Try This: Tackle big issues

Marketing Week columnist Thomas Barta offers quick, practical tips to help marketers solve perennial problems and become better leaders.

Thomas Barta Try This

Hard work is appreciated. Or so people hope. That’s why they put in the long hours, go the extra mile, give their best.

But then, things go nowhere. The big meeting gets cancelled, budgets get cut, friendly voices disappear. Working hard is commendable, but it’s just the entry ticket to a game called relevance.

“What matters most?” We sometimes forget to ask this central question. Some months ago, I challenged US marketing managers to write down their CEOs’ top three priorities. We had to break the meeting for calls, so people could fill in the blanks. The group made a disturbing discovery. Not half of their marketing work mattered to the company’s agenda. No surprise their budgets got cut.

Nobody gives you credit for hard work alone. People give you credit for work that matters. No matter what your job description says.

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If you want your work to be meaningful, tackle big issues. Find out what really matters for customers, the company, the community, and yourself. Then, imagine how you could make the biggest contribution.

Here’s the real test. Ask yourself: “Would people happily pay for this?” Nobody likes to pay – unless it matters.

Perhaps you can’t change all your work today. But knowing what matters will set you on the right path. Because know-how is good. But know-why is key.

Thomas Barta is a marketing leadership expert, speaker and the co-author of ‘The 12 Powers of a Marketing Leader’. He has teamed up with Marketing Week to launch the Marketing Leadership Masterclass, a new CPD-accredited online course designed to equip marketers with everything they need to become a better leader. To find out more and book your place visit leadership.marketingweek.com

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