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Marketing Managers

Posted On: 2005-11-17Length: 23:08

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And now, a public service message brought to you by the fine folks at the 20-Something Marketing Forum.

Attention all trigger happy holiday marketers. This message is for you. It has come to the attention of the staff here at the 20-Something Marketing Forum that you have been slowly moving up the timetable of Christmas and the holiday season in general in hopes that no one in the consumer public will know about it. Well, you merry-making, marketing mafia, the jig is up. In case you haven't glanced at your calendars lately, there are just a couple of things in the way between Halloween and Christmas. Oh, small things like Thanksgiving, football season and the entire month of November. We dearly understand your need to get a jump start this year, as we will have what I believe to be the maximum number of shopping days that there can possibly be allotted between Thanksgiving and Christmas, but apparently that's not enough. It's your fault that jingle bells is repeatedly drilled in my head the moment a leaf touches the ground. It's your fault the neighbors feel the need to erect their winter wonderland within 10 days of the first cool breeze. And you know what, it's your fault the holiday season is now perverted as some kind of consumer buying wet dream. But you know something, I'm not bitter. Because I am a B2B marketer. I am uninhibited by the seasonal trends, and I'm lead by the courage of my own convictions. Lastly, I am at the beck and call of my clients budget cycle. You're free to do whatever the hell you want, but don't be surprised when I exact my revenge in some sort of bizarre financially based advertising campaign with severe implications on your ability to sleep at night. Fuck Rudolph. Fuck Santa. Let me enjoy my turkey in peace. And I'll tell you what, if you need me, I'll be in line for the Black Friday at Hot Topic.

Rise and Shine 20-somethings. It's time for the 20-Something Marketing Forum with your host Jared Degnan.

And greetings and salutations, my dear, dear marketing fans. My name is Jared Degnan and you, yes you, are listening to the 20-Something Marketing Forum, an informative, engaging look at life as a 20-something professional dealing with the realities, and of course the drama, of the modern workplace. This is episode #16, aptly named "Marketing Bosses Anonymous." And I want to thank all of you for tuning here. And also want to remind you that as always you can find out more about the things we talk about here on the show, as well as interact with like-minded young professionals on our website at 20somethingmarketing.com.

Now today's show is all about bosses and specifically, upward management. Though I might have gone off on a little bit of a tirade this morning just generally about the holiday season. I think it's pretty interesting to take a look at this right now given the fact that, oh I don't know, my boss is considering my pay raise right now. Anyway, in case you're new to the show, we're pretty practical here. So we like to distill the main topic into three main questions. Number one, what is it? Number two, why the hell is it important to us? And Number three, why the fuck does it relate to marketing or being young professional? Well for starters and very simply, I'll define upward management as the process of getting anyone who exerts authority over you to do what you want them to do by process of coercion, negotiation, blackmail, you know, anything that bends them to your will without them necessarily knowing it. This is important because in the fundamental command control structure that dominates the majority of western management styles, bluntly put, you're ever the hammer or you're the nail. Upward management thus is a frame of mind that certain actions that are made by you the nail, can lead to certain reactions from your boss, aka, the hammer. Now if you take the approach to actively upwardly manage your boss, you can be better equipped to promote your ideas yourself and just generally make your bosses happy instead of being subjected to the hours of continuous requests. And let me tell you folks, any of you who have upwardly manager boss know exactly what I'm talking about here. But in case you are unknown to the idea of upwardly managing your boss, imagine you're downwardly managing someone. You are trying to control their particular actions by approaching them in certain ways by knowing their drivers. The same thing can be applied to your boss, the understanding that your boss has certain trigger points. Your boss wants certain things out of you. Your doesn't want to be bothered with certain things, and the more you keep them focused on what you need them to do, the better off you're going to be because, quite literally, you're just thinking five steps ahead of them. And I've found that it's an incredible, incredible opportunity.

So, based on that discussion, we are going to quickly run through just some things that I want to talk about in terms of what upwardly managing. And the first of which is just kind of determining the style in which you upward manage, and that basically breaks down into understanding what types of bosses are in stock, and then two, I'll kind of outline some of my favorite tactics for upward management, and kind of discuss where we're going to go with this. Lastly, I'm going to put this up on the discussion boards, and if you guys have any questions or any comments on upward management, I want to hear it. And something that I'm going to work on right now is, if you have your favorite upward managing story and you think that it's good enough to be on this show, I will give you a free 20-Something Marketing Forum mug. It's awesome. It's cool. I'll post some photos on the website. But it is going to be a part of my new tactics to try to get you guys to do a little bit more with the forum boards. So, again, that's your favorite upward managing story. So, let's go ahead and kick it off, shall we?

Ok. And this is an interesting particular discussion just because I think that if you look to onto the landscape of personality profiles, you've got a lot out there. You've got the Myers-Briggs type indicator, you've also go the Influence your Style clock, and each of those kind of breaks down personality types and what drives them. Now, I've kind of come up with my own basic style measurement just because I've had some experience with this. And my style groupings are directly brought on by an experience that I had in high school. As most kids my age, I had a summer job and of course a job on the weekends. And I was a shift manager over a little bagel shop in Atlanta. And I tell you one thing, it was one of the most diverse experiences I ever had with bosses. And it kind of brought it down into four basic boss types. I mean there was a huge amount of turnover, so I got to see a lot of different personalities inhabit the top position at the little shop. So basically I break it down into four different places. I break it out into the nice boss, the dominating boss, the driven boss and finally the cool boss. Now for each of these people, I'm going to give you an example of someone who I worked with and exactly the kind of things that they would do that characterizes their particular personality type. So let's start off with, let's start off with the nice boss. This one was Michael. Michael was an absolutely fantastic guy. And like most nice bosses, he wants everything to be at peace and mainly they're concerned with preserving the status quo and minimizing conflict. Now Michael was a great guy, but sometimes he could kind of miss the mark. He was almost a little bit ADD, and almost a little bit reticent to actually drive us to goals. So he, you'd look at the carrot and the stick, he was much more on the carrot side of things. Now, the nice boss is going to be like this. He wants everything to be at peace. They're concerned with the status quo and they want to minimize conflict, as I mentioned. So, how do you upward manage someone like this? Well what I found out is that because they're so concerned with the status quo, you have to frame everything you do in your ability to eliminate conflict. You have to tell them why you need something done. If you are proposing a project, you need to explain to them how this is going to make things run smoother.

So, that brings me to actually, my second type of boss, which was the dominating boss. And this guy's name is John. And John was a big guy. He was a nice guy, a big bear of a human being. But like most dominating bosses, John relished the job of being the manager as well as the perks that come with it. He was very ego driven, and honestly he wanted to be glorified. The bottom line on this particular boss is that they want their status and their authority, more importantly, to be reaffirmed. So for instance whenever I went up to him with suggestions on selling a particular product or beating the next team out in one of our sales promotions, basically he wanted to maintain control. And anything that I did that seemingly undercut his authority was immediately met with a brick wall. So how do you deal with something like this? How do you deal with someone like John, a dominating boss? Well, frankly, you have to frame things in terms of their authority over the situation and how it's going to reassert their authority. So, for instance, when there was a promotion that came about that I had a great idea for, I had to explain to John how this is going to help him better control what was going on. Now granted, these guys, as with ego, it's never fun to deal with. But honestly you have to play this game and you have to frame things in terms that he's going to appreciate. And everybody knows a dominating boss like this. They're not always evil, but honestly they can be that type of an imposing personality where rationality just kind of flies out the window.

Now we actually stop on to one of my favorite boss types here. The driven boss. The driven boss is better characterized by one of my more favorite managers named Melanie. Melanie was the perfect analytical type. She's very numbers and results driven. And she almost needed to be very much validated by the results that she produced. In fact, there was a lot of need behind her to prove that whatever she could get done would get done. And the bottom line for this particular boss is that they want to see results, and often are going to get a little bit bitchy and sometimes step on people when they don't reach them. For instance, there was a great example of this particular product that we sold, I think it was a rice krispie treat. And there were diagrams on how to cut the rice krispie treat to get it to be the optimum size. Now I cut the rice krispie treat in a particular way and it yielded the same exact number of servings. But there was a very strict way of being able to do this. And so Melanie would hammer me constantly on this. It was the one thing that I could never get right. So finally I had to just frame it in a way that Melanie would be comfortable with it. And the fact of the matter was that dominating, no, sorry, not dominating, but driven bosses really are numbers driven so you have to frame everything in terms of the analytical perspective. Why is this going to be better? Prove it with numbers. That's my best advice for that particular element.

And then of course we come to the very last type of boss. The cool boss. Now, this particular cool boss, honestly, can not be better characterized than my current boss. And like I said, I'm going to, might be skipping over a couple other bosses that I might add, but the boss that I currently have is very, very cool. They're the more enlightened type of boss. They're the ones who are not only wanting to treat their staffs with respect, but they're also willing to work with them to achieve results. Now the cool boss always wants to be liked with their staffs and they want to be friends with their staffs. And the challenge with that is that sometimes they can be of two minds when it comes to being the carrot and the stick. And I know I drive my boss absolutely up the wall because I can have some pretty wild ideas and I love to be able to push the envelope on things like he does, to certain extents. But when you deal with this kind of boss, you have to understand that they've been there before. They want things to happen. But they kind of almost have the downfall of not wanting to create that, not accountable atmosphere, but that atmosphere in which they demand results. They're not going to go up and they're not going to be assholes to you if you don't break it down for them. Which can be a downfall at times. And the way that I can best describe this in terms of upwardly managing this type of boss, is just frame it in terms of your relationship with them. I honestly have come to certain points in time where I have, I mean I know that I've stepped over the bounds in certain situations. And when it comes down to it the best thing that I can possibly do is take a moment and slow down, as is so often the case in my situations, but kind of understand why they're doing what they're doing. Because they're not going to be the ones to harp on results necessarily. They're going to try to work with you. They're more people oriented. And I think that kind of wraps it up in terms of what the cool boss is like, and how it's really important to work with your boss, no matter what they do. Because ultimately your success is going to be dependent on them. And I mean, sometimes if your boss has enough respect for you, and your boss realizes that you're working towards a common goal, it can be easier to get things done. And a lot of times within marketing we have that challenge of being able to push an idea. So, that is your nice little lesson in management science for his week. Again, our four boss types of course were the nice boss, the driven boss, the dominating boss, and of course the cool boss. And I'll go ahead and post these all online.

Ah, you got to love those foamy quotes. Anyway folks, I want to remind you that if you identify with any of those four boss types, either you are a boss or you have a boss like that, tell a story. You don't have to necessarily say their name, but I definitely want to hear them. Send them to Jared@20somethingmarketing.com, and as I mentioned earlier, you may just find yourself the winner of a 20-Something Marketing Forum cup. That's right. Show it off. Show off the fact that you are part of a marketing illuminati. All right. Speaking of marketing illuminati, I want to keep this short because I've got a busy, busy week ahead of me, just given the fact that I am like partying non-stop this week thanks to my 25th birthday. But that's going to be really interesting, but I did want to touch on one thing, which is a follow-up to a story that we did in news you can use. Maybe about two weeks ago, and I mentioned that Atlanta was rolling out a brand new ad campaign. Now as a marketing and tourism major in college, I have a particular focus on tourism and destination marketing, so I'm really interested in this kind of thing. And anyone who's in Atlanta will definitely want to like chime in and tell me about this. It's fantastic. Anyway, so basically they've rolled out the campaign, and it's the three O's. Opportunity, Optimism, and Openness. And of course on the site it warps into these three O's that bear a striking resemblance to the Olympic rings, and that of course it's Atlanta. And it's really fun because Ad Age.com is reporting on this, and Al Reese, who is just one of the best marketing strategists in the marketplace right now completely just goes off on these guys and really kind of rails on the idea that opportunity, optimism and openness really isn't a theme. Now, I mean, you have to understand coming from perspective. I grew up in Atlanta. I love Atlanta. And it's one of those places where it's really tough to articulate the value because the value changes. Now, granted it's opportunity, optimism, openness, whatever, those are pretty good. And that's interesting, but he does like, he points out the different between a good slogan and a bad slogan. And the idea being that the simpler the better. And one of the best examples of this is something that he's bringing up from DeBeers. Of course DeBeers is a diamond is forever. And he brings up the point that it's really a very great logo, or theme because a diamond is of course forever. You're not only talking about relationships, you're talking about, you're talking about the diamond itself, which is one of the most stable of substances on this planet. So now DeBeers is changing up it's slogan to Forever Now, and I'll quote, "not only is Forever Now a non-sequitur, but it also has no meaning unless you can connect it with the original a diamond is forever." So, Al, I really tip my hat to you, and I'm actually going to write a letter to you. I'm going to see if I can get you on the show. Not that you are really like listening to the show, so basically I'm kind of talking to myself here, but anyway, so I think that brings up a really good question, and I'll actually try to post some of the stuff from the ad campaign, and we're going to track this particular destination marketing campaign as a way to kind of examine what goes right and what goes wrong with re-branding. I mean because I'm working on a lot of branding stuff right now for my firm. I'm developing our own ad campaign, and if possible, I might just get my boss to allow me to kind of post some of my ads online, which would be awesome, because I think you guys would love them. Anyway, so I think that's about it for news you can use. Again I remind you that if you have stories about your bosses, send them to Jared@20somethingmarketing.com. That's Jared at two zero twenty something marketing dot com. And you might win yourself a mug from the 20-Something Marketing Forum.

You're listening to the 20-Something Marketing Forum.

All right. It is the mambo music folks, and that can only mean one thing. It is time to get down, folks. It's time to get down to business. Here is that wonderful section of the show where the rubber meets the road, it's a little something I like to call the game plan. Now as I mentioned on my blog, from now until roughly December 5, it's mercury retrograde, at least it's for us Scorpios. The problem being that Mercury retrograde is a veritable playground for chaos and disorder, and Scorps really hate nothing more than having their well laid plans go astray because of some random twist of fate. Now interestingly enough, I find this is not only a Scorpio trait as much as it is a marketer trait as well. Now as marketers, we find things, we find things, we make things happen. We stare down the world of life. We imagine what could be and we make our plans accordingly. And managing upward is the exact same way. You're really not at the front of the train pulling it along, you're really pushing it from behind. And you now what, derailments are going to be a fact of life, and at no time is this more apparent than during attempts to upwardly manage things during Mercury retrograde. Now, all astrological superstition aside, nothing is so oddly entrancing, exhilarating and scary as that desire to stand down your future reality and say, I am not afraid of the sudden turns it might take. I'm not afraid of failure. This again is another one of those lessons that goes double for life. When you interact with people, there are two sides to every situation. You have to remember that. There's your side and then there's theirs. The number one thing you can do to upwardly manage your boss, and upwardly manage your life is to understand as much as you can about yourself and the other person, and then why both of you make decisions. And before you curse Mercury for the things that go wrong in your life, acknowledge two things: one, some things you just can't control. And two, when things do go wrong, you can learn something and be present enough in those times to realize that even in the worst of situations there's still reality to be found. So, when things go wrong at work, you miss a mark on a project, you break up with someone for gosh sakes, yeah, you would have preferred it to go another way. But as they say, there's no use crying over spilt toner ink. Well, that's the other side of the coin then, isn't it? Yeah, you listen to a reaction you didn't want to happen, especially in marketing. But what does that tell you about your tactics? Now, success is easy. It has a tendency to make us complacent. Failure though gives you a perspective that can not only make this project work better, but it can give you the drive and information necessary to translate what you do to other plans and other areas of your life. So do yourself a favor folks. Embrace the idea of Mercury retrograde and the idea that frankly none of us knows exactly what's coming down the tracks. And be ready for when things do go astray we can laugh it off as a part of life and then let our curiosity run wild to prove ourselves right that the idea of an idea of a planet moving backwards is really just an optical illusion.

Well folks this has been the 20-Something Marketing Forum. I'm Jared Degnan. Thanks so much for tuning in. Just a reminder to go to 20somethingmarketing.com. That's two zero something marketing dot com and click on the link to vote for the individual episode on Yahoo podcast. I am trying and attempting to get into the top ten. Actually I'm actually already in the top ten. I'm trying to get up there in the top five. So I'd really appreciate your help with that. Other than that, thank you guys so much for tuning in. Any comments, questions, please email me at jared@20somethingmarketing.com. That is two zero something marketing dot com. Again, thanks so much guys, and I will catch you as always on the flip side.

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