Marketing: How You’ve Never Thought Of It Before [Video]
Marketing is not a department in your company.
It’s not a line item in the expense column of your income statement.
It’s not simply sending someone from your team to the next trade show, hoping that you’ll snag a few new names of interested passers-by.
It is, in a very real sense, the lifeblood of your company.
Without marketing, you’re toast.
Before you give up on me—who you likely perceive to be a hopeless marketer with a hammer who sees everything as a marketing nail—let me walk you through my premise.
Literally, marketing is getting your product or service in front of those in the marketplace in such a way that those who need it will see it and want it. You’re putting it in the market.
Nothing complicated. Nothing revolutionary.
What is revolutionary though, is the notion that every single member of your company is involved in marketing, whether they realize it or not.
The companies that have figured this out and capitalize on it are the ones that will survive and thrive in the ever-evolving marketplace.
I talk with my kids all the time about this simple maxim: “Everyone is selling something.” There are at least two ways you can use this maxim:
- (Rabbit trail alert.) You could be a cynic and say that you can’t trust anyone because there is always an ulterior motive. You’d be right, but it’s not a healthy way to live. Instead, you can use this knowledge to see through what someone says or does to the reason behind it. This is how we view it.
- This simple maxim also means that any time we’re engaging with other people, we’re always “selling” or “marketing.” We’re communicating a message about ourselves, our families, our company, our philosophies, our values, our preferences… the list goes on.
Your customer experience is marketing. How your support staff supports is marketing. How your sales team sells is marketing. How your leadership leads is marketing. How your human resources department enables your team is marketing.
So, ask yourself:
- When someone from my company interacts with someone outside of my company, is the experience a positive or a negative one?
- Do my employees 100% believe in the solutions that my company offers?
- If not, what could I do to give them a place to air their concerns, propose solutions, and improve what we’re doing as a company?
- If so, what are we doing to make sure that we’re maximizing the interactions between our people and our potential new customers?
If you’re struggling with how to improve your marketing, do the hard work of thinking beyond tactics and technologies and see what you can do to build a foundation of company-wide marketing in your organization.
Rather than siloing off the “marketing team” or farming out your marketing to a big-city ad agency, why not take the bold step of continually nurturing, mentoring, and developing each of your employees to be the best marketer they can be?
Because every member of your team is a marketer, it’s more imperative than ever that your company employ the right people and focus on building their marketing skills.
You may be wondering, “If everyone is a marketer, is there still a need for a specific marketing team?”
Instead of marketers serving as the sole drivers of marketing, they should be the tenders, gatherers, and nurturers of all of the marketing that your employees are doing.
In a practical sense, that means that your marketing team has full access to the rest of your company to harvest stories, data, industry knowledge, research, and opinions. Their role as marketers becomes how best to distribute those resources to maximize contact with the right potential customers.
Once you have those foundations in place, you’re ready to unleash your “marketing team” to use tactics, technologies, and strategies to disperse your marketing to the marketplace.
Now For Some Discussion (& The Takeaway)
I asked Emily, one of our phenomenal writers here at Nectafy, to read my thoughts above and ask me questions on the fly so we could dig down a little deeper into this topic (or see if I’m just completely off-base).
When you have a few minutes, see how the conversation went—you can watch it or read the transcription below. (That’s where you’ll find the takeaway!)
Lance: I think I’m ready.
Emily: OK. So my first question as I was reading: What if I’m doing marketing differently than how you kind of spell it out in the article, but things seem to be going OK. Should I change what I’m doing, or what are the benefits to the way you’re suggesting?
Lance: All right. Yes. That’s a great question. So what I’m trying to get at in the article is that I think for the most part we think of marketing as a certain way that we do things, and really what I’m trying to do is make the conversation a little broader about what marketing really is to your company, you know? So like all of us are involved in writing. You have to write your articles. I wrote this article because I was supposed to, and we know this is a part of our tactic of marketing, but you also know from conversations we’ve had as team, we’re really, really sold out on the idea that each of us represents Nectafy. When you’re interviewing a client, when I’m trying to sell something, when I’m going to lunch with a network person and they maybe don’t show up, I’m representing Nectafy. So I think the idea is there are lots of ways tactically to do marketing, but all of them would benefit from this kind of viewpoint that marketing is really from the ground up. Every single one of us in this organization. And of course I’m trying to set the stage for some future thoughts about how that actually impacts how you run your business. In other words, it’s so much bigger than just getting leads into the door. Does that makes sense?
Emily: Yeah. Absolutely. So I thought this part was interesting where you talk about the team 100% believing in the solutions that the company offers. Obviously that’s a big part of what we do at Nectafy. Do you think that means that everyone on the team needs to 100% understand the solutions in order to believe in them?
Lance: That’s a great question. So I think it’s probably one of those deals where as much as the team member understands, they support it, because I think especially if you get into a large organization, we’re busy doing lots of things that probably not everybody is even aware of. I don’t think it’s like everybody in the organization knows down to the nth degree of detail what’s going on, but to the degree that they understand how their company works in the marketplace, they support it. So I think this is where… this probably gets into company culture… this probably gets into being willing to wear the swag. Like, “I work for so and so,” or “I work at such and such.” “I work for Apple.” There’s like that fan-boy-ism/fan-girl-ism, if you will, that exists when you really back or you believe what your company is all about. Now I have to, like, sort of take myself out of the agency world and think about other corporations and other companies. There are plenty of companies that obviously are engaged in things that it’s going to be tough to get super fired up about. So I can’t think of one right off, and I wouldn’t want to single out any industry, but there are some industries that aren’t associated with high employee enthusiasm, right?
Lance: I still think even in those situations, every single member of your team should buy into what your company is doing. I mean, the world is a big enough place, there are enough jobs, there is enough opportunity for someone to find a place that they actually believe in. Right? So it’s like, I think a lot of times we sort of ignore that part, and we’re like, “Yeah, I know my sales guys—they don’t really believe in what we do, but they can sell it anyway,” or “The people in the manufacturing floor—they know there’s a way to improve this. But it’s the best it’s going to be.” When you’ve got those kinds of issues, I think your company is in a precarious spot. Especially the way marketing as I’m describing it is coming about, and, believe me, technology is only going to make this more and more obvious that marketing is your whole company. You’re used to being able to just hide a good chunk of your company away from public interaction. This is not the case anymore. Everybody’s got their social media accounts—everybody’s got their interactions and all of this stuff. So if you have even one team member who’s not bought into what you’re doing, there some real-life conversations that need to be had there, like, why not? Is it a value misalignment between our company and you, or is it… what is it? Has somebody ticked you off? Any number of those things, and you can see pretty quickly this conversation goes from marketing to employee happiness, company culture, business development, leadership… all of those things, because I think that actually drives the success—the authentic success—of all the rest.
Emily: Yeah, OK. So along those lines then, how do you go about training and educating every person on the team about your company culture and then to embrace it? Is there a point where you have to let them kind of… the “you do you” thing, and if this doesn’t work out, we’ve got to recognize that. How do you approach that?
Lance:Yeah. So that’s a great question. You know, we’ve got an advantage here at Nectafy, because I think from the beginning, we’ve really looked for people who we think would really be a great fit, right? And you know how much effort we put into, like, every member of the team, and so I’m trying not to sound like we’ve got it all figured out, because we don’t. Obviously, we have the advantage of, like, just kind of starting with a clean slate. So the questions that you just asked are huge, and they probably get an entire section of the library on this, but I think the first thing really is you have to believe in your people and invest in your people, including when you hire, investing the resources and the time and the effort and the process to make sure you’re getting the right people. You know, at some point, you probably have to evaluate, if you’re in an established company, how do we figure out if the people that we have are the right people? And that’s a whole other thing, but it’s a serious thing that has to be discussed, and I think that’s the part that often gets swept under the rug, and, well, work is work. It’s a four-letter word. If you don’t hate it, something is wrong with you. Well, you know we’ve talked a lot about this. That’s not how it has to be. So there’s that aspect of it. I think in terms of communicating, one of the things that we’ve done here, and I think I’ve actually learned a lot from a friend of mine who runs a company just south of Boston—they do a lot of discussion about how each member of the team has their impact on the company… they’re basically highlighting what we’re talking about. You know? Because I think a lot of times business owners, they get the idea like, “I’m hiring this best person to plug them into this spot over here. Don’t talk about other things, don’t think about other things—build the widget or press this button.” We think that somehow we have this big master plan or we’re going to just use human resources and stick them in places and that’s, like, so 150 years ago. Now it’s: With technology, with our ability to build and collaborate, every single member of the team can bring an amazing amount of potential to the company. So you’ve got to educate them as much as you can, you’ve got to cheer them on, show interest, personal development, building teams—all of this stuff that used to be “touchy feely,” and everybody kind of made fun of it—it’s turning into, like… yeah, it’s critical.
What have you experienced? I’m going to turn the tables on you. You’re supposed to be asking me the questions. What have you experienced within Nectafy that you would say has kind of taken us that direction?
Emily: So, that’s funny, because my next question is: Do you have any practical tips on figuring out how everyone on the team is marketing themselves in the company? And I was thinking about how we do that. I think a lot of it comes from being empowered to make our own decisions or do what’s in the best interest of the client. We always want to do what’s best for the client, and we get resources for how to do that. How should we treat them? How should we kind of steward them? How do we answer their questions better, which on the client side is awesome. I think things that we do here, like books, getting an opportunity to learn what really interests us business-wise, but also just in our personal lives. That’s huge for me because from the beginning, you’ve known that I work, but I also have a family. That’s the most important to me, so that’s one thing that I think is really cool—that I’m really proud of our company for.
Lance: That’s cool. I think there are lots of high-profile companies who I think embrace that as well. You usually hear like Zappos and Amazon and these companies that are known for great customer service partly because they’ve empowered everybody in their organization to do what they need to do to make it right. That’s huge—suddenly now I’m not getting stuck between the rules and what the person needs done. Now I’m like, “You know what? I’m empowered. I can do what I need to do to represent my company well.” Which is very cool.
Emily: Yeah, very cool.
Lance: I like, by the way, how when you said “family,” on cue, I heard the boys in the background.
Emily: This is real life! This is how it works.
Lance: Absolutely. I love it.
Emily: Yeah. So speaking of that investment—this sounds kind of cheesy—but in the whole employee, what does that look like, and do you think it pays off?
Lance: So, can you ask that to me again? Because sometimes I’m a little slow picking up the real meaning of the question.
Emily: So when we talked about in order to make the customers happy, we first have to look at our whole team and make sure everyone’s doing what they’re good at and what they feel fulfilled in doing and part of that is not just looking at the business strengths of our team members but our personal strengths as well and how they work together… how do we do that? What does that investment look like, and do you think that it pays off?
Lance: So I’m going to say something because I know that people watching this video… this may not… OK, I’m just going to say it: My goal is to create an employee-first company. Employee first. Everybody talks about the customer/client, and they’re super important to us—obviously, without clients, we don’t have a business, we just have a club, and a club that’s making zero money. So I get that, but what I’m convinced of is that if I will focus on building a company that’s employee-first and then empower them, or… allow… I don’t even know the right words… but basically give them the ability to serve our clients, then everybody benefits. Whereas, if I say, “I’m going to create a company that’s customer-first,” and I lose sight of the fact that really the people closest to me in this company are our team, then I’m in real trouble. So my goal is an employee-first company, and that means then that my number-one goal is that my employee’s life is as healthy as it can be. Not just the 36 hours or the 40 hours or whatever that they’re dedicating to Nectafy every week—it’s the life… it’s the whole picture, and that’s why we’re trying to do all these crazy things we’re trying like essential PTO and these silly things that I’m constantly trying to come up with, and Henry’s trying to help me work through them and figure out how do we actually apply this. It’s about the whole life, and it’s part of what gets me fired up about our company and also where so many other companies are going. We’re not a unique story now, which is now fantastic. People have companies that are creating meaningful things, and yet people are able to—it’s integrating into their life. You and I, we’ve talked about “work-life balance” and how that’s sort of a misnomer because that basically seems to indicate that work is miserable over here at this end and life is good at this end. We have to do enough work to make life happy and well—no, it shouldn’t be that way. It should be work and life are, like, pulling together… the whole thing is making a fulfilled existence. If we can get there, all the rest of it falls into place, including, if I can tie back into our topic, our marketing. Right? Because then we’re marketing something that we’re being legitimate about. Not like, “Woo hoo. We have an awesome product.” Don’t look behind the curtain, but we have an awesome product. That’s never where you want to be as a company, because that’s unhealthy and an inauthentic way to market yourself, and it used to be that you could survive that way. Moving forward, I’m not sure it’s possible.
Lance: What do I know? But that’s just my opinion.
Emily: So here’s kind of detailed question for you: As a leader of your company, what if you kind of approach your team with this idea and say, “Everybody is a marketer. I want everyone on this team to be willing to share their stories about how what they do is important to our team and our clients.” What happens if you get pushback from people who don’t want to share stories or don’t think they have stories to share.
Lance: Yes, it’s a really great point. Everybody communicates differently, right? We’ve learned that here. We’re big on DISC profile, and for those who are watching this and have never heard of that, it’s basically a fantastic way to just evaluate how each member of your team thinks—like how they respond to work and communication. Like when you look at the DISC profile, my DISC profile is “ID,” so mine is all about outgoing… I’m the one who says, “Hey, let’s try this crazy video! Let’s just see what happens!” And you’re a “CS,” which doing this is a huge stretch for you and I’m super proud of you for even doing this. But what I’m thinking is if you could understand the people in your company, there are different ways to express and different ways to communicate this stuff without it being like a “one size fits all.”
Emily: Right. You don’t have to be in front of the camera all the time. You can share your story in other ways. You can help other people.
Lance: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, there’s a role where you’re supporting other people telling their stories. There’s a role where you’re literally organizing stories. There’s other people who are really good at organizing. Maybe you. This is where I think a lot of company-wide campaigns go off the rails, by the way: as we say, “We’re all going to…” fill in the blank. Maybe that’s OK for silly little things or, like, short periods of time, but you’re trying to build a company culture, and you’ve got to create multiple ways for people to express what we just described, which is: I get that I’m a part of the team, but let me just do it my way. Right? I think you can get a richer experience as a company if you can let that happen.
Emily: I agree.
Lance: Maybe. What do you think? I want to ask you.
Emily: Absolutely. I think it’s good to be stretched and kind of outside of how you normally would approach something, like being in a video versus writing it out, but I also think that the recognition that this is where I am most comfortable and this is where I can do the best job for the team is critical, too. That’s something that is exciting to me with Nectafy—you and Henry are always kind of… prodding isn’t a very good word… encouraging us to try different things; things we may not think we’re 100% proficient in, and that’s hard for people like me who want to be really good at something the first time we try it. But that growth is also essential, and I think that’s an important part of what makes us grow and want to keep coming to work excited about that.
Lance: So, I’m going to ask the final question.
Lance: Did you already ask all your questions?
Lance:OK. So I’m going to ask the final question because I love to, you know, prod…
Lance: Exactly. Prod and encourage. It’s all one word. So you read the article? What do you think is the practical takeaway somebody gets from this thing? I actually wrestled with that a little bit. What’s the thing that, if you’re a business owner, you’re thinking, “Here’s what I’m taking away.”
Emily: I would say it’s a question. Do I have systems in place that are going to help me look at everyone on my team and say, “I’m giving them what they need to take the next step for our company.” I feel like it’s a pretty thoughtful piece. It really made—when I was reading it from my perspective and then as the business owner perspective—it made me think a lot about not myself, but am I doing this for this person? Is what I’m expecting from this role too much, not enough? I think it was cool.
Lance: Wow. That’s good. If that’s the takeaway for other people, then I’m very glad that we put all this time into it, because I think it would be… you know, it takes it so far beyond marketing, even though that’s what we care about and now it’s about company. It’s about, like, people.
Emily: Absolutely. That’s what I loved about this article is that it… at first I was like, “Oh, boy… marketing.” Nobody wants to talk about being a marketer, and that’s exactly what you say and how we kind of get into this bigger topic. So I guess I’m going to ask the last question.
Emily: What do you think the takeaway is?
Lance: Yeah. My big takeaway is that marketing is the least of anybody’s problems. I mean honestly. Right? I mean, like, if you’ve got marketing issue, and we all do—you’re going just perfect it and move on—but when you’re asking yourself what do we have to do to get our face out there, that’s moment when it’s time to back up and go all right… let’s talk about this at a bigger level. For me, that’s the takeaway that I’m thinking of when I’m writing that, and I want people to just to say, “You know what? There’s a bigger thing, a bigger opportunity here than just increasing traffic to my website.” Right? If I can get that, then I’m great. So I’ll just say this to anybody who managed to watch all 22 minutes of this wonderful discussion, and that is: If you’ve got some comments or thoughts about this, definitely leave it here on this blog post. I’m reading this stuff. I’m trying to—I’m actually thinking about bigger things. I’m trying to figure out how could we help companies develop in a way that’s really, really meaningful beyond just traffic, leads, and even customers? So, Emily, I really appreciate you… risking this stuff.
Emily: Absolutely. Thanks for letting me.
I’m trying to figure out how we can help companies develop in a way that’s really, really meaningful—beyond just traffic, leads, and customers. So leave me your comments below. I’d love to discuss this topic with you!