Here's to 2020 — and to 2030

Here's to 2020 — and to 2030

By Joel Barker

It’s a meditative time for the Julian Calendar. No question that seeing the “12” turn into a “1” on the month portion of the date is really just an abstract lever, but I am appreciative of how it gives us all a cue consider what we have done and what we are. Let’s dig in to this 2020 thing together.

Lions are coming into the year with the same focus we have had when we started in 2009: effectiveness, ethics, and delight.

You read that correctly. In 2019, Lion’s Way (formerly Word Lions) celebrated 10 years. I find that I say that a lot, just to surprise myself. It is a round number and frankly impressive for any marketing agency to thrive that long. What we have made is something that I believe in. I look forward to another 10 years.

Recently, we have been fortunate enough to have Lyndal Frazier-Cairns on staff. Bringing in a new person to an organization like ours means backing up to your whys and wherefors, not just the how; we needed to both get her to buy into what we are but also make space for who she is, so we revisited our core reasons to be together. I looked back through some of our old visioning content from our past turning points and found a consistency. It always comes down to the same stuff. We know what we are.

Effectiveness

We are contributors driven to be effective. We seek out clients where we are bringing value. When a new project comes our way whole team gets fired up to see what we can do to be effective. Instead of “let’s make something cool,” we say “let’s make something that makes a difference.”

Ethics

We strive to be ever more honest. With our clients, with the audiences, and with ourselves. Karl and I have been arm wrestling about who pays the lunch tab for 10 years. When it comes to the direction of the company, we sometimes have significantly different visions. Ten years into our combination business/friend relationship, we can throw all the cards on the table and trust it’ll be a fair deal. That makes better decisions without a lot of dancing around. As we plan for significant growth, that honesty helps us make sure we grow in a way that makes sense. Lion’s Way will retain the joy and fun of making content that matters has brought us both. 

Delight

I have really come to enjoy working with Erik, our chief technologist. I say “come to enjoy” because he and I have lovingly frustrated each other over the years. I would say that I have learned from his emphasis on delight. It has softened my sense of business to understand that the undercurrent of joy needs to be there for relationships to be resilient and long lasting. Also, I appreciate it when he corrects my pronounciation of .gif and SQL.

Looking into the hazy future I hope that we can continue to make meaningful content as we have been able to up until now. If we keep focused on effectiveness, ethics, and delight, I believe that we can.

The world has changed, and we appreciate that content marketing for technology will continue to require innovation. Of late, we have been able to provide contributions to sales enablement and account-based marketing (ABM) projects. It is very satisfying for Karl, who has been trumpeting the merging of sales and marketing efforts for all the time I have known him, to be able to provide this value to our client’s sales teams.

At the same time, blogs, email campaigns, and the other assets of marketing automation continue to matter. We are finding that marketing automation metrics are becoming more refined, more informative. Our clients can speak more specifically about what assets they need to reach their audiences. We can create with more confidence that we can show value. It feels good.

I don’t want to knock my friends who work on business to consumer (B2C) marketing. They have a lot of fun. However, I savor the relationships that B2B marketing offers. Our client’s sales are long-term relationships, and the work we produce are building blocks for those relationships. It makes sense to me; we come to understand their prospects and find a way to speak to their business needs. It makes sense to participate in the ongoing conversation of a business and technology community. I am where I belong, and I am grateful.

Cheers to 2020!

Photo by Andrey Grushnikov from Pexels