I’ve always understood the importance of online marketing. Today, if you don’t have a website, potential customers are not only puzzled, but they also begin to question the trustworthiness of your company.
However, I know that my knowledge is wholly incomplete and that my efforts as a CEO would be wasted in divesting too much time focusing on the day-to-day of marketing. That’s why I put complete faith in my team and let them work their magic. I hope that the following advice and reasoning will help you reach the same level of understanding.
1. You’ve hired trustworthy people who know more than you do to get the job done.
Steve Jobs famously said, “It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.” I believe in a hands-off approach with a lot of the operations when it comes to being a C-level employee, but especially with the marketing team.
These are people who look at the landscape of your website performance and competitors’ tactics and can make strategic decisions about where you need to start appearing online. More importantly, they probably understand the target customer even more than, say, your salespeople. The job of the digital marketer is to know exactly what potential customers are looking at online before they even know they might want or need your product/service. This insight lends a much more unique understanding.
Because of their distinct knowledge of what is actually out there, what our audience is looking at and how to get our name where it needs to be, I let our marketing team tell me what I need to be spending and where it is going to be spent, and then I wait for the results.
To build this level of trust, it’s imperative to hire the correct candidates for your marketing team. Here are some of the things I make sure to speak with candidates about during their interview process:
• After explaining to them what our company does, and what our message is, I ask them to speak freely about what they envision our voice sounds like, and what they might like to implement should they become a part of our team.
• I ask them to explain something to me — anything — and try to teach me about it in two minutes or less.
• I ask them to tell me about a failure they’ve experienced in marketing a product, and what they learned from that mistake.
None of these ideas is completely original, but I find that if a person can speak about a topic and come up with some viable ideas in a conversation, then they are definitely creatively intelligent. I especially like to ask people to explain something to me as if I know nothing about it. This lets me see if they can deliver a message to an audience effectively, in the simplest way possible. Attention spans are short, and marketers need to capture readers quickly. I also like to see if a candidate’s ego will get in the way of bettering the company image. If they can’t name a failure, then they are either lying and too proud to admit their mistake (which is dangerous inside of any company), or they simply don’t have enough experience.
Being the savvy businessperson that you are, you should still engage with your marketers on a higher level to understand acquisition costs, which channels are working better for the company, and where the team can be focusing more of its time, energy and spend from there. In this way, you can still be an effective leader by helping your team understand what they’ve done well or what hasn’t been working as well as you’d hoped.
I meet with my marketing team once per month. They show me the data of our website’s performance, our audience, our total spend and any other information that will help me understand their performance. We talk about their wins and losses so we can communicate our plans for moving forward. The team has built a really great report that lets me see a high-level overview, and then we just talk about everything. The team takes notes, and I monitor their performance from month to month.
2. Digital marketing takes time, which you don’t have a lot of.
A good friend of mine, who is also a client of ours, said this regarding his marketing and search engine optimization: “The stuff that gets you to the first page — the really technical stuff — that cannot be you. The message you portray, and the way you represent yourself, that has to be you.” I could not agree with his statement more.
As an executive, your main focus should be on keeping the company running smoothly, providing excellent customer service and making sure that your message to potential customers reflects what you strive to achieve. Leave the technical things that make you rank No. 1 on Google to the experts you’ve hired. This mindset can be applied to every department.
Making sure your employees are empowered to make better decisions, supporting their advancement in relevant knowledge and monitoring their achievements is the best way I know how to be a CEO. It keeps my people happy, motivated and eager to impress. Always make sure to ask those on the front lines what is really happening in terms of your business. They’re the ones directly interacting with your customers.