The iias Manifesto
by Michael Johnson ft. Nick Man
When I first started iias there were only a few dedicated Internet marketing agencies, but I fully understood the importance of producing results for my clients. I have always viewed a client as someone under the care, protection, and guidance of my company and this mindset reflects in our client testimonials.
It never even occurred to me that other agencies would sell stuff you don’t need and make big promises they couldn’t deliver on.
And yet we keep hearing stories from clients about other agencies that did not produce any results. I can really feel their pain and frustration because even worse than losing their money, they lost time and momentum.
So, when I think about how this occurs I realized that many agencies are in it for a quick buck while others mean well but fail to keep their promises. Either way, these types of agencies are parasites, or this just comes from their culture.
This has led me to realize I am fully responsible for creating the culture within our company and it originates from the top.
So, when I ask myself this question:
"What type of culture do we need in order to be an agency that helps great businesses grow?"
I came up with the following answers:
I realized these are important foundations but defining a culture requires much more depth.
I wanted to look deeper into the four pillars that will embody our culture:
Our pillars are important because they attract and repel certain types of people. One of the first things Nick and I started discussing was our pillars. We realized the impact this could have and that lead to many hours of discussion, so many in fact, I would call this a journey of discovery.
Here are the pillars of our culture:
Our purpose is to help great businesses grow because businesses are the backbone of our economy and fundamental to living a quality lifestyle. The better the quality of businesses in our economy the higher our standard of living. The reason we support great businesses is because we want to achieve the maximum level of happiness for our team members, clients, suppliers, and the communities that connect us all.
Unfortunately, it is not always the best companies, products or services that reach the people who need them but the ones that are marketed the best.
“Most entrepreneurs fail to understand that the difference between mediocrity and making millions has more to do with marketing than any other single business factor.”
– Jay Abraham
This just shows you how important marketing is.
Often great companies don’t look for help with marketing and we understand why, because they feel too busy and there is a lot of time and money that can be lost when:
- there are shady companies out there trying to sell them things they don’t need
- there are hundreds of mediocre marketing tactics to choose from and some are just downright terrible
- they feel uncertain about their investment and how their results are measured
It’s smart to be worried about these problems because as a business owner you’ll face them sooner or later but being paralyzed by them will hold you back from growing your business
That’s why we’ve developed a proven system where you only have to invest 10 minutes of your life to see whether our strategies and systems can help you grow your business. We have continued to use and improve this process ever since we discovered how powerful it is.
Our system has three phases of digital marketing:
These phases of digital marketing are designed to help great businesses grow because we envision a world where great companies can have great marketing and great products!
Our goal is helping great businesses grow.
This seems a simple statement, but the truth is every part of our company and our culture must be in sync to realize the full potential of this.
Our goal can basically be boiled down to three points:
1. Happy Clients – If we wow clients with great results, clients will stick with us and refer more businesses we can help. Our strategy for happy clients is happy team members because they are the ones fulfilling this work. Happy clients are like fruit, they’re the end goal; to get them you need to tend to the roots which in our case is our
employees and culture.
2. Fulfilled Team Members – If we create an environment where team members thrive, we will be able to recruit and retain the best marketers in the world.
3. Profit – If we retain these team members and clients because we have a great culture then we’ll have great financial results. Let’s be clear on money. If you make it ethically you are trading something valuable for money. Once you acquire money it is a tool you can use to create more goodwill and achieve the maximum level of happiness for team members, clients, suppliers, and the communities that connect us.
Achieving these goals will lead us to build an enduring institution that champions imagination, motivation, and collaboration in a way that supports great businesses as one of society’s pillars.
Now that we have some clarity on our goals, I realize these are easier said than done. There are a lot of companies out there that claim to be the best and have the best customer services when the opposite is clearly true. So it is extremely important that we support and maintain these goals.
Our values are important because they attract the type of people we need to cultivate and grow our culture.
In a world where many people view a job as… well… just a job, we want to create a place where people are eager and excited to show up to. Where they find a calling for their skills and have a team to support them. For this to happen we need all our team members to have these four traits because it is the people who shape a company and its culture.
- Treat Team Members Like a Client – A client is under our care, protection, and guidance. We protect and take care of each other in the same way. As a united team we’re happier and provide a better experience for our clients.
- Ownership & Autonomy – Every team member must have the autonomy to inject their own creativity into projects and build an environment where they can be trusted to make decisions. Taking ownership for choices both good and bad is important because this is how we are able to continually improve. In our view, failure is just experimentation gone on too long.
- Kaizen – We combine our collective talents to create a powerful engine for improvement. Constant innovation, learning and breaking bottlenecks is the fuel for our success.
- Provable Results – Our entire focus is to produce and communicate meaningful results to our clients.
Nick and I can’t stress enough how important these values are. We are not the typical agency because we are willing to surpass them via communication, community, strategy, honesty, and passion. These are non-negotiable standards of excellence. This is why clients hire us and why we have an incredible reputation in the online marketing industry.
Our culture depends on these ideals and if we bring in team members that don’t uphold them and share the same values then our culture will fall apart.
Our Promise to Our Team Members
We help great clients grow but we can’t do that without great team members. If we want to achieve our goals and vision, then we need to recruit and retain the greatest people. With that being said, our promises to you is:
- Be an Open Meritocracy – Nobody likes large bureaucratic organizations laced with office politics. As we grow bigger we run the risk of politics and favouritism if we don’t work hard to vaporize any signs of this. We seek team members based on talent, effort, and achievement because we are building a team of A players to grow and thrive.
- Create Opportunities to Learn and Grow – Kaizen, this Japanese word means “never-ending improvement” we want to continually grow and get better! We are committed to developing systems that support and help develop our team of A players.
- Empowerment and Trust in Team Members – Our culture puts as much power as possible in team members to make smart decisions, not the executive team. We decentralize and work to create a culture of ownership, trust, and accountability by learning from our failures and celebrating our successes.
- No Jerk Policy – Our end goal is maximum happiness and that’s hard to do when you’re forced to spend time with jerks. A jerk is someone who is insulting, belligerent, violates personal boundaries, and is dishonest or unfair in their expectations. We make sure our team doesn’t work for or with jerks because one bad apple spoils the barrel. This applies to every one of us and the companies we work with. We’ve fired clients and staff before and we’ll do it again if they are jerks.
- Transparency & Honesty – Openness and honesty is expected from everyone, clients and team members. This means being honest at all levels from management to production and vice versa – whether we’re doing well (or when we are not).
We promise to hire slow and fire fast because we are committed to building and supporting a team of A players. Our culture starts from the top, so if we’re not embodying these promises it is my responsibility.
What are your thoughts?
Does this paint a clearer picture of what we are striving for and why we’re doing it?
I hope so.
There’s no doubt in my mind that we are a different and better agency than everyone.
When I think about iias, I think “wow, this team is so awesome. I want to work with them!” I wake up happy and excited to go to work.
Warren Buffet says, “I tap dance out of bed” and I feel the same way because I love working with our team and our many great clients.
Nick and I are excited to keep building our culture every day.