By Kimberly Jones, President & CEO
As the newly appointed leader of one of the fastest growing private companies in the United States, I’m welcoming 2020 with open arms and a watchful eye.
Our industry—media, analytics, and creative—continues to evolve at lightning speed and shows no signs of standing still. Those who cannot adapt to meet shifting expectations quickly become irrelevant. The key to delivering true value in the new year? Be agile. Be alert. Here’s how Butler/Till plans to do it and how you can, too:
Embrace technology to operate faster, better, and cheaper.
As we enter a new decade, many marketing organizations still grapple with digital transformation, yet globally, more than half say driving growth through digital transformation is their number one strategic focus for the year. Fifty-five percent will embrace technology for more effective audience segmentation and targeting and we will continue to see a significant uptick in the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and automation to analyze vast amounts of customer data to pinpoint likely targets and craft more customized content to engage them.
Butler/Till has made significant investments in technology infrastructure, including new industry-leading software, AdTech solutions, and new servers. That data has improved our successes by illustrating what works and where we need to optimize for better results. The technology has also revealed new opportunities for us, expanding the reach of programs and improving targeting. Perhaps most importantly, it has freed our people to do more meaningful work by revamping workflows and eliminating mundane tasks that take up their valuable time.
Invest in talent.
Today’s talent market is tight; and it won’t improve anytime soon. Employment for marketing professionals is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations this year, while unemployment rates remain at record lows. Marketers—and tech professionals, engineers, and data analysts who are now highly desired additions to marketing teams—are in high demand. Many can handpick jobs and they know that making multiple moves within a career is no longer the résumé killer it used to be. Attracting and retaining top talent must be a top priority—our businesses and our clients depend on it.
Despite the competitive market and inevitable turnover, Butler/Till has grown from 150 employees in 2019 to 170 employees currently, helping us earn a spot on the Inc. 5000 for seven consecutive years. We got here by being an innovator. We brought recruiting in-house and worked hard to build a strong corporate reputation and brand to appeal to the talented people we want to work with.
Hiring, however, is only half the battle. The real work comes with investing in those hard-earned employees. We became an employee-owned business, creating a passionate ownership culture that reduces turnover, increases productivity, and maximizes results. We also became a Certified B Corporation, committed to humanitarian efforts, including community volunteer time-off, a company matching gifts program, annual humanitarian trips, and a commitment to environmental stewardship.
You want your employees to feel invested and essential to their team, and to feel good about coming to work. No matter your model, provide mentorship, foster leadership, and make sure each member feels he or she is adding value to the organization and to its greater purpose.
Modernize and be ready to evolve again and again.
Gone are the days of media planning and buying agencies helmed by creatives with lofty ideas. To succeed in today’s market, you have to help your clients solve their most vexing problems, often before they even know that they have them. Collaboration—so that you see the problem from every angle and have an arsenal of solutions at your disposal—is critical.
If you have them, knock down organizational silos. Be willing to overhaul your business and restructure to provide specializations—client service, digital and analytical experts, for instance—linked by a common thread and a mutual goal of continually evolving to meet changing needs.
Go where the business is. We are breaking ground on new headquarters in Rochester, NY this year, and also plan to double our satellite office in NYC to accommodate growing client needs in what has become known as the Pharma Corridor in NJ.
Know what success looks like to you.
As President and CEO, I have clearly defined goals for 2020: year-over-year growth and increased profitability, yes, but as a leader, my true success comes from helping my colleagues succeed.
We can’t reach success without first imagining it. So, I start each new year with a team meeting focusing on what success means to each member. Does your team want to master new capabilities? Earn an award for their work? Win new clients?
Getting there is about taking that ambition and preparing for it. Set goals, understand what motivates, and make a plan to get where you want to be. Also know that it’s not always a linear path. Build in flexibility so you can explore unexpected opportunities that may turn out to be your most rewarding wins.
Cheers to the New Year!
2020 promises to be an exciting year for marketers, as our work continues to impact the way businesses engage with their customers and fortify their bottom lines. Leveraging the valuable lessons we’ve learned and the powerful new tools at our disposal, we can deliver customized, innovative capabilities that produce clear-cut business results.