Focus on relationships. We can all get caught up in work at times, but the work we do is bigger than just a return on investment for clients.
As a part of my Marketing Strategy Series, I’m talking with my fellow marketing pros at the top of their game to give entrepreneurs and marketers an inside look at proven strategies you might also be able to leverage to grow your business. Today I had the pleasure of talking with Ashleigh Laabs.
Ashleigh Laabs is a dynamic marketing and business integrator. As the chief growth officer and founder of A. Victoria MAE, in Royal Oak, Michigan, Ashleigh has successfully built a marketing company that provides strategy development and implementation support for small to mid-size businesses. Her previous work experience includes a diverse blend of marketing, branding, event logistics, sales, and public relations in the entertainment, corporate, agency, and foundation industries.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you share a story about the funniest marketing mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I don’t think this is funny, but it was a mistake. The biggest mistake I have made in my career was letting others walk all over me and not trusting my values to identify the culture I needed to be in for the early parts of my career. Just going with the status quo and knowing I needed a job, but not thinking about what else my body, mind, and spirit needed to be happy.
Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Are there takeaways or lessons that others can learn from that?
This ties into the above perspective. I started paying attention to my core values. And then identified that starting a business to hold those values as their core was the step for me to take. Enter the world of being an entrepreneur. Success is defined differently by many people. Success for me is happiness. I have that now and love what I do. I have time for family and friends. And just truly have found my purpose. A. Victoria MAE is the longest job I have held, and I joke with people about it, but it’s true because I am in my centered space.
What advice would you give to other marketers to thrive and avoid burnout?
I would tell other marketers to focus on relationships. We can all get caught up in work at times, but the work we do is bigger than just a return on investment for clients. It’s about meeting client’s goals and telling client’s stories. I think when you focus on the relationship aspect of marketing, it starts to feel less like a job and more of a relationship you are cultivating between you and the client and the client and its customers. It’s then it starts to feel more like a passion, allowing you to avoid burnout.
Consumers have become more jaded and resistant to anything “salesy”. Where do you see the future of marketing headed?
Identifying the basics of strategy is going to remain key — without it you get pulled in by all the shiny objects, the tools. Keeping strategy at the forefront is going to be even more important moving forward to accomplish a measurable versus being drawn in by the new and shiny tools as technology continues to evolve.
Can you please tell us the 5 things you wish someone told you before you started?
- Know your core values.
- Don’t let anyone belittle your worth.
- You can learn marketing, but you have to know yourself.
- Go for what you want — don’t settle.
- Love what you do always.
What books, podcasts, documentaries or other resources do you use to sharpen your marketing skills?
I subscribe to, and my team does as well, Seth Godin’s blog. Seth Godin is an entrepreneur, author, and marketing genius. He creates podcasts, a blog, and writes books about marketing. If you are a marketer and haven’t checked him out, I highly recommend it, as he teaches seminars and courses as well.
One final question: If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
I inspire to get corporate giants to understand students are valuable, have worth, should be paid, and that unpaid internships are unethical. It would be amazing for anyone who brings on an intern to provide some sort of financial payment. A. Victoria MAE is leading this initiative by, not only, having a paid internship program, but starting a scholarship for college students who need assistance covering the costs of an internship.
Thank you so much for these fantastic insights!