People Are More Important Than Money, by Greg Gifford

You literally can’t do digital marketing without people—but somehow, even in today’s modern world, most agencies forget that. That top-down lack of empathy and understanding isn’t anything new, it’s “a tale as old as time” (ok, come on—most of you would be sorely disappointed if I didn’t have at least a few movie references in here).

As the inimitable Ruth Burr-Reedy always says, “it’s called show business… not show friends”—but that doesn’t mean that people aren’t important. Most agencies completely forget that they can’t do anything without their employees. Digital marketers have been commoditized.

I’ve worked at several agencies over the last 20 years—and for most of them, people didn’t matter. Everyone was just a number on the P&L sheet:

  • Someone wants more of a raise than the pathetic 3% that was company policy? “F ‘em—let ’em leave, there are thousands of people waiting in line to replace them.”
  • A rock star applies to join the team but wants a few thousand more than our standard salary? “Ha ha, what idiots! Who do they think they are?”
  • Someone on the team is privately struggling with a mental health issue and asks for a day off? “Sorry, man, you’re out of PTO.”

I’m not going down the “it’s cheaper to pay more to retain employees than hire and train new ones” road. I’m not going to spout the standard BS about how company culture matters. I’m not even going to share self-care tips to help…

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