By: Cary Hatch [MDB CEO]
As the principal of an advertising agency celebrating our 30th anniversary, I learned early on that our success is based solely on the value we provide (and continue to provide) for our clients. In our industry (as with most) that means “leaning forward” to pursue knowledge and to examine and vet methods and channels that can advance our clients brands. Period.
I continue to ask our team, partners and vendors one simple question. If we don’t continue to be a renaissance resource in brand leadership, why would anyone hire us? We continue to lead the charge on new and emerging marketing fronts. Including SEM and social media monitoring, among others.
While we take time to reflect on our humble beginnings in 1981 (when MTV was introduced, the IBM PC was announced, and long before the internet) we also relish our growth and diversified services, and numerous business and industry awards. Who knew that we’d be currently leading a national search engine marketing campaign touted by Google as one of the most successful case studies to date, or that we’d have the privilege over the last 30 years to work for brands like Sprint, National Geographic, Boston Market, the DC Lottery, the US Mint and the recently announced International Spy Museum?
It may be luck, pluck or our date of origins good karma…but the fact that we’re still here doing work that works for our clients, is something just short of amazing. As one of the largest independent advertising agencies in Washington DC, we salute our clients and partners, and the many employees over the last three decades who have fueled our success – and the success of the clients we’ve had the good fortune to represent.
Here’s my take on the top 30 lessons learned:
- Believe in yourself (in spite of others). Don’t let others define you or marginalize you.
- Relationships are not just for now – but for the future.
- Invest in the moment – it pays off in the long run.
- Give and do more than what’s “required.”
- Follow your passion – the money will follow (not the other way around).
- Fear of failure is a wonderful motivator.
- After you’ve made your point, and won your audience over – shut up.
- Know your weaknesses and act accordingly. Sometimes you have to “bench” yourself. Know when to put the best players in. It’s not always you.
- Reach beyond your comfort level or you’ll miss plenty of opportunities.
- Half effort produces no results.
- Surround yourself with the best and loyal people. Being the best is the basic benchmark- loyalty is mandatory.
- Reward those who contribute. Share the spotlight and the rewards.
- It’s not your cash, it’s the company’s. Treat it that way.
- Hire well, fire well.
- Invest thoughtfully in people.
- You can’t make someone care.
- A phone call or email can change your destiny. Return calls and emails. Hey, you never know.
- Show up with your “A” game at all times.
- Be a resource to people entering the business/industry.
- Treat people well – regardless of station in life.
- Sometimes you need to fire a client.
- Keep your word, lead by example and have integrity (always, and especially when it hurts).
- Take smart risks and make thoughtful investments.
- If you can’t help someone, provide access to someone who can.
- Live up to your word.
- Trust but verify.
- Don’t get too high on your success or too low on your failures. Things can change quickly.
- Learn to grin and bear defeat. Get even by winning the next time, and celebrate.
- Negotiate from a position of strength.
- Be willing to walk away from a deal, sometimes the price of winning has a high pricetag.