Marketing Gymnastics

Marketing Gymnastics

One of the distinct advantages of being a marketing advisor to a variety of firms, large and small, is that I have the privilege to experience first hand how these different companies run their marketing functions and to hear the challenges they face. I also listen carefully to their hopes and fears for the future.

A recurring theme has to be what I call ‘marketing gymnastics’. Successful marketing teams, and those aspiring to marketing excellence, in firms of all sizes that demonstrate the mind-set and attitude of a lean start-up, that is to say they are uniquely optimistic, positively charged and have flexible team structures. In the very best of these teams one can almost feel the adrenaline in the room every day, these are people who are hyped on what they do and they’re there to perform.

The ability to scale up their successful projects on tight budgets whilst quickly cancelling under performing activities is another trait I see in successful marketers as they look to demonstrate value for their business and improve return on marketing investment.

These teams also demonstrate an almost unnatural affinity for cutting-edge technologies but are able to reconcile that with a pin sharp focus on the customer. They know all too well that technology is an enabler for marketing, not the purpose of it. The new technologies help them to increase the agility of their campaigns and faster response times are enabled as marketing plans become ever more flexible thanks to the growing influence of social platforms. This drives even greater customer engagement and, since they have their customer front and centre of their marketing objective, delivers an improved customer experience and greater satisfaction. Well, perhaps not always.

The leaders of these teams use data instinctively, they can see trends coming and are able to pull in the resources needed for a fast prototype, test their hypothesis and direct the marketing effort in a new direction where needed.

Some of these marketing departments I find inspirational, some terrify me, others are simply exhausting, but all of them impress me. Sadly they do tend to be in the minority and many of the teams I’ve witnessed simply don’t have the skill set, the motivation or even the desire to excel. Occasionally it has little to do with the individuals and a lot to do with the company, however if we’re going to achieve a vision of a marketing future that is positive and proactive we need to equip people with the right skills and attitudes. Pride in what we do and a healthy dose of competitive spirit also go a long way.

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