The single most important factor to building a successful business is profitable growth. Period. Flashback five years ago and a slightly greener, and more idealistic version of myself, might have argued that relationships, culture, giving back, or just growth (revenue) was most important for my early stage business. I was wrong. Profit! My business needs profit! A friend and business advisor told me “Alex — profit is the lifeblood of your company, and will allow you to do all the other things you want to do — employ more people, pay them well, and make a difference in their lives and the communities we touch.” I now wholeheartedly agree with this, and I believe that this mindset is a big part of what is making, and will make, Grit successful in the long run. This mindset is what will allow us to do the aforementioned things such as giving back, creating culture, and making a difference in the lives of my teammates and community.
As a marketing agency, we have the privilege of taking a peek inside many different organizations as we partner with them. Whether they are selling jewelry or washing windows, each business is trying to do the same thing...make profit! How they use that profit may differ, but they are all after it. (Be on the lookout for future thoughts I’ll share on dreaming together as a north star for our client relationships). Sadly, it seems to me that many agencies and in-house marketing departments have fallen in love with the work, and not the goal.
We see great work all around us, and we're tempted to keep our eyes on it at all times. Ask a creative on our team, and they might toss you a line like “Designing for Dribble,” and our digital team might allude to “inflating your impressions.” The temptation to chase these vanity metrics is relentless. With the mass availability of social media, and digital marketing data at your fingertips, it’s easy to fall in love with things that aren't the real goal. Just a reminder...it’s profit.
Now, not every project we work on is the end all be all profit driver. Sometimes we are only working on a piece of a bigger initiative, but that doesn’t change the fact that we have a responsibility to each and every client to help align ourselves to their profit goals. It’s an agency's job to do everything in their power to help organizations grow responsibly — after all, without profit does anything else really matter? Without it, our clients aren’t going to be able to employ their team, help their customers, or impact their communities.
In 2020 we launched our Growth Takes Grit™ Campaign, both internally as a team mantra, and externally as a communication to current and prospective clients. We can’t help the self-serving nature of the campaign (we are marketers afterall), but seriously, driving profitable growth takes serious grit! And marketing for profitable growth does too.
Nowadays, there are more ways than ever to spend marketing dollars, and more scrutiny from internal stakeholders to measure the effectiveness of each dollar and justify your budget. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google will happily take your money and let you run an ad. They make their money no matter what. I mean, yes, all of those platforms are working hard to serve the right results to the right people, but they also aren’t saying no to anyone’s money.
So whether you’re an agency, or working in-house for a brand, I want to encourage you to remember that your ultimate goal as a marketer is not to generate awareness or buzz or traffic alone, but to drive profitable growth. Yes, other business functions are involved and might close the deals, but that doesn't give us an excuse to puff ourselves up with metrics that don’t matter. Focus on profit. Demand and find the data you need to align yourself with that goal, and don’t be afraid to test and experiment. If I know that my marketing team is focused on profit and nothing else, I promise as a business owner, I’ll fight for, support, and empower them to the best of my ability.
If you are looking for an agency that cares as much about the bottom line as you do, give us a call, because we know that Growth Takes Grit™ — especially when it has to be profitable.