As part of my mission to read a book every month and summarize it via a blog post, I tackled the short business parable called “The Go Getter” by Peter B. Kyne. This was a favorite of my boss (and fellow avid reader), and only 62 pages long, so I jumped right in and finished it in a night! Though written in the 1920’s, this short story struck a real chord with me… each page was full of meaningful insights into the mindset of a “go getter” who, in this book, is described as someone who lives by the mantra “it shall be done”. One of the most meaningful stories and symbols in the book is a blue vase (see picture to the right), but rather than tell you what it means, I’m going to intrigue you to do some reading on your own to find out!
Though I could easily summarize the 62 pages below, the afterword of the book itself does a great job highlighting the main takeaways that are worth sharing. Rather than repeat the fine summary that has already been written, I’m instead going to apply its main principles to the world of digital marketing (in which many reading this post may live).
So, what might a “go getter” look like in the digital marketing world? Here’s my take:
- Go Getters are focused on more than just meeting digital marketing goals, they beat them – and they do this by doing whatever it takes to kick off new campaigns successfully. This might include monitoring paid campaigns daily (or even more frequently), testing and re-retesting messaging and value props until the right combination prevails, monitoring live chat after hours to get more data about their customers’ intent – the list of ways to go above and beyond (especially in the first few weeks) are endless. The key is digging deep and consistently monitoring results until you begin trending positively towards your goals.
- Go Getters find better, more productive ways to get the job done. Most businesses have marketing plans and pre-determined budgets. Often times, it’s easy to fall into a routine – sticking the plan, and the budget given to you. But go-getter marketing folks push the envelope – they change plans on the fly as needed, to produce better results. They challenge the marketing budget if they’re seeing successful returns, and push their superiors to invest more if they find a channel that’s working better than expected. Go getter marketers don’t just take what is handed to them – they push to do better than that (with the goal of bettering their company).
- Go Getters often make decisions for themselves, rather than checking in with superiors at every stop. Sure – getting advice and approval is important, and in some cases, absolutely necessary. But go-getter marketers heed most frequently to the idea of asking for forgiveness rather than permission. In the fast-paced digital marketing world (with Google’s constantly-changing algorithms and new technologies being launched every day), quick decision-making is sometimes the difference between being ahead of the curve or behind it.
- Go Getters tend to value courage over experience – especially in the digital marketing world, where “experience” is difficult to gain in the wake of such high-paced change. For example, most digital marketers today never went to school for the skills in which they practice – they had courage to learn their craft by jumping in head first. This courageous approach often feels risker than relying on experience to help you make decisions – but it also speaks to a level of confidence, commitment and enthusiasm that true go-getters possess.
- Go getters use research to open doors. It’s easy to rely on one’s own gut when launching paid social campaigns or redesigning websites – I mean, why would someone else NOT think the same way you do, right? True go-getters add a layer of research to their day-to-day jobs, which help them make more informed decisions and better connections with their customers or clients. Yes – research takes time, and to most may seem unnecessary in some cases (especially if you believe you “know your target audience”), but it’s what often separates the good campaigns (and marketers) from the great.
- Go getters place high importance in promises, and in fulfilling commitments. They do whatever it takes to execute a task on time, and don’t stop until a task is completed. In the world of marketing, this sometimes means working late on a Sunday night to push out an important press release that needs to hit the press first thing on Monday. It means committing to a deadline for a website redesign launch and sticking to it. It means promising results, and over-delivering on those promises. Go getters are driven by their desire to fulfill commitments to others, and won’t sleep until a job is done, and done right.
- Go getters imagine success before they have it. In the book, Peck (the main character) printed business cards for himself before he was even given the job at the company he desperately want to work for. Though this is a somewhat extreme example, it’s a great symbol for what it means to imagine success before achieving it. In the digital marketing world, it’s not good enough to optimize a website, launch a paid campaign or write a press release just to do it. Go getters have an idea in mind of what wild success will look before they even attempt a task. This is what separate go getters from the pack, and helps them achieve success – because they won’t stop [optimizing a website, promoting their press release or optimizing their paid campaigns] until they reach their end goals.
- Go getter marketers express genuine excitement for the product or service in which they are promoting, and this is infectious amongst their fellow employees, customers and prospects. While it’s difficult to be excited 100% of the time, go getters dig deep in themselves every day to express gratitude and get excited about something, even if that something is small.
- Go getters persevere, even in the most trying of situations. In the book, Peck showed perseverance by calling everyone with the last name of Cohen (in an effort to find the right contact). When we wasn’t successful, he tried calling everyone with the last name Cohn (to make sure there wasn’t a misspelling), and exhausted the phone book trying to find the right person to connect with. In digital marketing, there are many instances where we may feel like quitting, or taking short cuts. For example, have you ever tried promoting an article offsite to an authoritative site? It’s nearly impossible most times to get an “in” at these websites, or to even find the right person to speak with about getting placement. It’s also very easy to consider the effort you put into outreach as a success, regardless of whether or not you end up getting placement. Go getters don’t stop with “outreach” – they persevere until their end goal of getting placement is reached.
- Lastly, go getters are loyal – to their coworkers, their managers, their company and their job. In the book, Peck felt extreme loyalty to his brigadier when in the army, sacrificing his arm and leg in order fulfill his orders. He did this because he trusted his command, his team and the goal behind what they all were trying to accomplish. Though many of us will never be in a position to make sacrifices this meaningful, go getters understand that true loyalty is a trait that everyone values, and thus they strive to show their loyalty every day. In digital marketing, it’s easy right now to jump ship – to work for a company for a short amount of time, learns skills, then hop to the next higher-paying job. We are thankfully living in a time when the digital marketing industry is booming (2nd fastest-growing industry) and new jobs are posted every day. While I’m not discouraging others from following their dreams and taking great career opportunities when they arise, I am noting that go getters tend to display loyalty in a way that is somewhat rare these days. Go getters see past the stress and confusion that accompanies fast growth in companies, and they keep their optimistic eye on the future opportunities that will present themselves to those who stay loyal to their job, managers and company.
The list above is not exhaustive, and there are many other characteristics that true go getters display, both in their personal and professional lives. But the list, as well as the book, both serve as a reminder to those striving for something “bigger” that the key is in having an “it shall be done” mindset. It’s amazing what can be accomplished through perseverance, loyalty, excitement and courage!