Managers in all industries know the story of the manager in the boat. He’s tasked with keeping it afloat and instead of calling the shots by staying in the middle, he’s running frantically from one side to the other to check on his crew. In doing so, he’s throwing the whole operation off-balance, and everyone ends up reacting by bailing water.
The same can be said for marketers who are holed up in the marketing campaign process. You line up your channels, test the systems, check everything off the list… And then what? In all the frenzy, are you picking up your head to look around?
CEOs often mention that they don’t want to see a list of numbers from their marketing department. They want to see the strategic stuff – to know that the marketing team has a process and a set of tools that function, that they have a strategic impact. So while you know the background processes, here are some tips to consider for your next presentation:
Tell good stories. You know the numbers, you’ve pulled the reports. What do they mean? What’s more important than the fact that you’ve had revenue growth is how you got there – and if that plan is sustainable. What information do you have that will help you steer the ship moving forward?
Dot your Is and cross your… Channels. Are you operating in silos? Then you’re running back and forth on the boat. Stop it. Some of your best marketing stories may come from the way in which your channels are operating together. Take your CEO on the consumer journey.
Be a team player. You’ve optimized across channels. Have you optimized across departments? If a customer looks at a catalog, checks the website, or phones your call center, is he/she receiving the same information – or are they getting the dreaded “that must be a web deal?”
Most importantly, keep your head up. If you’re on one side of the boat, how can you see what’s happening on the other side? If you’re knee-deep in website upgrades, have you stopped to check how this transfers into the mobile version?
And in this seafaring metaphor, data is your lighthouse. Use it to guide your processes, to navigate your strategy. Keep one eye on it at all times. And your next meeting with your CEO will hold more water.