Listen, Ask, Write It Down: A Consultative Approach To Marketing That Matters

Navigating a global pandemic is challenging enough personally, let alone professionally. Rather than attempt to predict the unpredictable future, may we suggest you focus your energy in two ways:

  1. Make the best personal decisions for you, your family, and your community

  2. Focus your professional energy on how to support your sphere of influence – clients, co-workers, suppliers – in a positive manner


Look for problems. There are plenty to go around. Don’t let those problems overwhelm you. Instead, see them as opportunities for improvement.

Your first decision needs to be whether you personally care enough to fix that problem. Will it make a personal or professional difference if you can find a way to inspire the necessary change to improve upon the situation that you have identified? If you are not committed to it, then assume apathy, corporate inertia or other competing priorities will prevent you from seeing the work through to completion.

Commit to driving solutions. Don’t be afraid to take some calculated risks. Willingness to share creative and thoughtful ideas that may fall flat OR may inspire the next big idea to drive growth.

At INWK, we pride ourselves on being marketing engineers, creatively solving problems that relate to the specific marketing challenges our clients face:

  • Do more with less?

  • Adapt an idea for a similar, but different business case?

  • Reduce the carbon footprint without breaking your budget?

  • Execute a new business model without compromising adherence to strict quality and compliance requirements?

  • Create an alternate supply chain in case today’s route to market is not viable tomorrow?

  • Identify and evaluate the analytics that drive smart omnichannel marketing decisions?

Alignment is key. Attitude is equally as important.

Being consultative in nature is an additional value add to our clients, but what’s more important is knowing that we are going to deliver on the ideas we ultimately propose. That’s a powerful differentiator when the client knows our proposed ideas must be feasible since our clients measure our results based on our mutual success.

During the current global pandemic, one of our biggest clients summed up the relationship perfectly: “I challenge INWK and I ask INWK to challenge me. Our relationship makes us both better partners to one another.”

With that open mindset and consultative approach, we recommend three simple tips – consider this the L.A.W. – to drive the results you desire:

LISTEN – There are so many clues about the problems around you. If you listen carefully, the problems come conveniently packaged with the corresponding solution. Have you ever heard a client complain about how much time it takes to complete a certain task? Or a budget that is suddenly cut for their upcoming event? Or a friend who seems overly upset about a simple mistake? More often than not, those complaints are clues to the real problem at hand. We can all be better listeners.

ASK – Take every opportunity to learn more about the problem. Don’t assume you immediately have all the answers. Instead, ask lots of open-ended questions. Be sympathetic but take the time to learn more about what’s really going on. This line of questioning may just uncover the “hidden” issue that is really underlying the problem. Maybe their manager needs help better driving accountability across his team. Or the budget cut feels personal since the centerpiece of her marketing strategy is no longer viable at this level of investment. Or that simple mistake may not be the problem at all, but rather a link to where the individual is feeling pressure from his family under these extraordinary circumstances that we all face.

WRITE IT DOWN – It’s easy to “lose” focus on solving problems when they repeatedly get buried in your email inbox. Take the time to be deliberate. It will hold you accountable and remind you what your strategic priorities are to ensure you do not lose sight of an opportunity to make a difference, solve a problem and make a situation better for you and/or for others.

If you’re artistic like me, then may I recommend a pen to jot your ideas down with:

If you lose things easily, then I’d recommend a more permanent way to keep track of your priorities:

I share all this to highlight the importance of being thoughtful in what you do, where you spend your time and how you best invest your incredibly valuable strategic thinking.

At INWK, we pride ourselves in taking a consultative approach to helping our clients solve their marketing challenges. It drives the type of people we look to hire and the types of clients we look to serve.

There’s never been a time in recent memory where the company you keep plays a more important role than it does during today’s most challenging business environment.

Get in good company—connect with us today.

Seth Kessler

President, Global Solutions

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