Today's Marketing Cookie reminds me of an important lesson I learned while preparing to be the President of the Boston Chapter of the American Marketing Association. As the President-elect, we had been holding work sessions every Saturday morning for over a year, and most of our time was consumed with what was right in front of us.
There were times when we would think ahead and dream of what we might accomplish, but most of the time, there was work to be done, and we were really focused in that way. I remember it was March of 2008; we had just completed our elections process, and my predecessor and mentor, Steve Halling, asked me what my vision would be as the next President. My vision? I literally hadn't considered it. Not even a little.
After thinking about it for a few days, I called him and rattled off a laundry list of things I wanted to accomplish in the next term. He said, 'That isn't a vision, Myles. That's just a to-do list.'
At the next Saturday morning meeting, he asked me again, 'What is your vision for the Chapter?' Since I had anticipated his question, I was better prepared with a well-rehearsed answer and listed all the things I wanted to improve, optimize, and increase, such as the size of our membership and the quality of our events. He responded, 'That isn't a vision, Myles. That's just a bunch of goals.'
Huh? Now I was puzzled. What the heck is a vision, anyway? So, I went home and looked it up. I don't remember exactly what the actual definition is, but I do remember a specific phrase that turned on the lights for me: 'a vision describes what an organization wants to be.' To BE. What do I want us to BE? And then it came to me—like a vision.
I wanted us to be a connection to marketing.
I wanted us to BE the central hub in Boston where marketers could connect with the chapter, connect with one another, and be more connected to their profession. On the fourth day of my presidency, we launched a new social networking site called 'Connect.' We would allow ALL marketers to join. You didn't need to be a member of the AMA to participate. You only needed to be a marketer.
Our social network grew, and grew, and grew, as did the awareness of our association. It may seem counterintuitive to offer a free and open social network within a paid membership association. However, by virtue of creating an open community, our membership grew, and grew, and grew as well. In fact, our membership grew to its highest level on record—a result I never imagined possible. Over the course of my two terms as President, we had indeed become a connection to marketing for our community.
The truth is, people really just want to be inspired. Without a vision, it is impossible to inspire people. I am grateful for the lesson Mr. Halling taught me about having a vision. If I had only proposed a to-do list or a bunch of goals, there wouldn't have been a vision at all, and my incredible team would have been quite uninspired."
by Myles Bristowe
Today's Marketing Cookie
Learn to speak marketing.
"As long as you only need us on weekdays between 9am to 5pm."
What marketing says:
"We're here when you need us."
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