This post is by Stephan Argent, President of Marketing and Agency Search advisory Listenmore, and a member of the Marketing FIRST Forum, the global consulting collective co-founded by TrinityP3.
How passionate are you about your business? I’m talking passion here. Not enthusiasm. Not expertise. Not smarts. But passion.
Whatever your business, those who knock it out of the proverbial park typically have a fire within them that can only be described as a ‘passion’ for what they do and what they believe in.
And I think I’ve got history on my side here – take a look at some of those who’ve exuded passion and how successful they became:
- Richard Branson – Founder of the Virgin empire – passionate about entertainment and air travel paving the way for commercialising space.
- Walt Disney – From animation to voice acting to film production and the creation of Mickey Mouse – a passion for illustration led to the creation of some of best-known films and theme parks on the planet.
- Thomas Edison – From the invention of light bulbs to motion picture cameras – passionate about transforming lives through invention.
- Henry Ford – Founder of the Ford Motor Company – passionate about manufacturing which led to the development of the assembly line.
- Steve Jobs – Co-founder and saviour of Apple – passionate about simplifying computer technology for all.
- Wilbur and Orville Wright – from printing presses, machinery and bicycle manufacturing to flight – passionate interest in balance led to the first flight of an airplane and the birth of flight.
But when it comes to marketing, we’re seeing more fear than passion. With the CMO’s average tenure still lurking around 43 months, marketers aren’t passionate – they’re worried, stretched, short on marketing cash and in hot pursuit of market share and results. And agencies are equally worried, stretched, squeezed and under pressure to deliver faster and cheaper than ever before.
Even if you wanted to, passion isn’t something that can be faked – it has to be discovered from within and unleashed. Anything less comes across as hollow and rarely succeeds the way genuine passion does as our southern neighbours are about to find out.
So what about marketers and their agencies? What qualities exude passion in our industries for our customers, our clients and our followers? Here are a few that might resonate:
Nothing exudes passion more than honesty. Telling it like it is because you want to create a better product, experience or service, or because you believe passionately that your point of view is going to help your client drive their business can be intoxicatingly powerful.
Unfortunately we don’t see enough of it. Marketers too often bury things in mice-type and agencies are often forced to dilute brilliant thinking into watered down work because that’s what the client (thinks) they want.
Inc. ran a great article on Virgin Hotels describing their philosophy of striving to ‘never say no’ to requests and eliminating outrageous charges for things like in-room snacks – a great example of being so passionate about your service that you’ll do whatever it takes to communicate that to your customers.
A laser-like focus on your goals that isn’t clouded by personal or corporate agendas or profit but focused on your employees, customers or clients, transfers the powerful energy that passion generates outwards towards them – not inwards.
If you’re passionate about something you’ll live and breathe whatever it is until you understand every nuance of your passion. If your customer or client then asks you for your thoughts or point of view you’re going to instill them with absolute confidence because you’ll know specifications, pitfalls, pros and cons better than anyone else.
Embrace being wrong
Whether you look at someone like Edison who came up with 999 ways not make a light bulb, or Henry Ford who went bankrupt twice before founding the Ford Motor Company, or even Walt Disney who was fired by a newspaper editor because he ‘lacked imagination and had no good ideas…’ they had enough passion to embrace being wrong but to pick things up and try again.
Love what you do
You can’t be passionate about what you’re doing if you don’t love what you’re doing. If you don’t love what you do – don’t waste your time trying to convince others you’re passionate or that you have the right product or service for them – because (sorry to break it to you) you don’t.
What are you passionate about? And who’s passionate on your business? Because as E.M. Forster put it: ‘One person with passion is better than forty people merely interested.’
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