As CEO of a mid-sized agency, I make what seems like four million decisions every day; some large, some small, some important, and some that are no big deal. It runs the gamut. But, if I were to sum up the essence of what guides the myriad of decisions I make – most especially those that concern the strategies we deploy for our clients – it comes down to this:
- Where are we starting?
- Where do we want to go?
- How does this decision move the needle?
- Is it new, inventive, innovative, out-of-the-box?
- What’s next?
You will notice that these are very purposefully future-focused questions. That’s because being in marketing means always embracing, and in fact courting change. It means we are always looking to the future.
That mindset requires buy-in. Buy-in from your team, from all departments – sales, operations, finance, customer service, and from the C-suite. Sometimes, however, this is easier said than done. But, if there is active engagement and open communication, if each group’s needs are being recognized, and if the vision of the company is always top-of-mind, then I believe real change and real results can happen.
I had my good friend, Maggie Scivicque, marketing director for arc Thrift Stores, on the podcast a while back. Since joining the arc team, Maggie has taken a marketing department severely over budget to one that is right on target. Her strategies have resulted in year-over-year revenue increases up to five percent yearly. In our conversation, she and I discuss how she has built a workplace culture based on collaboration, and how she’s achieved this by inspiring buy-in from her various teams.
For me, getting that buy-in means inviting everyone to the table from the outset. It’s about rolling up our sleeves and diving in to get the work done together. I thrive on the energy my team brings to our brainstorming sessions. We toss around ideas…some are totally off, some a bit out there, some are just flat out silly, but many are spot-on. The important part is that everyone – from the PR director to the art director to the account coordinators – is invited to these meetings. The results are amazing! What’s more, when we manage strategy sessions for our clients, we try to do the same.