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Today's Marketing Cookie - Have Vision
"Where there is no vision, the people perish."
Today's Marketing Cookie reminds me of an important lesson I learned as I was preparing to be the President of the Boston Chapter of the American Marketing Association. As the President-elect, we had already been holding work sessions every Saturday morning for over a year and most of our time was consumed with working on what was right in front of us. There were times when we would think ahead and dream of what we might accomplish, but most of the time there was work to be done and we were really focused that way. I remember it was March of 2008, we had just completed our elections process, and my predecessor and mentor, Steve Halling asked me what my vision would be as the next President. My vision?? I literally hadn't considered it. Not even a little.
After thinking about it for a few days, I called him and rattled off a laundry list of things I wanted to accomplish in the next term. He said, "That isn't a vision Myles. That is just a to do list."
At the next Saturday morning meeting, he asked me again, "What is your vision for the Chapter?". Since I had anticipated his question, I was prepared with a well rehearsed answer, and listed all the things I wanted to improve, optimize and increase, such as the size of our membership, and the quality of our events. He responded, "That isn't a vision Myles. That is just a bunch of goals."
Now I was puzzled. What the heck is a vision anyway?!? So, I went home and looked it up. I don't remember exactly what the actual definition is, but I do remember a specific phrase that turned on the lights for me. It was, "a vision describes what an organization wants to be." To BE. What do I want us to BE? ...and then is came to me - - - like a vision.
I wanted us to BE a connection to marketing.
I wanted us to BE the central hub in Boston where marketers could connect with the chapter, connect with one another and get more connected to their profession. On the fourth day of my presidency, we launched a new social networking site called, "Connect". We would allow ALL marketers to join. You didn't need to be a member of the AMA to participate. You only needed to be a marketer. Our social network grew, and grew, and grew, as did the awareness of our association. I realize that it may seem counter intuitive to offer a free and open social network within a paid membership association. However, by virtue of creating an open community, our paid membership grew, and grew, and grew as well. In fact, our membership grew to its highest level on record... a result I never imagined possible. Over the course of my two terms as President, we had indeed become a connection to marketing for our community.
The truth is that people really just want to be inspired. Without a vision, it is impossible to inspire people. I am grateful for the lesson Mr. Halling taught me about having a vision. If I had only proposed a to do list or a list of goals, there wouldn't have been a vision at all, and my dedicated team may have perished.