Consider this: the most important marketing job you have as a leader is to your internal customers. Do you know who those customers are? They are your team. They are the people you influence each day. Now that might not be all that revolutionary until you start thinking about how much marketing is involved in leadership.
I know, I know. It sounds unrelated but hear me out: I have three main points that I want to make today that connects the process of marketing to the function of leadership.
Know Your Customer (Team)
First, here’s a marketing principle that underscores everything you do: know your customer. And not just a little. Think about how refined a marketer’s knowledge is about their customer. The ones who do this very well not only have their customer in mind, they know specifics about them: age, income, homeowner/renter, transient or temporary location, number of children, married/divorced/single, hobbies/interests, how they spend their free time/hobbies/interests, where they like to vacation, how they travel (drive/rail/air/cruise), character traits (analytical, impulsive, methodical), personality profile (DISC, MBTI, Inneagram), the list is endless. most importantly, they know the customer’s problem/pain
The point here is that the marketer knows as much as she can about the target customer. Why? Because, any of them worth their salt have spent inordinate amounts of time with that customer understanding their needs, wants and desires. Aspirations, hopes, and dreams are just part of the package. It doesn’t mean that the marketer satisfies each of these, but knows how her product brings relief to the pain the customer is experiencing.
Can you see the connection for the leader? My guess is that if you have been listening to this podcast for even just a few weeks, you understand how important it is to know as much as you can about your team. And a marketer is vested in making her customer’s life better. As a leader, your role is to make the lives of each team member better. You are paving the way for them to work at an optimal level. It’s more than chess, but no less strategic: you are positioning the team member to win and because they win, you win, the team wins, and the company wins.
Do you know the personal, professional and financial goals of each team member? Have you given them a cause that’s bigger than themselves? Do you care? If you don’t, then your approach will return the same results as the inefficient marketer. Paltry. You will blame competitors, the market, other groups in your organization, even your customers themselves. You will think they are ignorant, tight, uninformed, uninteresting, and ultimately of little value.
I hope this isn’t ringing any bells for you. Every marketer knows that each customer has inherent value. You want the customer to become a true fan. Even a limited number of true fans can be overwhelmingly valuable. And I’m not talking just dollars. The customer is the reason for your existence! If it wasn’t for them, then there would be no you! The marketer gets to remove an obstacle or meet a need, allowing the customer to experience a level of satisfaction they could never have experienced without the marketer’s intervention.
Man, this should excite you. When you know your market, you know how to satisfy your customer’s needs BETTER than anyone else. As a leader, this means you lead so well, others want to join you. The best team members come to you because they understand the symbiotic nature of your relationship (you both benefit). They know that if you work there, then that company is one worth joining! You must look for such extreme clarity that it leads you to creativity. It’s up to you to create the opportunities. The deep knowledge of each member of your team allows you to develop a path, a challenge, growth opportunities that could never have been presented if you didn’t understand them to this level.
How well do you know your team? Do you know what makes them tick? What are they passionate about? Do you know what they live for? What motivates them (their love language)? What do they want and why do they want it? Think about this: Jay Abraham, yes, THE Jay Abraham, says that the reason “why” is the marketing wonder drug. When you understand the very most fundamental motivation, you have secured the most fundamental competitive advantage. He says you have to fall in love with them, and do what’s best for THEM! ALWAYS! This builds relational capital.
The Most Valued And Trusted Advisor
So, this leads to the second main point. In order for the marketer to make the desired impact in the customer’s life, he has to achieve a level of relationship with the customer that only comes from a demonstrated interest in what the customer values. Therefore, this is the pinnacle of the marketer’s relationship with the customer: to be viewed as a most valued and trusted advisor. Think about that for a moment. How many people in your life do you truly value and trust? What is it that facilitated their ability to achieve that most honored position in your life?
I suspect it sounds something like this: they demonstrated care and concern for you that exceeded any self-serving interest that they had in you. In other words, you matter so much to them that even if they would personally benefit from misleading you, they would NEVER do that. Even if their dreams could become a reality, they would never consider betraying your trust for their gain. Every word they speak is spoken in absolute honesty. They refuse to risk the relationship over some insignificant, inconsequential, or temporary gain when viewed in light of the investment it took to get here with you.
There’s nothing short term about this. Obviously, you are in it for the long haul. Not disposable. Jay’s caution: you must never sell out to make a buck. How do you know when you are at risk? When you stop caring about making anyone’s life better but your own. When you reach that stage, watch-out…a sell out is coming! And, if you don’t remember anything else from this episode, I want you to remember how hard it is to become a most valued and trusted advisor. If you sell out your integrity, you will never be able to get it back. Don’t forget this.
Agent Of Hope
Finally, big point number three: you are an agent of hope. When you walk into a room, hope comes with you. Will you always be able to affect the kind of change that you wanted? Of course not. But agents of hope don’t let outcomes discourage them from bringing their best each and every time. Jay says it’s your job to bring passion, purpose, and possibility EVERY time. When you gather your team, there’s an anxious anticipation about what’s possible. No dread. No fear. Instead, optimism. Excitement. Adrenaline. Confidence.
So let’s recap:
- Know your team
- Become a most valued and trusted advisor, and
- Be an agent of hope who brings passion, purpose, and possibility
Can you feel yourself getting excited? These are small changes that you can make in your approach to leading your team. But each small change has massive potential. Potential to create the elite team and environment that you have always dreamed of. The reason why tomorrow will be better than today is that you will be there and you will make it better!
Resources Mentioned In This Episode:
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