Marketing Project

Three Ways to Rock Your Next Marketing Project

So, it’s a quiet Friday in the office. You’re looking out the window, dreaming of your Saturday morning coffee with a book and a steaming hot latte.  All is well with the world when suddenly your boss bursts into your office with that look on her face.

“Well, good news!” This sounds promising. “It looks like we’re going to take your idea to market, and fast! Our leaders are putting all of their hopes on it to pull us out of this slump. And the even better news is everything has to be ready for the regional conference in two weeks, so it won’t take a lot of your time.”

But wait, there’s more! “We need four direct mail pieces leading up to it. I want our website plastered with this and, while you’re at it, our old trade show booth needs some love.”

Like a tornado – she’s disappeared and left you with your head spinning. You just fired your ad agency last month and no one on your team has the skills needed to scale this marketing mountain. It’s going to be ok. First, take a deep breath and travel back to Latte Land for a minute–it’s really only a day away. Then spend some time with the following thoughts. 

1. Hire Killer Talent

Not just really good talent… killer talent! And before your brain goes to “Wait…it’s going to cost too much,” let me explain.

It’s common to look for a bargain when it comes to creative talent.  But, you’ll end up paying a steep price if you prioritize cost over quality. So, while hiring killer talent doesn’t have to mean hiring expensive talent, it does require taking the time to find the right fit for your needs.

Start by having as many short phone interviews with marketing agencies in the next few days as possible. If you can’t get a potential partner on the phone, scratch them off the list.  You need responsive collaborators.

Next, take your short list and book 3 face-to-face coffees, lasting no more than 15 minutes apiece. Hey, you can expense the espresso so life is getting better by the minute. If they are out of town, jump on Skype.

What you are looking for at this point is chemistry. Yes, an impressive client list and cool office spaces are hard to get past when you’re on a website, but keep looking until you find someone who gets you and wants to help. Have a short list of questions ready. Listen more than you talk and absolutely go with your gut when you’re making judgments.

Last, but not least, pay careful attention to body language. Studies show that 60% of what we communicate is said with non-verbal cues. And they rarely lie.

If you find a match with chemistry, next look for intelligence. Anyone in the persuasion field for more than 10 years will have lots of pretty portfolio pieces. What you really want to know is if they can think and what have been the results of their thinking. When you have those in place, the next step comes pretty easily. 

2. Let Them Do What They Do

I have never met a fellow knowledge worker who likes being micro managed. Have you?

And yet the best of us have fallen to over the shoulder directing when the heat is on.  It’s tempting to book one more meeting or send one more 7 paragraph email when you know that their work will deeply reflect on you, and could ultimately impact your career.  But before you hit send, take another deep breath, remember why you hired them, go get a latte or check your Insta feed and let them do what they do.

If in remembering why you hired them, you recall that you ignored all the steps above and just went with the cheapest option, go ahead and call that extra meeting.

3. Set The Bar High

But wait, don’t we want to protect our teams, and avoid pushing them too hard?  No… and a little yes. Setting the bar high is about providing motivation and letting your team amaze you.  Not pushing or micro-managing. The stress, the challenge, and the intensity of a big project is where great work happens.

Plus, if you’ve already done the hard work of finding an intelligent partner that works well under pressure, high expectations are what make the job enjoyable.

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But there is a balance. Motivation is more art than science. If you push a rock star too hard, it will cause problems. Killer talent already has a passionate fire inside of them – it’s what makes them so great- but building a fire into an inferno…well, it’s just not good.

So the next time you are up against a new challenge and it looks like your weekend will go up in smoke, take a deep breath, get out pen and paper and write a simple way forward using these ideas.

Note: this article originally appeared at

David Thomason
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