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Ross McGarvey/Business /Not A Marketer, But A Problem Solver


Ross recording podcast

Not A Marketer, But A Problem Solver

Question: When did you discover that you had a talent for marketing?

Answer: I actually don’t think that I have a talent for marketing. I think I have a knack for finding and resolving problems. I’m good with logical solutions.

I think people put marketing in a bucket. They say marketing is all about conceptualizing and strategizing. That’s helpful and all but if you don’t have the fundamentality to solve problems, it doesn’t matter what else you know. My employees know much much more about the unique individual subject matter than I do. But I know how to fix those issues that occur within that. The words “it’s just,” or “I know it’s off, but.” Have you ever heard a surgeon say that? “I mean it’s ok, I started out with 4 tools but now I only have three, but it’s fine. It might not kill you.” As dramatic as that sounds, that’s what I compare marketing to. ROI is the lifeblood of any company. If I can’t generate ROI and make our clients money, they’re dead. Or we’re dead. Somebody ceases to be.

I’ve never met an MBA grad who works in marketing that I thought was a baller. Never once. It’s a $50,000 degree. I have zero respect for it. I have respect for the people. I have lots of friends with MBAs. I think they’re awesome people who are very good at what they do, but what is it all about? That degree doesn’t help the underlying ability to resolve issues. I know five people with this type of degree, and half have worked for me. On paper, I am the dumbass. In fact, I’m probably one of the least intelligent people in this building based purely on the piece of paper that we have.

So, do I think I’m good at marketing? I don’t. Anything that has to do with business is problem-solving. I’ll ask “What are you trying to achieve?” and we’ll logically go through that step by step. I look for that starting place or find out where they are, and then work to incrementally grow it.

There are different words that people mix or interchange in marketing. Being a marketer and being an innovator is not the same. Even though people think they are. I had a good conversation with a guy who makes documentaries after he was on a podcast with me yesterday. He told me that people don’t want creativity. They say they do. They say they want to do a unique marketing funnel. And then we as an agency reply and say we can think outside the box and push the envelope a little bit. We’ll say we want to play a little and find out what works. But then the client says, “I want it like that company does over there.” Well, that’s not creative.

Marketing is often thought of as a high-touch creative industry, but more often than not it isn’t. It’s building blocks. It’s Legos. Marketers need all the green Legos to be in this one spot and the need the red Legos to be on their own as well. But the problem is people get all sorts of colored Legos like green, blue, yellow, red all mixed up and then complain that it’s not working. But we know why because that specific stack was supposed to be all green to work. It doesn’t need to be anything different.

I’m a better problem-solver than I am a marketer. I think I have an uncanny ability to help people see the problems.

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