2013 December

What Marketing Executives Don’t Say Often Enough

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Best Of World Sign

An ambitious marketing executive — who happened to be a potential client for our content marketing agency — said he wanted to launch “the best marketing in the world next year.”

Of course, the remark was music to our ears. Know how frequently we hear that sort of thing? Let’s just say not often enough.

The marketing field has lots of managers doing a competent job. But too many singles hitters who, for a variety of reasons, don’t aim high enough. I suspect many of my peers in quality-driven shops would agree.

Hoping to do amazing stuff? Think about telling a marketing agency you’re out to run the best work of your career. Break records. Win awards. Unleash a campaign for the ages.

If you mean it and direct your statement to the right gang it may just happen.

Diversity Makes Everything Better. Including Marketing.

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Diversity Pencils

Years ago I worked with Synectics, the innovation consultants who pioneered techniques to unleash creativity in business.

In The Practice of Creativity by Synectics co-founder George Prince, readers learn that diverse problem-solving teams are more likely than homogeneous teams to successfully solve problems requiring creative thinking.

So when confronted with a serious marketing challenge, if you’re out to maximize your odds of success, you don’t want to merely assemble your marketing staff around a conference table. It’s best to include people from other functional areas.

But you shouldn’t stop there. You’ll improve your odds even more by adding people who bring another important perspective to the table. People who regularly solve tricky marketing problems for a variety of businesses.

Outside marketing experts.

You’ll notice almost all of the world’s best brands rely on external marketing teams. They regularly keep them busy, to lift everyone’s level of play and consistently see better outcomes.

In the healthiest marketing organizations, internal staffers welcome contributions from the outside. Employees view external experts as collaborators, not competitors. Marketing leaders encourage efforts to assemble diverse problem-solving teams. The focus remains on what gets done and what it accomplishes rather than who does it.

Some marketing executives think it’s more cost-effective to keep everything in-house; many subtly or overtly push employees in that direction. Initially it may be less costly, but very often, it isn’t more cost-effective. Marketing is a business where a change to one variable can make all the difference. In some cases an agency staffer will be the only person willing to tell senior managers what they need to hear, even when it isn’t what they want to hear. And of course, external experts bring valuable skills to important marketing assignments.

Excellent marketing agencies often contribute exponentially more in revenue than what they’re paid. The return on investment from a good external agency or person is often outstanding.

The alternative is a monopoly among internal marketing staff. We all know the problems associated with monopolies, including reductions in innovation.

Diversity really does make everything better.