A Little Advice from Scott Stratten

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One of my first blog posts for the IMC program at WVU was a gentle demand that you listen to the UnPodcast.  Hosts Scott Stratten and Alison Kramer provided a no holds barred approach to marketing.  Having been a fan of their work for a while, I was ecstatic that I would have the opportunity to meet them at ImComm (a marketing conference for the UW System) at which Scott was speaking.  I was thrilled the committee booked him because I felt this audience could really benefit from his message delivered in a very honest and blunt way…and I was right.  As usual, the content had the audience laughing out loud and questioning their marketing tactics in minutes.

ScottStratten

Scott was nice enough to answer a few questions after the presentation.  I racked my brain for days to try to come up with something to ask him.  So, with the knowledge that we are dedicating our lives to IMC and trying to sell it to our employers, I asked the same question I’ve asked 100 times to every IMC professional I’ve ever met.  I asked, “What does it take to get buy-in?”  Scott communicated the importance of finding what motivates people and connecting your selling points to what is important to them. There are no shortage of personality and character tests that are quick to put us into boxes and provide us with a precise bullet point list of tactics for working with each other.  “Personality type Q will best respond to charts, graphs, and 100 page documents outlining all possible solutions.”  Each test has their place, but are we really invested in finding out how to build relationships with our coworkers?  Knowing that many of my friends and coworkers had tried this tactic before I finally asked, “what it if it still doesn’t work?”  To which I received the very honest answer of “get out”….run.

 

If that last line scares you….good.  I always hoped that would never be an option, but for some companies it is never going to happen – and you can’t waste your time and energy.  The uphill battle to sell all of the right people on IMC might not be successful in your organization.  There are some people that will never buy in.  If that’s not something you can live with, you may need to get out. It’s tough to identify the companies that are receptive to IMC, but thanks to great advice by Elliott Nix, we at least have a place to start.

 

I also asked Scott what was important for us as IMC students to know.  He said, “Never stop asking why.  The reason we can’t do things the way they’ve always been done is because we’re dealing with things we haven’t had to deal with before.”  For me, this was an enormous take away from the conference.  We’ve all run head first into the “this is the way it’s always been done” road block, but Scott is right – the issues and challenges we are facing today are different than issues we’ve faced in the past. (Another great conference quote from a different speaker was, “You don’t have time to plan because you’re not planning,” which I thought was perfectly stated.)

 

IMC is not an easy thing to initiate at any company.  It is frustrating and, at least for me, can make you feel crazy at times.  The conference reminded me that we can make a difference, it just takes strategy and patience.  There will be times where the company culture and IMC just don’t mix and we have to move on.  That’s not to say it will never work for that company, but maybe just not right now.  It’s ok for IMC professionals to pick a different battle.  I’ve made it my personal goal to try to ask “why” at least once a day.

 

Are you asking why? What great “why” stories do you have to share?

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