Reconnecting to Passion and Purpose
As the Founder and CEO of Intelligent Demand, John Common thrives on watching his employees and clients evolve and grow within the ID ecosystem. “When I started ID, I didn’t realize that would become the best part of my job. But it is.” But after 8 years of running a leading revenue growth agency, John says “watching amazing people become even more amazing is just incredibly rewarding to witness and support.”
Intelligent Demand’s story began back in 2011 when John looked at the expanding role of B2B marketing leaders and the growing number of challenges and opportunities in front of them. “Then I looked at the typical agencies that were out there trying to serve them—a bunch of tactical agencies were filled with smart people doing good work, but none were doing what ID does.” So John created a company that acts as an extension of a Chief Marketing Officer’s team. ID doesn’t just focus on activity and tactics, they drive the metrics that CEO’s care about. “It’s about engaging and acquiring the right new customers, and then retaining and expanding relationships with them in innovative, measurable ways—that’s what ID exists to do with our clients.”
Intelligent Demand is not only delivering world-class service to its clients but offers one of the best employee experiences in the state. For the second year in a row, they have been named one of Built In Colorado’s Best Places to Work. Employee perks play a role, but so does embracing a set of values that are the basis for ID’s culture. “We’ve learned to put our values at the center of our business because we know that our success comes from embodying them on a daily basis.” Even though Intelligent Demand is an incredible place to work, John realizes that people don’t stay at one company forever. “We’re building this idea of an ID Alumni Club. We attract smart, kind, incredible people to come work at ID. Some come for one or two tours of duty. Some stay longer. But eventually, most people take their careers elsewhere. They learn and grow, then they go out and continue to do more amazing things in their career. We stay friends and stay connected. Sometimes our employees become our clients! It all comes from taking a long term view of human relationships and realizing that great people should stay connected. It’s just cool.”
What else is cool? John’s fresh take on this year’s annual strategy and planning process. “I mentally stepped way out of the day-to-day of the business and I gave myself permission to no longer be the CEO.” John didn’t literally quit, but mentally “resigned” to gain a new perspective. “My wife and I went to Mexico over the holidays and I spent my time asking myself ‘What about this business connects to my passion and purpose?’ It was incredibly valuable to get that distance and perspective.” What came out of that exercise was a long letter, written in great detail, about why John is so passionate and why he cares so much about ID’s purpose, mission, clients, people and culture.
The second thing John did was to go all the way back, like a new CEO might do, and look at the founding vision of the organization back in 2011. “I wrote it down and I kind of interviewed myself in a weird way. ‘Why did you found it? What was the original vision?’ I read it and saw that it’s still 100 percent valid.”
To take this new way of looking at the business one step further, John went back and analyzed what the company learned year-over-year from 8 years of experience and multiple phases of company growth – like a new CEO would do. He combined that perspective with numerous conversations he had with the company’s employees, clients, prospects, partners and board of advisors. All of that input and analysis has fed the company’s new strategy. “It’s so easy to get sucked into the tyranny of the urgent and the day-to-day grind. You can start to lose perspective. Stepping all the way out and looking honestly at our value proposition, our north star, our clients, our market opportunity and the incredible company and culture that we’ve built is one of the healthiest things I’ve ever done. We’re on a path to become the best B2B revenue growth agency in the world. That sounds audacious, I know. But we like doing big things. I’ve never been more excited about who we are and where we’re going. ”
By reconnecting to passion and purpose, John Common became the new CEO of ID. “But I’m still the guy who’s been here the whole time.”