The problem with writing up “The Gina Ferraro Approach” comes with trying to approach Gina Ferraro. The CEO of marketing juggernaut MediaMark Spotlight is always on the move.
Maybe that’s why Ferraro communicates in terse, to-the-point statements. No flowery musings on the state of the world, no girlhood memories of growing up, no jokes. But as her approach becomes clearer, the real question that emerges is, “Why hasn’t everybody been doing it this way?” Here’s what Gina Ferraro told us about the rules she works by:
- Don’t waste the client’s time. “I like working with people who have been around the block, who have developed thick skins,” says Ferraro. “They can solve complicated problems easily, using just a few words.” Many of MediaMark Spotlight’s staffers have been seasoned at top ad agencies and marketing firms. “And the fact that our team members have that experience means that the right decisions get made more quickly, and work never sits around.” Ferraro also reminds her team, “When you waste the client’s time, you’re also wasting your own.”
- Make your team and your clients equally accountable. You would expect a veteran marketing CEO like Gina Ferraro to be detail-oriented and determined; you should not expect her to be polite as well. “The team should be self-sufficient so I don’t micromanage,” says Ferraro. “If I jump in, it’s because nothing else is working.” When a team member slips up, Ferraro emphatically sets them straight. “We don’t finger point,” says Ferraro. “We just fix it so it never happens again.” But the same holds for clients; Ferraro doesn’t coddle them, either. If a client fails to respond in a timely manner, or makes a ridiculous request, or holds up a deadline job because they just “didn’t get around to it,” Ferraro snaps them out of their stupor and gets them back on track. Polite? No. Effective? Yes.
- Don’t leave money on the table. “I’m all for everybody winning,” says Ferraro. But if your client’s marketing team isn’t strictly following the marketing strategy, they’re wasting both the client’s money and your own. By extension, whenever your team’s internal cohesion springs a leak, they cease to be a team and begin to be a liability—and an expensive one, at that. Keeping your teams cohesive and on the same page at all times is vitally important for all concerned.
- Let your team and your clients know exactly what you expect of them. “To me, direct means passionate, and clients demand passion,” says Ferraro. No hints. No vague allusions. Still, Gina Ferraro doesn’t expect anyone to simply “get it.” Instead, she develops individual goals for each staffer and detailed instructions for each client. It’s a typical action on the employee side, but much rarer for an agency to tell the client what’s expected of them. “We can only work effectively as a team,” Ferraro has said, “and the client is a key member of that team.“ Happily, the most successful clients understand and respect this.
- Be unapologetic. “No sugarcoating,” says Ferraro. “If the client is holding things up, tell them how much time and money we’re all wasting while waiting for their now-overdue decision. Then insist on the decision now.” Once the creative is approved, says Ferraro, “Our job is to turn around the work quickly and correctly. And when everyone, including the client, does what’s expected of them, then everyone is playing their part in getting that done.”
Can following Gina Ferraro’s approach make your business as successful as MediaMark Spotlight? It takes a rare combination of personality traits, along with total confidence that your creative team has your back, to pull off the Gina Ferraro Approach. “Not many people can do what Gina does,” says one of MediaMark Spotlight’s content providers. “All of the creatives here, including myself, are proud to be loose cannons. She whipped us into shape and we became an unbeatable team. And that’s saying something.”
MediaMark Spotlight specializes in marketing, business development and creative services. MMS seamlessly combines traditional and Internet marketing, including the latest digital technology, social media and mobile offerings. Our innovative, customized, and cost-effective Creative Pod process delivers world-class branding and creative for our client companies at unrivaled value.