Part 3 of 3. See part 1 and 2

Your marketers either need to create a fire or be fired.

If you have uninspired and uninspiring marketing professionals on your team, be warned. Give him or her one chance to kick into high gear. Then act decisively. Fire them if they cannot change tempo. Be bold and be emboldened.

Marketers are responsible for both your commercial success and the esprit de corps of your culture. If you grant the requisite authority to marketing to create tangible value to your organization, it is the role’s passion that will help make downstream sales, quicken upstream decisions, and improve water cooler morale.

Think of passion as the core fabric weaving together the corporate psyche, your golden thread. It takes real passion to find this thread, seize it, and use it as an organizing principle to align all of a company’s experiences into a form of synchronicity.

Begin by hiring smart. Discover what really excites candidates—as this reservoir will carry them over the driest days. Ideally, look for those with a cunning mix of skill and native talent.

Hire for drive more than experience, if you have to choose one. If you locate someone who has learned from the streets, make an offer on the spot. These are rare birds.

At the risk of being overly autobiographical I will offer an illustrative vignette. I learned marketing and business best practices by playing in bands in high school and college more so than any book or class. Here’s what we did:

  1. We established the mission, goals, and objectives of the organization: from the ethos of the band, to the sound, to the details—we would be an all original band, for example, writing at least four songs a month.
  2. We created the product: the band sound, the sensibility, the look.
  3. We made sure we had the best talent available to us to augment our product and business: from extra musicians to sound technicians to doormen—every role mattered.
  4. We crafted the branding: name, logo, style guide, tone of voice.
  5. We benchmarked pricing for shows, CDs, and tickets.
  6. We chose the right setting when selecting a venue.
  7. We used a mix of PR and marketing, selecting places where we knew our audience would see our brand. In this case, we hung up flyers at certain intersections and shops, sent PR to radio and newspaper outlets, and identified key influencers who could help us attract more people.
  8. We established a post-mortem feedback loop where we would analyze what worked and make adaptive improvements where needed.
  9. We practiced a lot, making a shared commitment to grow and develop as individuals and as a team.
  10. Most important, every encounter with the band was a branded encounter, imbued with a palpable sense of character. A golden thread was woven through every interaction, every sighting, everything. We provided a continuum of experience. It mattered to us to make it matter to others. Our sweat and focus ensured results.

Business leaders, ask yourself this question: is your marketing team or agency partner sweating on your behalf?

If not, enjoy the Muzak of mediocrity.

Did you know that scientific evidence shows your creativity decreases over time

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Michael speaks and publishes frequently on topics of innovation, corporate culture, and sustainable business growth. In addition to being a weekly columnist for INC. Magazine and Innovation Excellence, he is a published author and a co-founder of the Memphis Innovation Bootcamp. After years of advising over 100 companies from mid-size to Fortune 500, Michael has a wealth of learning to offer.

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