Every week, I meet founders of companies and CEOs like myself who are struggling with something we don’t like to talk about. It’s the reality of how we’re driving our own internal marketing. Like it or not, we are our own clients.
You might think this shouldn’t be an issue for people in our situation. Of all the specialists in our organizations, shouldn’t we know what’s best for our own brands? And yet, it’s still a struggle to practice what we preach.
In the last two years, I realized how much I needed to own up to engaging the marketing strategies I was imploring my own clients to adopt. I began to see the unique perspective I held at Fervor as a founder and CEO. It was preventing me from objectively treating myself like I would any other client.
When I started Fervor, I was in the driver’s seat of everything when it came to our internal marketing and branding strategy. From daily social media management to brand management, I felt like my hands were in every piece of the pie. And the trouble was, taking steps towards doing things right felt daunting and exhausting. And I had plenty of excuses for not getting started.
“I’m not sure about the ROI for a Brand Assessment.”
“There are too many options to start employing better marketing tactics.”
“Launching a new website will take years.”
I’ve heard all these excuses and more from everyone — including myself. Yet, what changed the game for me in moving beyond excuses was deciding to engage three main principles. These are principles that center on you releasing control gradually, while pursuing scaled growth in your internal marketing.
Today, I can confidently say these principles have left me in a healthier position to treat Fervor’s internal marketing strategy with balance. These perspectives are something that were hard won at first, and didn’t happen overnight. I have to say though, the results were beyond rewarding.
- Start small, think big.
Don’t be discouraged by all the heavy lifting ahead. Growing your internal marketing isn’t a sprint. Any great health coach or exercise trainer knows this. They see the end results for you, and they design a plan to get you there with small steps. Changing your diet or health doesn’t happen overnight, but it can happen over time when you regularly commit to a few small things at first.
I had to believe the same things too when it came to investing in Fervor’s internal marketing strategy. The first step was ejecting myself from the driver’s seat and allowing my team of creatives to conduct a Brand Assessment of Fervor. We do the same thing for our clients daily. So why hadn’t I started? I was afraid of what I might discover and how much work it would mean for us. But it was the best step, the step that changed everything for us.
We’re now in our second year since finishing Fervor’s Brand Assessment and I don’t regret the investment at all. I paid everyone assessing Fervor the same rate they’re paid for working on our own clients. I listened. I learned. And I took the truths in stride, knowing they would make us better in the long run.
Fervor has a new website now because of this assessment. We have a rock-solid manifesto that defines what we stand for. My team actually lives by it daily. Our content strategy is more consistent, and I rarely touch our social media management these days. But this didn’t happen in a day. It happened gradually because I was willing to take a first small step in lifting some heavy weights regularly.
- Trust the experts in the room.
I’ve seen it before. CEOs handling their own internal marketing strategy become the worst enemy of their own marketing success. When every creative decision has to go through them and they have to be in on every strategic conversation, their trust only goes so far with their team. They may even have an unbreakable pride that is actually counteracting growth. Creative teams feel this suffocating pride and distrust daily, and there’s nothing empowering about it.
Today, I can thankfully say that I’m not in that position at Fervor anymore. Engaging in a Brand Assessment was a major shot to my pride as the founder of Fervor. However, it was the humbling experience I needed to let everyone around me soar. Today, we have a team of experts at Fervor who know way more than me about everything when it comes to our internal marketing strategies. I trust them because it enables me to do what I’m gifted at even better. Sure, I’m still a voice, but I’ve relieved myself of being the only expert. This has brought sweet relief in so many aspects of my life. My family is better for it, and my coworkers take more pride and ownership in everything they do.
If you’ve got experts like this sitting in your organization, or as your partners, help them relieve you of unnecessary ownership you don’t need anymore. Or, think about finding someone else you’re really excited to trust with those responsibilities you’re looking to give away. I promise you: your focus on what’s best for your organization will sharpen, and you’ll experience more holistic rest than ever.
- Strive for good, not perfect.
Here at Fervor, we’re all about doing more good. Seth Godin helped popularize a classic sentiment in business life: perfect is the enemy of the good. I couldn’t agree more, but I’ve also struggled to live this out.
You probably see the biggest struggles your own internal marketing is facing daily. You may envision what it should be, and that perspective is a gift you can use to motivate or exhaust people. After we completed Fervor’s Brand Assessment, I was immediately faced with a clear picture of all we needed to do to. I had an even bigger vision in mind, and I wanted it to blow everyone’s minds. The truth is, I needed to be okay with not executing that vision with perfection immediately.
You see, perfection can often feel elusive. Your website is never done. Your content strategy always deserves more finesse. That video you’re producing could still be refined. But when will it be done? If you don’t draw the line somewhere, your strategy will never find lift-off.
So draw some lines for yourself in your internal marketing goals. Scale down to what’s possible with the time, money and people you have. Set a deadline, get it done and move on. Keep your big perfect vision in view, but don’t let it halt the launch of things that are really good in the meantime too. This is a perspective I’m really proud to see thrive. A lot of our internal marketing is not perfect, but it’s better now. And I’m more than happy to say that about everything these days.