Many marketing companies struggle with building a solid company culture that translates into effective results for the clients they serve. Although it is common to have marketing agency core values, not all organizations have cracked the code on how to embody these values. Without a strong internal culture, these businesses can lack the foundation needed to support any of their clients’ goals.
KWSM has been in the digital marketing business since 2010 and has successfully served thousands of clients. This success is not just because of the team of talented individuals. Long-term success in a challenging environment has come from building a business rooted in a set of marketing agency core values designed to improve both internal culture and external relationships with clients.
As a Senior Digital Marketing Strategist, I have truly seen the benefits of working at a people-first company that makes every effort to live out marketing agency core values. In this blog, I will share specifically how the core value “communicative” plays a vital role in building a strong internal team and directly impacts client relationships and the success of marketing strategies.
Let’s start with defining what being communicative means here at KWSM.
Defining Marketing Agency Core Values: Communicative
Communication is the foundation of an effective team. According to Forbes, 50% of workers say poor communication greatly impacts productivity.
At KWSM, we focus on practicing radical candor to openly share how we are feeling and what is going on both personally and with clients to find a resolution to the challenges we are facing. This radical vulnerability breaks down the barriers many businesses face with their internal communications because it is based on speaking honestly with empathy and respect. It also gives each person on the team access to all levels of the organization.
Unlike other companies, our CEO attends our meetings and makes herself available to speak with anyone on the team. Our VPs and directors are present in both internal and client meetings to support each member of the staff. And radical candor allows these relationships to thrive because they are built on full transparency and trust.
Let’s break down further how open communication successfully works both internally and externally by reviewing three fundamental behaviors.
1. Communicate Openly About Workload and Career Goals
As mentioned above, radical candor is a form of dialog that opens the lines of communication at all levels of an organization. With nearly a decade of marketing experience, I am used to the ebbs and flows that come with this industry. Communicating openly with leadership can help to better manage this rollercoaster of marketing needs.
For example, one eCommerce logistics client I served ramped up all their marketing mid-summer to prepare for the holiday shipping and fulfillment demands. The campaign our team developed supported eCommerce sellers who needed a secure warehouse to ship from and a reliable partner who would get their holiday orders out on time.
During this time period, I shared my client’s goals with the team internally and was able to get all the help I needed from every level of the agency to create assets, build the strategy, and executive this campaign effectively. Failure to openly communicate with my team would have potentially resulted in missed deadlines and planted seeds of doubt in my clients’ minds about our agency’s ability to get results.
“As a creative, it is essential to have clear communication in order to get any deliverables done accurately and efficiently. Since ‘Communicative’ is one of KWSM’s marketing agency core values, our team is extremely diligent in providing us as much detail and explanation for each task so the web team can turn around projects without the need for extensive clarification.”
– Matt Cancilla, Web Designer, KWSM
This leads to the second part of this behavior which connects to communicating about career goals. Not only is it crucial to share what’s going on with clients weekly with your manager or leadership team but it’s also important to talk about the direction of your career.
For example, as I was serving this eCommerce client, I realized the areas of marketing I was truly passionate about. Then, I was able to share the vision of my career with my manager to better align my current work to support that goal. In turn, this led to my promotion as a Senior Digital Marketing Strategist and lead on client accounts.
2. Exhibit Clear Communication Both Internally and Externally in Written and Verbal Methods
Communication can come in many different forms. From phone calls to emails to instant messages and in-person meetings, clear communication is the key to being successful. This practice of radical candor gives team members the confidence to have open communication internally and externally for both written and verbal channels. This applies to both positive and potentially challenging conversations.
One of the biggest communication challenges many face is understanding how to say what’s important concisely. Organization of thoughts plays a vital role in communicating clearly. Let’s look at email communication first.
Over the years, I have learned to start my emails with the most important information because I know that at least a quarter of recipients scan emails. If I bury the facts or details they need at the bottom, my questions will never get answered. This could lead to chains of emails that may eventually solve the challenge I brought up.
I recommend starting with the question you have at the top and then following up with a few bullets on the key information you need to share. This method has worked well both internally and externally with the clients I serve.
Verbal communication can be thought of in the same manner. Think about the longest conversations you’ve had. At some point, you hoped someone would land the plane. Now think about how others feel about conversations with you. Are they also saying “Just get to the point already!” Clear and concise communication can benefit everyone you speak with and allow for more positive interactions. Both parties will leave discussions with a list of action items or a clear direction of where to go next.
3. Become Adept at Explaining Work to Clients and Explaining Client Goals to the Team
Clients in every industry have one thing in common – they all want to be heard and understood. That’s why communication is so crucial and can make or break a client relationship.
Our strong client relationships are created by practicing active listening and openly sharing expertise and recommendations. As a marketer, open communications allows me to ask my clients specific questions about their goals, challenges, and vision of their business. It also allows me to confidently provide feedback on the client’s ideas as well and share performance data – both positive and negative – because this open communication has allowed me to develop trust over time.
On the other side of the coin, open communication plays a vital role internally as well. As an account lead, I am the gatekeeper for both my clients and my internal team. It’s my job to share my clients’ goals with my team and fight for the success of each client’s business. This means I must have a full understanding of my clients’ needs and can clearly communicate what should happen with the rest of the team to meet those goals.
“Having strong written and verbal communication skills is essential in the account lead role. Since I serve as the liaison between my clients and all of KWSM’s departments, I have to be able to communicate the client’s needs to my teams and communicate all of our recommendations back to the client in order to steer the ship of their digital marketing plan well. It takes knowing your clients and your team and how they respond best to different means of communication, and a commitment to learning new skills so you can explain different services to clients, even if you’re not the individual doing the technical work.”
– Meredith Ashburn, Senior Digital Marketing Strategist, KWSM
Are you interested in joining the KWSM Team?
We want to work with people who are uncommonly organized and excited about digital marketing! If you have the ability to keep your projects on task and roll up your sleeves to serve our clients, we might be the work-family you’re looking for!
Click Here to learn more about KWSM careers.