Creative ideas set trends and get you noticed, but without an agile infrastructure, creative successes won’t last. In this installment of our “Challenges CMOs Face” blog series, we discuss how CMOs can balance the big ideas that help them move forward in meaningful ways without sacrificing the smaller, less attention-grabbing improvements still necessary for success.
CMOs love big marketing ideas that shake up the norm. They love to not just think “big picture,” but also change the way the entire industry picture looks. Because of this, it’s easy to lose sight of the little things that need to get done behind the scenes in order to properly execute a big-picture vision. When executing a large-scale project, the “small stuff” is just as important.
CMOs must work to build teams and develop processes that encourage a harmonious balance in your marketing efforts. Trendsetting and attention-grabbing creative ideas are important, but so are small, incremental improvements in procedures and systems that don’t always make the headlines.
When things are a little out of whack, you can feel it. That might mean you’re letting one set of sensibilities dominate a little too often. Here are four signs things are off balance:
- You’re devoting too much time and budget to the most dramatic innovations. You want to bring your company prestige, and that’s OK. Investing all of your time and resources into a flashy campaign may do just that, but what if you do not have a marketing infrastructure that can help you sustain that success? What is the purpose and overall goal?
- You’re ignoring small improvements. Regularly evaluating and fine-tuning your marketing automation strategy is necessary. The same applies for improving your marketing and sales processes. These practices do not create headlines, but they ensure you have the foundation necessary to build a successful campaign that addresses your goals.
- You’re closing yourself off to others’ ideas. When it comes to the development of new ideas, it is the norm for someone with a CMO background to have the urge to completely run the show. However, shutting out other points of view is a recipe for disaster. Not only will it hinder your development, it will also make your team feel undervalued.
- You’re routinely afraid to step out of your comfort zone. It’s true that you’re not going to act on every idea your team presents. Perhaps you’ve got your own stash of ideas that you’re waiting for the right time to try, but if it’s been months, or even years since you took a chance on one of those ideas, you may be doing a disservice to yourself and your team. A fear of failure will cause you and your team to routinely chase the accomplishments of others in your field, and you may miss out on being on the cutting edge in your industry.
If any of those scenarios feel a little too familiar, here are six ways to get back on track:
- Create an agile planning process. Annual planning is obsolete. Today’s marketing landscape is constantly changing, sometimes daily. Create a 12- to 18-month strategic planning roadmap that helps your team look to the future, and then convene for more frequent planning meetings — once per month or even once a week.
- Create a team structure that ensures you will listen to them. Hierarchical team structures limit the flow of creative ideas. Embrace open communication, collaboration and input from your entire team regardless of their “title,” position or seniority. Creating an environment of equality while respecting the skills and expertise everyone brings to the table will lead to success.
- Devote time to your own professional development. Take the time to stay current with skills and competencies that keep your marketing efforts fresh and innovative. Being open to new learning opportunities will ensure your company’s success. “This is how we’ve always done it” will not always work. Go to conferences. Take online courses. Learn, Create, Test. Demonstrate a willingness to learn from your industry peers, other industries, and your colleagues.
- Pay attention to your data. You absolutely need to know what your customers are thinking, and you need to anticipate what they will be thinking next. To do both, you need to pay attention to the data you collect. Are you getting feedback in real time? Are you able to flag problems so you can solve them quickly and then prevent them from happening again? If not, it’s time to reassess your data collection and evaluation systems.
- Let go of your fear. Do you find you often hesitate to move forward on an idea because you’re afraid it won’t fly with leadership? Perhaps you’re not experienced with the tactics proposed and you’re afraid to trust your team? Take a step back, and talk about it with your team. Be honest about whether you’re hesitating because it’s a really bad idea or because it’s an idea that takes you out of your personal comfort zone. No one is immune to failure. Don’t give up on a chance to create something great because you’re afraid it will tank.
- Get help. You need external advisers and analysts to help you cut through the noise in the marketing landscape. These advisers can help you evaluate trends, determine your needs and lay the groundwork to support amazing campaigns, now and in the future.
Tegrita Consulting Group provides the services and expertise CMOs need for a creative and balanced marketing approach.
We help you stay nimble with automated marketing capabilities tailored to the needs of your business. We stay ahead of the trends, and then help you drill down to which trends you truly need for long-term success.
Working collaboratively with you and your team, Tegrita can help you assess current efforts to establish agile marketing and sales processes that deliver the top-quality data you need for real-time decision making. We then help you create a 12- to 18-month marketing roadmap that ensures your team stays on track for long-term success.
To get you started, we’ve put tougher a Strategic Roadmapping Playbook to outline the process and provide some of the templates that we use when we work with clients like you.
Let’s get in touch to talk about how Tegrita can help you not just stay up to date with trends but also create them.