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Ask Why

I was an order taker in college. I waitressed and bartended at a great restaurant and wine bar just at the foot of College Hill. I made a lot of money taking orders and delivering exactly what my customers wanted. With a smile.

As professionals in the advertising industry, we find ourselves taking orders — filling them to expectations and delivering with a smile. That form of service is just fine, except if you want to show true value and partnership with clients.

In the fall, I attended the ASCEND Digital Marketing Summit. One of the speakers challenged us to constantly ask “why?” At least five times, every time. Our client thinks they need a (insert request here). Why? Because we want to (insert reason here). Why? And the questioning continues. We ask “why” because we know there is a better solution. We ask “why” because we are not order takers. We ask “why” because we were hired to influence behaviors.

Recently, I’ve been re-energized in my professional career. Asking “why” has helped me define new paths and challenge myself, my clients and my colleagues. If nothing else, challenge yourself “why” you want what you are asking for — and you’ll find new meaning in everything you do, not just in advertising.

We are strategic thinkers, we are not order takers. If you want an order taken, I can give you a recommendation for a restaurant around the corner.