Marketing Management from Cars to Clients with Scott Monty

I spoke to Scott Monty, who was ranked by The Economist as one of the top 5 of the 25 Social Business Leaders and by Forbes as one of the top 10 influencers in social media. He has been called “an unstoppable force of nature” and Alan Mulally, the CEO of Ford Motor Company, called him “a visionary.” As Executive Vice President of Strategy at SHIFT Communications, Scott contributes to the firm’s thought leadership while developing new agency services, offering strategic counsel to clients, publicly representing SHIFT at events, and widening the firm’s partnership opportunities. From 2008-2014, Scott headed the social media function at Ford Motor Company and held the title Global Digital and Multimedia Communications Manager. In the following brief interview, Monty talks about how marketing works in large companies, how he manages his time, working with teams, and how marketing is every employees responsibility.

Dan Schawbel: How does marketing, especially social media marketing, work in a big organization like Ford and how does it change at a smaller firm like SHIFT?

Scott Monty: Marketing is fundamentally the same no matter what size of organization you work for.  The difference really comes in scale and in coordination. As you can imagine, there are all sorts of difficulties in coordinating across multiple departments within marketing at a large organization, and certainly across the world. The benefit of a large multinational marketing organization is that you have the experience, expertise and regional pilot programs from all over the world that can benefit the entire organization. This includes relationships with large platforms and networks whose sales, marketing and development teams will regularly work with large marketers.

A smaller company can be more nimble and more responsive to market changes. In addition, a small company might have the  ability to try to execute a number of pilot programs in a very short period of time, while a larger company is still trying to gain momentum.

Schawbel: What does a typical day look like for you now and how do you best manage your time?

Monty: Well my commute is certainly a lot shorter! Typically my day starts with checking headlines, news sites, blogs and other sources to inform me. Obviously email is an important part of the day, as is instant messaging. And then the schedule will vary by day, with internal meetings, networking events, lunches with industry contacts, etc. but it’s important to keep in touch with the industry as a whole and certainly with each of our offices.

Schawbel: You’ve worked with several teams in your career, from startups to big brands. What are some of your best team management tips?

Monty: Everyone has a different style, so find the strengths of each of the members of your team and play to the strengths. Don’t try to shore up weaknesses, but rather focus on those strengths. Feedback is critical when something is going on. The best way to approach this is simply to ask someone, “Can I give you some feedback?” Then you have license to share with someone what happens when they do something and to offer a suggestion to correct it.

And no matter what size team you have, building relationships with your team is absolutely critical. One of the best ways to go about this is to hold weekly one-on-one meetings with each one of your direct reports.  These regular times to touch base will help build that relationship.

Schawbel: When deciding whom to hire, or fire, what attributes do you look for in employees?

Monty: I always look for someone who is smarter than me. I want people who are skilled, motivated and most importantly, curious. Dorothy Parker once said “Curiosity is the cure for boredom. There is no cure for curiosity.”

Schawbel: Do you feel that marketing is every employees responsibility? How can employees best use social media to support their company?

Monty: To a certain degree, yes. You wouldn’t have gone to work for a company if you didn’t believe in what they do. And when you explain to people – relatives, friends, people you meet at networking events – what you do and what your company is about, that’s a form of marketing. Using social media to help amplify that and to help tell your company story is simply an extension. And employees who have an aptitude for social should be encouraged and supported, with assets that can help them become more successful.

The challenge that many brands have right now is that they’re finding that social is hard to scale without a paid component. But if you have employee advocates, then you have the ability to scale with more than just using paid media. And frankly most people would rather engage with other human beings. There’s not a lot of desire out there to engage with a faceless brand.

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