My friend Samantha opens her new book, Unleash Possible, with this line:
An investor, a CEO and a CMO walk into a boardroom…
If you’re waiting for the punchline, it’s in the form of 15 chapters filled with hard-fought lessons picked up in the real world, from the perspective of someone who has spent her career growing businesses one product launch, sales pitch, customer interview and marketing campaign at a time.
I worked alongside Samantha over the course of the past few months editing every word in this powerful book. 15 case studies, 66,957 words, and 406,311 characters later, it is a real testament to what it takes to be successful in high-growth organizations today.
The book focuses on three core sections, and they are each important areas of concern for business leaders who want to, wait for it… unleash what’s possible. (See what I did there?) They are three things every business leader should focus on in the coming year:
- The motivation - and the metrics - that matter.
Hiring, and motivating, top talent is one of the most difficult pressures facing business leaders today, especially in digital marketing.
Understanding what drives your team, what fosters collaboration and true brainstorming, and what makes people LOVE to come to work every day and produce for you is critical. Hint: it’s not just about work perks like beer on tap (though that definitely doesn’t hurt.)
The keys are empowerment and trust.
What’s more, when measuring your marketing efforts, don’t get bogged down in activity-based metrics like click-through-rates. Tell a story with your numbers. Demonstrate your impact in the language the rest of the business uses: revenue and growth.
- The most important marketing stakeholder: Sales.
“Collaboration and alignment.”
These are the most over-used and under-implemented buzzwords I hear when someone is describing the relationship marketers have with their counterparts in sales.
(Can I get an Amen?)
There is a real, concentrated effort behind true sales and marketing alignment.
It requires consistent input, joint efforts over time, and working in tandem on shared goals (see focus area #1). This doesn’t work if it’s just lip service.
It requires compromise, and creating common ground on items like:
- who your target customers really are (I especially recommend the chapter in this book on the dangers of only chasing the c-suite)
- how to develop accounts together (yes, Account Based Marketing)
- how to execute outbound efforts without sales tearing their hair out
None of these efforts can happen in a silo. I won’t spoil the book, but here’s a tip: ice cream can help.
- Applying buyer-driven guardrails to every tactic you deploy.
From my time as CMO of Cintell, the topic of being customer-centric has always been near and dear to me (watch my TEDx talk on the topic.)
It’s a simple difference of mindset that separates the “meh” and mediocre marketers from those who are high-performing. Customer-centric businesses have always been more profitable, but today, more than ever, it’s easy to lose sight of this fundamental aspect of our roles. We’re so busy, there are so many tools, never enough time.
In the book, Samantha applies the concept of being buyer-driven to a variety of marketing fundamentals. The takeaway for business leaders today is simple: if you’re not making decisions, whether strategic or tactical, with radical empathy for your buyer, your competitors will.
Whether you’re writing marketing content, creating email campaigns to nurture buyers over time with marketing automation, designing a referral program, wrangling together your CRM database, or crafting a PR strategy (all of which is discussed in this book, yes really), all of it starts, and ends, with your buyer - not with you.
You know that thought you have every now and again?
“I really should write a book.”
It’s usually followed by thoughts of “nah, I don’t have that kind of time,” or “nobody will read it.”
It’s simply not true. While writing a book like this is a great and enormous endeavor, it is totally worth it. When practitioners like Samantha, who have some solid and real advice to offer their peers put pen to paper, things like Unleash Possible are born. I personally believe the world of business is better off with this book in it.
And like all great and enormous endeavors, it’s totally surreal to see the final result in my hands. I’ll leave you with two points to consider (and trust me, I have read every word.)
You’ll want to keep it nearby. Unleash Possible is one of those books that you keep near your desk for reference. It will be something you read with a pen in one hand, ready to underline passages and make notes in the margins. The ideas within aren’t fluffy, they’re not out-of-reach, and they’re not intangible.
If you’re been following the hype problem in marketing, this book might be exactly what marketers seek these days.
You don’t need to be a marketer to learn from - and act on - this book. The chapters within are geared for CEOs, leaders in sales, investors, and more as it contains all the practical perspective you need to understand the charter of marketing today.
Congratulations to Samantha on this professional achievement. Thank you for including me in the journey, and for sharing your perspective with the world.
Now, who’s next?