I’ve been blessed to have countless mentors in my life who have shared with me their unique philosophies, from throwing a great curveball to personal training discipline and motivating teammates – and in my professional life – the attributes of great leadership.
A most simple definition of leadership is the one that still resonates with me. A former boss of mine said leadership is about having a clear, unmistakeable vision that is so powerful those working with you and for you make it their own. Recognize how this is distinctly different from a leader-follower scenario. It’s far more profound than having a vision that others follow. Instead you are communicating something so effectively, it is creating new pockets of leadership, confidence and motivation within your organization.
So what does this have to do with marketing?
Well, this particular former boss’s history was not in operations, it was not in finance or HR. It was, of course, in sales and marketing. Selling products – and in his later career – ideas.
In a recent post, I spoke about how often marketing is incorrectly relegated in people’s minds to billboards, flyers and websites. In fact, the power of marketing and great communication is about changing the way people think. Those people can be your clients, but can also be your own employees. What those people think and perceive can be about anything – from a sports team, to a politician, an entire community or your brand. If you’re reading this post, there’s a good chance you are a leader in the professional world, so this idea may best pertain to your company or small business.
Think about your business. You likely examine closely ways to reduce costs and increase sales to improve the bottom-line. With your employees, you track how they are performing by measures that are tied to job descriptions and tasks performed. But, have you given your employees a reason to believe in something greater? Something that will make them not only perform the tasks expected, but to become ambassadors for your business or organization.
If you’re an owner, CEO or VP, it’s likely that you understand and embrace the vision of the company. But think about it, who are the individuals who interact most with your customers and potential customers? If you’re a bank, it’s the tellers and customer service reps. If you’re a nursing home, it’s certified nursing assistants (CNAs) who happen to earn some of the lowest wages in the building. If you’re a municipality, it’s the frontline personnel at the clerk’s office or tax collector’s office. This scenario is duplicated in countless organizations.
Sometimes the best opportunities to grow are within the structure you currently have. There are referrals and there are conversions. Too often we are focused on increasing referrals, capturing market share, while not paying enough attention to our rate of conversion. No matter what business you’re in, if you receive, say, 100 more referrals in a month, but none are converted – that does not improve the bottom line. On the flip side, if you receive no additional referrals per month, but convert at a higher rate – that does increase revenue.
So, here lies the opportunity to be a leader. To provide ownership from the top to the bottom, which itself is an unfortunate metaphor, indeed. Nevertheless, the power of great marketing, messaging and communication – if implemented correctly and consistently – will amplify great leadership, impact company culture and improve the bottom-line.
President of OneEighty Media, Inc., John Krol serves as Director of Accounts and lead communications consultant for this full-service marketing, communications and advertising firm. John’s extensive experience in journalism, broadcasting, public relations, government relations, SEM, community outreach and marketing provides a unique perspective for businesses looking to re-energize and diversify their marketing efforts.