business changeWhen it comes to marketing, John Ellett has seen it all. As CEO of nFusion, a digital-centric marketing agency in Austin, Texas, Ellett revitalizes all kinds of brands, from American General to Toshiba. But his depth of experience goes even farther, ranging back to the early years of IBM PC and the rapid-growth years of Dell—rapid growth he himself had a big hand in. On Thursday, Ellett joined the Business Marketing Association of Chicago at the City Winery and offered us some tidbits of wisdom that he’s picked up over the years. With his kind of experience, he’s witnessed every sort of marketing initiative and has picked up on the kind of qualities companies need if they’re going to move fast to reach big goals and be change-making players in the game. We’ve summarized the ones that stood out most to us here.

Being A Change Agent

If you want to see change, you’ve got to make change, says Ellett: whether it’s aiming high to close a sales goal or seeing a problem at your company and stepping up to offer a solution. Ellett insists this can be accomplished by anyone, at any level of the company: from CMOs to entry-level worker bees. Be present in the goals of your company and work to make change when you see opportunity.


Purpose-based brands are on the rise, Ellett says, and you should be thinking about the role of purpose in your marketing. He provided Saucony as an example, citing their mission to “inspire the human spirit through running.” A true mission can be a powerful thing. It’s reasonable to have multiple goals as a company, but when you have a single purpose, it makes it easier to focus on that particular thing and drive toward it powerfully.


This ties directly into the purposefulness mentioned above. All organizations of your business need to be aligned for the same purpose, Ellett says. Every aspect of your company, from the marketing to the customer service, should be aligned under the unifying purpose of existing to do x. This particular element resonated strongly with us, as we have written before about the importance of marketing, sales, and support alignment, so we couldn’t agree more with Ellett on this point.


Marketing is both creative and analytical; inspiring and strategic; it tells a story and it measures results. As humans, we’re wired for stories, Ellett says, but the problem with a business relying purely on stories for their marketing strategy is that stories are subjective. Therefore it’s important that a company find a way to marry the creative and the analytical. Ellett cited Denny’s restaurant as an example. Denny’s has undergone some struggle, but they’ve seen an uptick, he says, when they looked into the data and realized that a large part of their market was college students strolling in for a late-night meal. To use this objective data in a creative way, Denny’s partnered with CollegeHumor for a funny series of videos starring comedians eating at the restaurant. Creativity + data = success, says Ellett.

When it comes to making change and moving fast, we take Ellett’s word for it. Do you have any qualities you would add to this list? Leave them in the comments!