Perfect people + perfect misalignment = zero progress | The Digital Voice | Open Mic

By Owen Hancock, marketing director, EMEA, Impact

As a famous man* once said when asked his advice on growing and scaling a business. “Every person in your company is a vector. Your progress is determined by the sum of all vectors.”

You can apply the principle to any collective situation – a sports team, a business that is flying or malfunctioning. The point is, it all comes down to the component parts, how hard they are pulling and in what direction, and the interplay of them all.

That bit of wisdom was brought up to the light by Impact Board Advisor, Hubspot’s Michael Ewing, during his session at Impact’s ongoing Partnerships Experience 2021 virtual conference, on the subject of building a brand consumers will love.

“If you have perfectly amazing people, and they’re all perfectly misaligned, the result is zero progress,” noted Ewing, Hubspot’s senior manager, renewal & contract management. “For your people to have maximum impact, your teams need to be aligned and unified in achieving the same goal. Vectors aligned equals maximum impact.”

This is easily visible in companies when teams are acting in silos – marketing, sales, service – each doing their best to solve the problems of their own departments, and each using the playbooks and specialised systems they have been given.

“All these goals and objectives are probably good, maybe even great, but when not coordinated towards a unified goal, they achieve sub-optimal impact,” said Ewing.

This chimes with us at Impact in all sorts of ways. Alignment of all your ‘vectors’ – your people, your teams, your partnership marketing channels – is one fundamental reason we advocate the analytics, the automation, and the oversight that a partnership marketing platform provides.

When we can survey all of the moving parts of the partnership marketing machine in one place, we can ensure they are pulling towards the same end goals in complementary ways. Marketing channels that fire off in assorted directions, with little communication or common cause, typically have very much less than their maximum impact.

On a day dedicated to the theme of consumer trust, Michael’s specific angle was towards building a consumer-focused brand by means of culture, passion and an obsession with customer experience. And in amongst a lot of excellent advice – such as creating a customer code, forming a ‘voice of the customer’ department to collect and analyse feedback across the customer experience, and even (but why on earth not?) inviting customers to meetings – there was something else that we at Impact specifically stand by.

“Creating an environment where people feel comfortable being their authentic best selves can unlock so much synergy, and be a massive blocker to innovation and growth when people feel like they can’t be,” said Ewing. “Trust your team to solve for your customers. Don’t micromanage them – they’re hired at your company for a reason. Give them the respect they deserve, and the space they need to be remarkable.”

He was talking about a company’s retained staff, and all those words are admirably true in that context, but to an uncanny extent he might just as easily have been describing the relationships successful partnership marketers enjoy with their enterprise partners – the affiliates, influencers, B2B partners and others. Your job is to recruit wisely, communicate with them effectively and reward them well; their job is to do their thing.

It is vital, as Michael said, that we all strive to create great brands our consumers will love. And those consumers needn’t just be our customers – they can be our staff, our partners, everyone involved in the enterprise. All of these are your vectors, and if you can align them, progress will be yours.

* It was Elon Musk, but let’s not encourage him