Chapter 2 - Be Inquisitive - Spending Time in Discovery


Several interviewees noted that willingness to spend time in negotiation and in discovery were top strategies both brand and agency can do to improve the goal, approach and results of a sustainable digital marketing project.

Bill Hunt is a global digital marketing specialist, CEO & Founder of Back Azimuth Consulting and author.

He shared, "Have the important, sometimes difficult conversation early. No one likes conflict, we don't like to talk about it, but addressing it earlier rather than later can help create a trusting foundation."

In discovery Hunt asks, "How do you handle success?" He recommends creating long and short term goals allowing for both sides to align on and agree what success looks like. He also builds in timing to take a moment to celebrate successes.

He asks other hard questions, "When we're interviewing a potential new partner I ask the project sponsor or leader, 'How do you deal with bad news? We will be a strong, fair, trusted partner, but we will at some point fail. Everyone does. How will you handle that failure? Will you quit taking our phone calls, yell at your secretary, how will you handle failure?'" What Hunt is looking for is a partnership pattern. This approach also very cleverly and honestly prepares the client for the inevitability of failure. For that failure to be a learning moment to more powerfully grow success, both the vendor and the client need to agree on how to handle failure and preferably make that agreement up front, not when they're in the heat of the moment or on the heels of a disaster.

"You don't need to be their best friend," Bill says, "but you need to understand them and their problem."

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