Category: Career Development

Get people to do what you want

How to get people to do what you want

So, you work in marketing.

You want to progress your career.

You want to improve your leadership skills.

But you have a problem: Nobody seems to want to listen to you – or follow your lead. How do you deal with that?

One of the biggest challenges you face as a marketer is how to get the contributions, support and feedback you need. You often rely on the buy-in and decisions of others for doing your job in the best way. It’s not easy, but there are techniques available for you to use to improve your influence and your ability to lead people.

Know yourself

You can’t truly understand other people and their motivations if you don’t first understand your own. What drives you? What triggers you? What is it that makes you want to follow others and take their direction? A bit of introspection will make all the difference in being able to identify and impact the behaviour of others.

Know your stakeholders

Do you know who your ‘personal stakeholders’ are? Who makes the decisions that impact you? Who are the people you need in order to reach your goal? Who are your allies? Develop your ability to ‘tune in’ to the agendas of those people and align yourself to them.

Your ability to influence the decisions of other people is very closely linked to your ability to influence their priorities. You need to be able to make what’s important to you important to other people. You will of course still need to be sensitive to the individual and to the situation. Not everyone will react in the same way – unless you’re dealing with robots!

Adapt your communications

By learning to adapt your communications to suit each of your stakeholders, you can maximise your impact on them. The way you express yourself holds the key to their reaction and response.

Technique 1: The Three Ws

Whenever you ask someone to do something for you, always set the expectation from the start. The Three W technique is a good reminder for this!

  • What?
    Be very precise on what it is you need. Don’t allow them to assume the task is insignificant if it will in fact require a large effort on their part. And don’t assume they will instantly know what you mean – take the time to explain.
  • Why?
    Make sure they understand why the task is important for you. Can you explain the context, or perhaps expand on what the favour would mean to you? This will help them connect with the bigger picture and see how their contribution will play a part in it.
  • When?
    Be clear on the deadlines. Do you have a hard stop at some point? Is there a critical finishing date? If you give an obvious timescale for the other person, it will help them prioritise it.Even if there is no specific urgency to the task, give an expectation of time anyway. Otherwise it may just end up in the other person’s ‘someday’ pile. Suggest that you follow up after a couple of weeks’ time, and then give them a gentle nudge when the time is up, to check progress

Technique 2: Make an offer

Everyone has their own agenda. And if you know something about what the other person is looking to achieve, you can align yourself to their goals.

Rather than simply asking someone to do something for you, try to frame it in such a way that the other person gets the feeling that they will also benefit from taking the action.

You may want to use phrases such as…

I wanted to give you the opportunity to be involved in my project first, before anyone else hears about it.


I know how much you care about social issues so I immediately thought of you when I started looking for charity sponsors.

Always take a moment to think about the WIIFM (What’s In It For Me?) factor. Why should they want to support you? How can you make it appealing to them?

Technique 3: Say thank you

Surprisingly many people forget to recognise and thank others for helping them.

No matter how important you are in the business, you can always afford to be polite! When someone acknowledges our efforts and shows gratitude, it makes us feel good. That good feeling is something we want to experience again, so we are likely to do more favours for that person in the future.

Don’t get overwhelmed

It may feel like a huge mountain to climb, but influence is a long game. By working towards a greater understanding – and acceptance – of yourself, you will gradually become more comfortable with expressing your leadership. Coupled with a strong ambition to understand your stakeholders and improve your communication techniques you will be well on the way towards lasting, genuine influence.


Want help to start your influence journey?

Join our free marketing group the Awesome Marketing Community on Facebook for guidance, advice and support on your journey towards becoming an influential marketer.

Marketing Role Podcast

The Fast Track to an Awesome Marketing Role – PODCAST

In this first episode of the Awesome Marketing Podcast I’m interviewing Jayne Johnson from Better People Ltd., who shares her insight on when to move to a new marketing role, how to shine in an interview, what employers are really looking for – and much more.


If you want to speak to Jayne about your own career, contact her on 01491 836632 or

…and while you’re here, don’t forget to check out our Facebook community for more regular tips and guidance on how to become better at what you do.

Be a marketing monkey

Embrace your inner Marketing Monkey

When I was working as part of an in-house business team, I often heard sales teams referring to the marketing team as “marketing monkeys”. Now – I don’t know about you, but there were certainly some members of my team who weren’t entirely pleased with this epithet. They felt it was derogatory. Disrespectful. Mean. (I’m pretty sure it was even escalated to become an HR issue on one occasion.)

But is this really an insult, or in fact something much more insightful?

Personally, I didn’t mind at all. Instead, I would happily refer to myself as a marketing monkey. Not in an ironic, self-deprecating way either, but wearing it as proudly as a name badge. Why? Well, perhaps because the last time I looked monkeys were actually one of the smartest animal species on the planet. They use tools, they are super flexible, they learn from others and teach their young. Monkeys are amazing animals!

The business world is a jungle

Let’s face it; we are all different types of animals, and we all try to find our way through the business jungle. Every function in the business is in fact represented by an animal, and you work alongside them every day.

Take a look at all the functions here – and what a unique relationship Marketing has to each of them!

Marketing Monkey

Marketing: the nimble MONKEY

  • Swings from tree to tree, engaging with all animals with curiosity
  • Has a wide view of the horizon from the treetop, but also sees the ground at the bottom
  • Has the ability to shout far and wide to communicate messages of warning, excitement and discovery


Sales tiger

Sales: the hungry TIGER

  • When the Tiger is hungry, there is only one thing on its mind: nothing gets between it and its prey
  • Has a limited on-the-ground perspective and can learn much from the treetop view of Monkeys
  • To help the Tiger hunt, the Monkey must understand its challenges


The CEO elephant

CEO: the sturdy ELEPHANT

  • Stomps up new paths through the jungle
  • Has the ability to make powerful changes – but moves slower than many other animals
  • Is protective of its tribe and needs to see value for everyone


The HR owl

HR: the protective OWL

  • Takes the young under their wing
  • Keeps the bird’s eye view but zooms in on the detail where needed
  • The monkey helps the owl by making its voice heard, sharing its wisdom and supporting its efforts


The IT spider

IT: the productive SPIDER

  • Builds a framework for connectivity
  • Has an intricate model in mind and will continue to grow and repair its web until it is as effective as possible
  • The monkey helps the spider by suggesting new connection points or systems that may strengthen and expand the entire network


The Finance Squirrel

Finance: the frugal SQUIRREL

  • Always fully focussed on having enough resources to keep everyone fed
  • Plays a long game and tries to predict what needs to be done today to get results tomorrow
  • As long as the monkey can prove that what it does is of benefit to the future of the business, the squirrel will help and support it


The Operations Beaver

Operations: the constructive BEAVER

  • Tirelessly works to create the dam, with contributions from its tribe
  • The monkey can share insight on how other dams are built and what makes them different
  • The monkey helps the beaver by bringing it useful building material


When we as marketers see ourselves as monkeys, it’s easy to visualise all the support we bring to the other business functions. We adapt, we move swiftly to help where we are most needed, and we are constantly curious to find out new, better ways to do things.

So next time someone calls you a marketing monkey; be proud.
You ARE a monkey. And that’s what makes you awesome.

Want to know more?
Discover how to become a confident, influential marketer in any business. Order or download the book Hunting with Tigers – a Marketer’s Career Survival Guide today!

 Hunting with Tigers cover
Order book: Hunting with Tigers


Become a better marketer

How to be a better marketer in 2018

New Year. New beginnings. Isn’t it quite nice to have a clean break in the middle of winter? We get – hopefully – a few days to switch off and relax, and then plough back into action with renewed strength. (Also, for stationery nerds like me, it’s a wonderful feeling to crack open a brand new year journal and introduce it to a set of fresh pens!)

But in many ways, this new beginning is an opportunity to take stock of where we are and how we want to develop this coming year. Who do you want to become in 2018?

Keep moving your career forward

Learning and developing is not just for students. Especially in a field like marketing, we need to keep moving forward. The world of insight, technology, systems and methods is developing so fast that we need to make efforts to keep moving with it.

This doesn’t mean that we must be aware of every single new innovation, but we should be conscious of the fact that there is a best-before date on some of our skills and knowledge. We need to keep an ear to the ground. What’s happening in social media? What’s the latest trend in video? Who are the big industry influencers this year?

Knowledge never dies

It can feel frustrating to know that what you learnt in the past may no longer apply, but the key is to not be threatened by the development but rather use your experience in building a ‘nuanced’ view of reality.

Here’s an example: Direct mail. Those of us old enough to have experienced marketing communications in the pre-email era will remember how direct mail was widely used, but then effectively abandoned by many organisations for more than a decade. It became an archaic method. However, in recent years, direct mail has seen a revival in the wake of email fatigue. Once again, the skills associated with print and postal communications have become a valuable part of the mix.

Steps to take

You may be lucky enough to have an employer who values training and is willing to fund your learning journey. This is an amazing opportunity and one you should definitely make the most of. But even if not, or if you perhaps work for yourself, you can still make training and development a priority.

Get a mentor.

Whenever I speak to marketers, I am often surprised by how many who have never had a mentor. I think it says a lot about marketing as a function – the typical marketing professional has a ‘Let’s do this’ attitude that doesn’t necessarily involve asking for support. We want to be seen as the powerhouse of the business, and one that does not rely on anyone else. For whatever reason, receiving guidance or mentoring can be seen as a weakness – when in fact it’s the complete opposite.

For many years, I myself made the mistake of choosing not to be mentored. Since then, I have had the great benefit of working with several mentors who have provided me with immeasurable knowledge, guidance and confidence. (Most recently, as a business owner, I have had the vital support of George Swift and Tracey Miller of Bigger Brighter Bolder.)

Find a community.

Whether you are a one-man-band or a member of a large team, it’s easy to sometimes feel lonely or exposed. If you are struggling with something, you may not feel comfortable venting your frustrations in the office – or there may simply not be anyone able to help you.

Every marketer should have a support community where they can share their tactical challenges and strategic successes. There are friendly, supportive and non-judgmental groups out there, offering a listening ear and a helping hand. (If you don’t have one, join ours on Facebook.)

READ. And then read some more.

When I launched my book Hunting with Tigers in 2017, I became acutely aware of how many marketing voices there are out there in the published – and unpublished – world. There are thousands upon thousands of titles on Amazon alone, and many of them claim to be ‘game changers’ and ‘revolutionary’. Of course, most of them won’t actually change your life, but you won’t know for sure until you read them.

It can feel overwhelming to try to keep up with all the latest trendy books. Not to mention expensive. Luckily, many of the best brains in the industry are active bloggers and will regularly share their knowledge and ideas on websites and in newsletters for free. Why not set up a special inbox folder, fast-track all the best newsletters you can find into it, and set aside a time each week where you read and absorb them?


The best knowledge in the world comes from first-hand experience. When you think up something, create it, and measure the results, you will learn more than you will ever do reading about someone else’s results.

If possible, earmark a segment of your budget and time to experimenting with new technology, new methods or deliverables. Give yourself permission to fail, as long as you learn something from the experience and can use that knowledge for future activities.


Do you want tips like these to your inbox? Over the next few weeks I will continue to share suggested systems and processes that will make your life easier. Sign up to the Hunting with Tigers bulletin and stay updated with hands-on marketing advice.

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