influence and respect determine how others see things like people, teams and brands. Therefore, behaviour is only appropriate when it’s matched to how people perceive the thing to be.
So, there it is; a list of things I've found to matter for anyone intent on pursuing a career in marketing and business leadership. Marketing is a people business. We want to create positive relationships and exchanges in businesses while delivering on our client's needs and expectations. If you have any great marketing tips and hints you'd like to share I'd love you thoughts and feedback. It would be great to compile the collective wisdom.
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