Five Marketing Mantras for Business Leaders (From a Business Leader)

Every business has to work at marketing. After all, when done well, marketing is the fuel that ignites and sustains business growth.  

Because of that – whether you are in the C-suite at a major corporation or the founder of your own company – all business leaders have a role in marketing.

As the owner of my own PR and marketing agency, I live this truth every day. But I’m here to let you in on a little secret. Even as a marketer, I find it challenging to shift from a business-owner mentality to a marketing mindset. And from talking with our clients, I know I am not alone.

As business owners and leaders, we’re emotionally invested in our organizations. We live and breathe to see them grow. And many times, our desire for immediate results makes it hard to step back and understand how we can best support the marketing process.

So, after nearly a decade of running this agency, I’ve finally figured out ways to work on the business instead of in the business. And here, I want to share my favorite 5 mantras that might help you take a step back as a business owner and step up as a marketer.

  1. Give time to get results.
    Even with the most talented and self-directed marketing teams at our backs, we still need to play a role in the big-picture marketing direction. As leaders, we have exclusive insights into our brand history, key market differentiators, competitor analyses, operational strengths and growth goals.

    If the marketing team is the megaphone, we are the ones feeding messages into the mic. And if you’re working with an agency, it will take a bit of time at the start for your account team to get up-to-speed on your brand story. Trust this part of the process. The investment of time will pay off in dividends down the road.

    TIP: To protect your busy schedule, set bi-weekly marketing meetings complete with detailed agendas so you can prepare your responses in advance and your team can get the most out of their one-on-one time with you.

  2. New approaches are necessary.
    As business owners, we’re a driven bunch. But sometimes we fall into the soft trap of doing what we’ve always done. Maybe we maintain the norm for lack of time or manpower. Perhaps a steep learning curve or the fear of failure keeps us from saying “yes” to smart new strategies.

    The media landscape is rapidly evolving and if we plan to keep up we all need to adapt with it. That means building up our marketing presence across multiple channels. It means moving away from singular strategies that may have worked in the past and becoming early adopters of what’s working now.

    TIP: Schedule an offsite brainstorm with your marketing team and ask everyone to bring 3 new ideas to the table they are personally excited about. Have fun, talk it out and select at least one new strategy to incorporate into your current plan.

  3. Good marketing takes time.
    Whenever my team kicks off a new campaign, I get really excited. And in my excitement I want to see results. Like, right now. In those moments, I take a deep breath and tell myself what I tell our clients: Marketing is a marathon. We can’t sprint our way to brand awareness, lead generation, community engagement or conversion. These things require thoughtful visualization, preparation and execution. And once those campaigns are launched, we need to give them time to build momentum and work their magic.

    TIP: If you have a tendency to get impatient and cut projects short before they’ve had a chance to get off the ground, ask your marketing team to map out a realistic timeline for when you should begin to see results. Then, set a group check-in date and stick to it.

  4. Strategies will shift.
    It’s easy to fall in love with initial ideas and not want them to change. But sometimes, after deeper analysis, our marketing teams determine that certain strategies need adjusted to reach the right target audience or achieve established goals. This is normal. Strategies are fluid. And tweaking them doesn’t mean anything went wrong or that the whole campaign is a bust. It just means our marketing teams are smart enough to track their results and savvy enough to know when to make impactful changes to earn better traction.

    TIP: Have your marketing team monitor progress and summarize their key takeaways and recommendations. While we don’t recommend completely ditching a project in its infancy (see “Good marketing takes time”), you should empower your team to modify their approach based on real-time data, experienced insights and industry best practices.

  5. Be careful of “just one more thing”
    It’s easy to think of lists of new projects and ideas for our team to execute. But we have to understand that if we expect our marketing team to significantly shift direction or start executing on a bunch of new tactics, we’ll either have to bump up the overall budget to increase hours or take away something else from our plan. And I’ve yet to meet a business owner who has an unlimited marketing budget (myself included). Scope creep is real—it happens to the best of us. By addressing marketing plan changes as they happen, we can stay on track with spending and help our teams deliver their very best work through a focused, healthy workflow.

    TIP: Gather your team and do a deep dive into your marketing plan and budget on a quarterly basis. Evaluate what tactics are completed, what’s in progress and what pending items can be reprioritized, simplified or removed from the plan altogether.

One of the best parts of my job is talking to other business leaders and owners about their successes, challenges and ways they can make the most out of their marketing efforts. And I’d love to chat with you too. Drop me a line at