The Elephant in the Agency Room

As entrepreneurs, so often we don’t let go - of anything. We control the finances, products, services, sales and marketing. I am sure if there was some research available, it would say that most entrepreneurs of small businesses are control freaks.
When they learn to let go, that’s when they really start to see how their business can work better and be more successful.

Although I own a national marketing firm and have learnt to let go of certain things, I still fall into the fatal trap of thinking that it’s easier if I do some things rather than delegate it down the line.

Yesterday, our client was given an opportunity. They wanted to spend $2,000 on an advertisement for Saturday’s newspaper. Unfortunately, due to deadlines, they couldn’t get in the section that they needed to be in. A Marketing Eye account manager worked through this with the newspaper and there was absolutely no way that they were going to budge and let it slip through the cracks.

By the time I found out about this it was 3pm in the evening. So, I picked up the phone to the newspaper and explained that our new client had to be in Saturday’s newspaper and it had to be in the right spot. They only had $2,000 to spend, so if they were interested in potentially an advertisement every week, then it was integral that it was placed where and when the client required.

They came back with solutions like “spend $4,000 and we can make it happen” and “commit to 12 months”  - nothing that would fly with our client or that I was willing to commit to on their behalf. I stuck to my guns and in the end, the newspaper was acutely aware (because I told them) that another advertising executive for online editorials was meeting with the client on Monday and they would probably end us with no advertising at all.

So, they came to the party. An advertisement, 4 times the size for the same price as they were willing to pay - on the back page (prime positioning!!!). Client was over the moon. Who wouldn’t be? They saved $5000!!!!

Next step. We didn’t have an advertisement and by this time we had only 2 hours to go. Between the Account Manager and the Creative Director, they could have come up with something but…. I couldn’t let go. I didn’t want to ‘risk’ (which is not a risk at all because this is what these people do all day long) not having the perfect advertisement for the client. So, I took over the entire process - off a very capable person, just so I could finish the job.

The problem with people like me as a friend reminded me last night, is that we don’t allow people around us in the workplace to discover solutions for themselves. If our very capable account manager had finished the job himself, he would have come back to me very proud of his achievements.

In reality, he could have done a better job. I just didn’t give him the opportunity.

To generate great marketing ideas, entrepreneurs need to;
  1. To open to discussion
  2. Share with others the creative process
  3. Ask everyone to contribute from the person who answers the telephone to the delivery boy
  4. Let go of their preconceived ideas
  5. Have fun with it. Sit down with a few bottles of wine or a game of twister and engage everyone who works for you in the process.

Generating great marketing ideas is about being open to letting it happen. Although I might have a great idea, the accounts person may have a better one!

Marketing Eye

Marketing Eye is Australia’s largest marketing consultancy firm for small to medium sized businesses. We help businesses grow through marketing delivering ways to increase sales, improve brand awareness and give clients a compelling reason to buy. To find out more

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Mellissah Smith

Mellissah Smith is a marketing expert with more than 20 years experience. Having founded and built two successful marketing companies internationally, she is well recognized as a industry thought leader and innovator. Mellissah started her career working with technology and professional services firms, primarily in marketing, public relations and investor relations, positioning a number of successful companies to list on the various Stock Exchanges around the world. She is a writer, technology developer and entrepreneur who shares her thoughts and experiences through blogs and written articles published in various media outlets. Brag sheet: #2 marketer to follow on Twitter (2003), Top 150 Marketers to Follow (2015), Top 10 innovative marketers (2014), 60K+ followers on Twitter with 97% authentic.

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