Each month in the Green Room we return backstage to pose a question to a group of our Rockstar CMOs. In this issue, Ian Truscott catches up with seven of them to talk about how to stay focused on a marketing strategy, when it’s so easy to be distracted by channels, tech and tactics.
In this month’s Green Room, the topic of conversation was this:
How do you focus (and keep your teams focused) on a strategy to deliver on the core business objectives and not get caught up or distracted by the latest marketing fads, fashions, ninjas, hackers and the choice of 3,500 martech doohickeys the vendors would have us believe we can’t live without?
John Andrews, CEO Photofy
Marketing hasn’t changed no matter what some would have you believe. There still is a goal to connect with the right people at the right time with the right message. Digital has blurred this line by enabling marketers to connect with people they think fit those categories but in reality, they just match some demographic or search profile they’ve set up. Just because someone searches something, does NOT mean they are in buying mode. Incessant ads have the opposite effect and destroy brand equity. Just because you CAN advertise to someone, doesn’t mean you SHOULD! NEw shiny penny ways or reaching people should always be subject to the basic tenants of marketing.
Amber Osborne, CMO Doghead Solutions
As three young ladies from the band TLC sang, “Don’t go chasing waterfalls, listen to the rivers and the lakes that you are used to.” If everyone else is being a lemming and jumping off the cliff with new tools and fads you may want to pick one or two to enhance current efforts but putting time, money and resources into trying to do it all will only produce poor quality results and cause too many distractions. Know what works for your goals, if it doesn’t fit don’t feel like you are missing out. Sometimes being ahead of the curve means staying on your path.
Amber Osborne is CMO at Doghead Simulations – the company behind rumii, a social-virtual reality space that enables collaboration in VR. Amber suggested mandatory karaoke when we went backstage with her.
Christine Bailey, CMO of Valitor
Because the volume of noise is so high these days, I think we’ve almost become too good at playing deaf! Yes, we need to be focussed and deliver on our goals, but we also need to keep our minds and our ears open and be ready to adjust. For example, I became so tuned out to the recent ABM hype that I overlooked the advancements in technology in this area. It took an old marketing friend to show me what he was doing to open my eyes to new possibilities! I call it ‘slowing down to speed up’ – when we need to pause and give ourselves space to generate the thought and strategy necessary to move us on to greater things. Listening to customers is always a worthy investment of time, as well as talking to your marketing peers, attending a conference, playing a podcast – or wherever you get your ‘brain food’ from. As with everything in life…it’s all about balance – I recommend carving out time where you give yourself permission to ‘be distracted’, with good intent!
Dr. Christine Bailey is CMO of Valitor, an international payment solutions company headquartered in Iceland. Forging a career in the tech sector, she’s led European marketing functions for Hewlett-Packard and Cisco Systems and was recently voted #1 woman in tech by B2B Marketing.
Learn more about Christine in backstage Q&A here.
Wendy Bryant-Beswick, VP of Marketing, Service Credit Union
It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day tactics and push your strategy to the side. I meet with my managers monthly to see how we’re trending towards our goals and how we’re doing strategically. Being a financial services company, we are focused on business goals which are communicated monthly as well.
The other guardrail I always put in place to avoid getting caught up in the latest marketing fad, is our plan and our budget. If something new surfaces that we really, really think is valid, the questions that have to be answered are: Is this in budget? If not, how will it get funded? What’s the business objective this new program will achieve? If we cannot answer all three, the item gets put off for consideration in the following year.
While our calendar and business plan are constantly reviewed, I also advise meeting with the business teams you’re supporting throughout the year to determine if you’re on goal and on strategy. This gets you out of the “bake and set” mode with strategy and keeps your strategy fluid and dynamic.
Wendy Bryant-Beswick is an award-winning marketer with 20 years’ experience in the financial services industry. She is currently VP of Marketing at Service Credit Union. Go backstage with Wendy.
Three of our Rockstars had a little more to say on the topic, that you can find elsewhere in this issue:
The founder and Chief Trouble Maker at The Content Advisory suggests we reach for the film The Princess Bride for inspiration. No, he really does and he’ll fight you on that. Read more
What’s the key to an unwavering marketing focus? Our resident Rockstar Ted Rubin tells it like it is – keep the customer front and center, avoid unnecessary automation and ditch the bots
When you’re under pressure it’s easy to take short-cuts to tech solutions. But the focus a good strategy provides is vital to making the right decisions, shares VP of Marketing at Crownpeak, Ian Lowe
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