In 2016, Tara-Nicholle Nelson, Founder and CEO of Transformational Consumer Insights, gave a commencement speech at her alma mater which she shared in an article on Entrepreneur.com.
Here are six important lessons we took out from that speech. We’re sure you’ll find them useful.
1. On Leadership
“As I matured, I realized that as a marketing leader — as a business leader, period — you can’t do anything big without an on-fire, whip-smart team. So I study, then practice and practice and practice, everything about leading and inspiring brilliant people.”
2. On embracing data
“Do not become one of those bitter marketers or “creatives” constantly railing against data and metrics. Don’t fight the waves. Learn to surf. Beautiful, sensual, emotional stories without outcomes and data? That’s called art. I love art. But that’s not marketing.”
3. On marketing channels
Don’t fixate on the channel. It’s not about Instagram or Snapchat. Getting to product-market fit, getting people to care about what you do, that’s never about the channel. And, in fact, there will always be a new channel. If you understand human motivation, story and business strategy, you will be able to create products and content people care about, regardless of what the new digital channel of the day is.
4. On learning
“Learn about humanity. Behavior change. Why people do what they do. Study behavioral economics. Neuroplasticity. How people get stuck. How they get unstuck. How they stay unstuck.”
5. On storytelling
Become an expert on story and narrative. Literally study it, don’t just use the word “story” all the time. Understand character, plot, conflict, climax. Take James Patterson’s MasterClass on Writing. Read “The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories.”
6. On work and career
Don’t work on products or for companies that you don’t find interesting. And really, by that I mean work only for companies you believe are out to solve real, human-scale problems that would make the world work better for your customers, even if the product itself isn’t quite there yet or if you aren’t personally the target audience for the product.
Don’t work for people you don’t find inspiring or don’t think you can learn from. You don’t necessarily have to like them. But you should believe working with them will expand your capacity for greatness and your skills.
You can read the full speech here.