Derek Gerber is the global marketing director at Active PDF, the leading global provider of automated, server-side PDF tools. Derek...
So just the other day, I got an email where someone was asking me, “What are some of the most difficult challenges or decisions you have to make every day as a leader?” And I was trying to think like if there was a way to categorize like, what are those difficult decisions, and then how am I handling, and then how are maybe other marketing leaders handling them? And it became obvious, really transparent to me, that some of the most difficult decisions I make is really just saying no to things.
And so really what’s important and what I’ve caught on to is my role here as a marketing leader, even as just a business leader of this organization, is to really focus people and connect the dots. And so I think some of the most important things that I’m looking at every day is, what do we not need to be doing? And as silly as that sounds, it’s really really important. So from an operational level, which SEO tactics should we not still be doing? Which ones are having diminishing marginal returns? From a paid level, are SKAGs still working? Are single keyword ad groups actually being effective? Do we need to reassess that? So what can we say no, to stop doing, and then what can we say no, to not start doing?
A lot of times in marketing, for example, you’ll be doing three or four tactics and they’re kind of not working that great, and so instead of perfecting those three or four campaigns and those tactics, those things you’re doing, we try to add a fifth, and a sixth, and a seventh. And hopefully, think that from this additive approach, if we can just add more and do more, we’re going to get more results. And what I found is, the reality is, the more campaigns we run does not equal more opportunities, deals, and revenue. And so really what, you know, I’m trying to do is, in the decisions I’m making every day is, how do we go deeper into the very few things that we have found work for us? How do we perfect those? How do we keep going deeper, so that we know what to say no to?
And on the opposite side of that spectrum, there are some very important things that I think we need to say yes to. So we need to say no to things that are additive and guessing, things that don’t align with our vision, things that distract us, those are the things that I think we really need to be great about saying no to. And some of the things that, I think, daily I’m trying to say yes to are systems and structures that empower people to reach our corporate vision, by really understanding, “Okay, does this system, does this structure, does this policy that we currently have, is it actually empowering and thrusting us forward, and driving us towards our vision, and allowing each person in the organization to operate within our mission, our vision, and our values?”
And if we don’t have something to do that, that’s something I need to say yes to. We need to build that system for our directors. We need to build that model for our directors, build that structure. So I think, you know, some of the most difficult decisions that I’m faced with are saying no to things that could work, that I’m excited about, that I just need to be patient with, so that we can get there. And then some of the things that I have to say yes to, I’m working on saying yes to even faster, are systems and structures that allow for more freedom so that people can execute on our vision individually so that together we get there.
Hopefully, this helps you in just understanding at least what we’re looking at here, and what we’re saying yes to, and what we’re saying no to, so you can make better decisions as well. Thanks.