February 24, 2017
How do we get ahead when the future is now?
Gary Vaynerchuk, CEO of VaynerMedia, said something on this very topic that really struck me:
“What's interesting is there is an appetite to not be romantic. And that is a mindset that is extremely attractive and much needed. You can’t be tied to anything right now, it’s just moving too fast.”
The organizations and agencies rising to the top, specifically those executing well done ecommerce strategies, aren’t operating as if they are years ahead, they are operating for “today.” So now I ask, “Who is the digital commerce agency of ‘today’?’” and “Are they capable of advancing their clients’ brands to ‘today?’”
I believe that Elevate represents the digital commerce agency of today because of our entrepreneurial mindset. I believe this mindset has the power to transform organizations. Let me explain a little more about what this could mean for agencies.
Be a little afraid
If your agency is not afraid, you might need to call an emergency meeting with your team to have a moment of self-reflection. The truth is, there are tens of thousands of agencies out there competing for your clients, and guess what, a lot of them are pretty good! Use the fear of failure to become hyper-focused and to fuel your team’s will to succeed. The one disclaimer: Use a healthy level of fear as motivation. No one likes to come to work feeling like “Paranoid Paul” who is afraid of losing his job at a moment’s notice.
Welcome change with open arms
When sailing to the promised land of “solution and innovation,” sometimes we need to be willing to change the course. Cultivating this mindset not only within the walls of your agency but within your client relationships should be a non-negotiable. When designing digital commerce experiences and/or strategies, you have to be able to adapt and you have to do it quickly. Believe in the power of flexible processes and iterative design, and find a way to make your client believe in them too. It’s important to get your client’s product out there, listen to the users, listen to the data and move forward with a strategic approach through iteration and continued testing.
Yesterday’s idea might not be today’s answer. Trust me when I say that, as a type A project manager, the first time I heard this I clutched my project plan, found a spot in the corner and nearly cried. But the truth is, becoming emotionally attached to an idea, a design, a process, or even a strategy just isn’t feasible for today’s world. When the users tell us they want something different, we need to listen, take action, and recover quickly. Leave your ego at the door — we can’t all know everything (except for my Dad, I swear he knows everything).
Listen to each other
Know what you know and know what you don’t know. This stuff is complicated and it’s always changing. Listen to what other people in your industry and outside of your agency have to say about it. I have found that by going outside of the comfort zone of your own agency, you may find answers to problems you didn’t know you had. Make a conscious effort to get out there and see what industry thought leaders are saying.
Being on the agency side of the digital commerce world, I can testify that cultivating this entrepreneurial mindset can be challenging, but it is worth it. Believe in your people and your organization’s purpose. My final thoughts — Live in today, learn from today, and you’ll be ready to meet tomorrow head on.