Fundamentals are the key to being a complete marketing
strategist. Everything we do at eBoost
Consulting, everything we’ve achieved can be traced to how we approach business
fundamentals and apply them to individual marketing cases for clients and
The pyramid above displays the basic building blocks that we use to make a complete marketing leader. That is, someone who is strategic, cross-functional, intelligent and creative. Whomever comes to our company, we assess them on how rigorously they’ve attacked the fundamentals and how aggressively do they continue to work at the fundamentals. If you’re weak on one of these levels, the pyramid falls apart. Nowadays, the space is ripe with one-trick ponies. And there are plenty of people with great tactical skill but if they don’t know how to apply those tactics to the big picture, then what good are they?
But most people, particularly those of the Gen Y clan, don’t
want to deal with that. They’re looking
for instant gratification, the shortest route to promotion, to that next title. Perhaps they don’t learn segmentation
practices because they don’t like analytical work. Perhaps they don’t develop proper
communication with Operations or Finance because they rely on communicating
with marketing peers with similar communication skills. Perhaps this is you? Sure, you can get away with it for a while but
the deficiencies will catch up with you sooner or later.
It’s like they’re so focused on composing a masterpiece that they never master the scales. And you can’t do one without the other. The minute you get away from fundamentals – whether its proper preparation, thought-processes, or work ethic – the bottom falls out easily.
When I was at Whole Foods Market, everyone said I was being
held back. But I was taught the scales
there. I was taught the importance of fundamentals and how to apply them to individual cases and my own propensity to
be creative. The concept of being a
complete leader was heavily stressed and imposed. When I got to eBoost Consulting and applied
my learning to include new digital tools, I had a strong foundation to work
from. I knew the way to approach
learning and I developed a feel for what would be flashes-in-the-pan or solid
tools. It allows me to be decisive. It allows me to save time.
When you understand the building blocks, you begin to see how the entire operation works. You know what tools to use, which frameworks will click to bring out the best in your team.
People are often surprised that I spend so much time on the whiteboard in meetings when we made our name on being cutting-edge. They ask if we knew which frameworks, which tools we were using. My answer is always no. Tools change. But the fundamentals remain the same. I assess the distinct abilities and personality traits of the personnel in the room because I am always confident in my understanding of fundamentals and my ability to apply the fundamentals to any canvas. Give me a $10,000 brainstorming software or give me the back of the napkin. The results will be the same.
It comes down to a very simple saying: there is a right way and a wrong way to do things. Peter Drucker once noted that effectiveness comes before efficiency. Not the other way around. Get the fundamentals down to be effective and then your level of efficiency and probability for success will raise.
More to come on The eBC Pyramid tomorrow.
The above excerpt is adapted from the chapter “Fundamentals” from I Can’t Accept Not Trying: Michael Jordan on the Pursuit of Excellence.