Find the Right Partners And Get a Great Traffic Controller

lori kiel headshot   2022

Our marketing partners are everything.

You’ll notice that I use the word partners. Not vendors.

When I took over marketing at Kessler, I decided I would contract out most of our marketing, leaving my in-house team to determine the overall strategy, as well as manage and coordinate our partner’s efforts.

The way I see it, marketing is changing so fast and there are so many areas of specialty that it’s nearly impossible for an internal marketing team to hire for these nuanced positions, create redundancy, and keep up with the near-daily changes in technology.

In my experience, a great marketing partner understands it’s their business to stay relevant.

They have a deeper bench and breadth of expertise. I can hold my marketing partners to a higher standard than I could hold my internal team when there’s, say, an industry-wide shift in technology. I can do that, because, once again, it’s their job to stay relevant. That’s what they are there for.

To give a simple example, it would have been a nightmare if we had to deal with website ADA and privacy compliance in-house. The learning curve on that alone would have tied up internal resources to no end.

I told my external partner, “Hey, listen, I need you to help us solve this problem. Make sure we are compliant with ADA, GDPR, CCPA, and anything else that is out there.”

Having the ability to offload that very real, resource-heavy problem and have a partner take it on and solve it for us, I mean, that’s a game changer. A great marketing partner is there to protect us and free us up to work on the big picture stuff.

To go a step further, I’ve included our marketing partners on our company org charts. They’re my marketing team and that’s reflected throughout our organization.

In house, I have a small team to manage 13 hotels, 22 restaurants, one entertainment district, and five galleries. It’s an enormous amount of work, but we get it done because our partners are aligned to shoulder some of that workload. They can expand and contract as needed and help us scale.

Make no mistake, this still takes work. Instead of managing internal resources, the job becomes managing partners. You spend all of your energy ensuring your various partners are aligned and working together.

That’s the trade off. That’s a job in and of itself, which means you need a great traffic controller.

You need great people who can lead and align vendors, no different than leading and aligning internal resources.

A great traffic controller sees the big picture. They’re able to communicate the vision. They understand the goals. And they work shoulder to shoulder with partners to get it done.

At Kessler, we’ve been lucky enough to attract some really great partners and some really, really talented traffic controllers.

Lori Kiel