Everyone’s a Marketer

by Robin Ferrier on March 25, 2011

The Audience is Missing
Butts in seats

I’m the chair of the PR Committee for the Gaithersburg Book Festival in Gaithersburg, Maryland, on May 21. (Shameless plug here: come to our festival!)

We’re two months out, author recruitment is almost complete and, in the words of our fearless founder/leader, Gaithersburg Councilmember Jud Ashman, now we all should have one common goal: Butts in Seats!

At first, it was just a funny mantra that I would repeat whenever we were in an appropriate setting, but the truth is, Jud’s underlying sentiment is serious.

At any company or organization, every employee should be – needs to be – a marketer.

And as the CEO of the company, it’s your job to make sure that’s the case.

Too many executives forget this… or they never realize it at all.

Sure, you need to have seasoned marketing and PR professionals who are leading the PR/marketing charge. They are the ones doing the strategic planning, writing and distributing press releases and conversing with the media, putting together ad plans and creating your company slogans.

But every employee should be promoting your work. And it’s your job as the company’s leader to make sure every employee knows what he or she needs to know to do so, and do so well.

Some questions to ask yourself:

  • Does every employee know your company slogan, mission, philosophy, etc.?
  • If asked, does every employee know the company’s major initiatives right now?
  • Could each person – from your finance team to your operations staff – speak knowledgeably about what your company is doing?

Thanks to Jud, everyone who is on the Gaithersburg Book Festival planning committee – from the author recruitment committee to the volunteer coordinators to those running the Mayor’s Book Club – knows that the number one goal for this group right now is: Butts in Seats on May 21.

To reinforce his point, he sent a “cheerleading” email this week explaining to everyone on the committee what was so unique about our festival. And he didn’t mince words.

He closed his email with a list of what specifically he’s asking each of us to do to help reach that goal.

The result?

We each may have different, individual tasks throughout the year of planning, but right now, when it matters most, we’re all united under a common goal. And we’re all speaking off the same page as we go forth with our day-to-day responsibilities.

It’s too easy to say the responsibility of marketing falls solely to your marketing department and then to blame marketing when an initiative isn’t successful. Too easy!

While your marketing/PR department or consultant(s) should be the driving force, a good leader realizes that everyone in his/her company has a piece of responsibility when it comes to promoting the company.

And a good leader makes sure the team knows it, feels ownership of the task, and is recognized for his/her efforts in this respect.

Are you a good leader?

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Image: Benjamin Thompson via Flickr, Creative Commons

Robin Ferrier is Communications Manager for the Johns Hopkins University Montgomery County Campus. She is also the immediate past president of the Capital Communicators Group, chair of the PR Committee for the Gaithersburg Book Festival, and chair of the Marketing & PR Committee for Leadership Montgomery. She has inadvertently become a frequent career / professional / job hunt resource for friends and colleagues due to a career path that has included five jobs in 12 years.

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