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Challenges CMOs Face: Connecting Innovation and Culture

By December 20, 2017Marketing Strategy

In this installment of our “Challenges CMOs Face” blog series, we tackle how innovation can be incorporated into company culture by integrating employee involvement in the strategic planning process. Some CMOs make decisions in a leadership vacuum. Here’s why you should be different.

Throughout the year, traditions help to ground us. From celebrating holidays to family reunions to trips to see dear friends, these routines help us take stock of what’s important.

Chief Marketing Officers should regularly review marketing efforts, but not in order to find comfort in repetition. Instead, this tradition should serve to prepare for what lies ahead by challenging CMOs to innovate. For most CMOs, fostering a culture of innovation in the workplace is easier said than done. AdAge calls it one of the top challenges facing today’s marketing managers. That’s where roadmaps come in.

Creating a solid marketing roadmap requires time to brainstorm, analyze and think. When CMOs need to solve problems and nurture big ideas, they sometimes lock themselves away, only letting a precious few, if any, in on our progress. This approach is like telling the family you’d prefer to go on your annual vacation alone. You might feel fulfilled, but the people you depend on most, will not.

The same applies to your team at work. Your team wants to be part of the tradition of taking stock and planning for the year ahead.

Everyone must join the journey

Your company’s workforce is a precious resource in cultivating a culture of innovation. For the first brainstorming session, the clear list of acquisition goals, the ways in which you will use your marketing budget and your plan needs to be shared with the entire team. They need to be a part of the strategic process and here’s why:

Your employees will…

Help you think beyond profit margins
CMOs tend to focus intently on the money, and for good reason. A CMO has to show the CEO or board members the value of the team’s efforts and outline wins that were achieved within budget.

An exceptional marketing roadmap contains ingenuity as well as integers. That ingenuity comes from your employees who know your customers and often interact with them on a daily basis. Your employees are the source of the best ideas for new products or services, for campaigns that capture what matters to your customers, or for content that will delight as well as inform.

Keep your marketing roadmap real
Employees understand the day-to-day tasks that must be completed to keep everything running smoothly. With a vested interest in the marketing roadmap, your employees can tie larger company marketing goals back to the daily grind and help you understand how smaller tasks add up to the accomplishment of larger marketing goals. Meanwhile, the exposure to those smaller tasks means your employees are enabled and empowered to fine-tune and improve regular processes to increase efficiency.

Require you to set expectations
You can’t expect success from your team without setting clear expectations. Employees who are included in the planning process will know how specific roles and responsibilities contribute to the larger marketing picture for the year and beyond. You play a crucial role in helping your team understand not only performance expectations but also common goals achieved as a result of meeting those expectations.

Bring something unique to the table
When roles, responsibilities and expectations are clear within your marketing roadmap, it allows each team member’s strengths and knowledge to emerge. Your employees will know how to best leverage their strengths for the greater good because they understand how they fit into your company’s marketing puzzle.

Great things will begin to happen when you embrace a collaborative approach to strategic planning. Listen to employee feedback and ideas. Let them brainstorm with you. Assure them no idea is too big or too crazy.

Feel valued
When you understand what each employee brings to the table and how the person contributes to the big picture, your employees will feel valued and appreciated. Praise them for their efforts and reinforce positive contributions. Employees who are part of the bigger plan will feel important and in turn will hold themselves accountable for the overall success of your marketing efforts.

The result?

Productivity will increase
Employees who feel valued and invested in the larger plan will work hard to execute the plan. They will go above and beyond, often without being asked. And when employees start to go above and beyond…

Creativity and innovation will increase
Whether it’s a white paper, a webinar, a video series, or a content initiative, employees who have a stake in the planning will want to engage, bring their best ideas and put them to work. What’s more, they’ll want to lead by your strong example. Since you didn’t create the strategic plan in a vacuum, they won’t work in a vacuum. Thus…

Teamwork will increase
Everyone knows their unique role and what each brings to the table. Team members can sit down and figure out how to marry their talents and collaborate on shared marketing goals.

Gaining perspective
Whether you’re just getting to know your team or you’ve been working with your employees for a long time, it never hurts to toss out your usual playbook and start fresh.

Next Steps:

Sit down with your team and anwer these questions:

  • Does the company have a clear mission and objective?
  • Do you have key performance indicators to help you measure success?
  • What is the operational process for sales? Customer service?
  • Are you efficiently using the data you’re getting from these processes to achieve desired results?
  • How are your resources being used to achieve your goals?
  • Is your team best positioned to execute on your marketing roadmap?

Is there anything you’re missing?

Whether it’s a simple piece of thought leadership content or the launch of a new product, each must align with a clear strategic vision and goal.

A balanced and unbiased third-party evaluation of your existing process will take your marketing program to the next level. This kind of evaluation can help you:

  • Generate more leads
  • Identify cost savings
  • Streamline marketing and sales processes
  • Maximize return on investment

Tegrita is composed of marketing automation experts and strategists who can help you map out your marketing journey and give each member of your team a seat at the table in the process.

Integrity. It’s in our name. It’s how we do business. And it’s what we will instill in your marketing team and your marketing campaign.

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. Click here to get your own Roadmap Toolkit.

Contact us today to discuss your needs and find out how we can help.

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Mike Geller

Chief Technology Officer | President at Tegrita
Mike Geller is a pun-loving coffee connoisseur, panellist and facilitator who makes you question if you ever understood the power of marketing technology. Mike believes that nothing is impossible and his knowledge of data, analytics and the future of revenue technology makes a strong argument that he could be right. He is the Co-Author of CMO to CRO, The Revenue Takeover by The Next Generation Executive. Bringing Mike on to your podcasts and panel discussions will implore your audience to reconsider how they approach Martech and where they see their limits.