The marketing group inside organizations used to put together lavish experiences and was funded to really get the word out there. Those were other times. By the time I arrived in a company, the funds had been cut down to starving conditions.
The opportunity to be creative and stretch both the dollars and the work to affect the maximum impact is very real. When people say "it's not about working hard, it's about working smart," they only capture a tiny part of effectiveness. Being hands-on continues to be a good quality to have for marketing professionals.
Plus, in the rush to prove ROI with every single activity and piece created, we may be jettisoning activities that build a more robust body that can be the basis for conversation (and reputation) over time. As well, integration is much more difficult when everyone has a different project and outcome to measure to. We do marketing a disservice by implying that no immediate ROI equals no value. Have you seen finance and human resources measure the bottom line impact of the service they provide to the organization?
To be sure, today we have many more tools at our disposal. The most important of them all is active participation in conversations with peers and colleagues from all types of organizations -- companies, agencies, partners, consultants, technologists, innovators. I find more and more that there is no silver bullet, yet there are plenty of ways to make a difference.
In the next couple of months, I will be participating in a number of activities.
In early February, I will attend a conference and CMO Summit at the Center on Global Brand Leadership, Columbia Business School in New York City. It will be interesting to be at the roundtables, group exercises, and peer-to-peer discussions of the key challenges for innovation and brand building in organizations today.
What challenges are you facing in your organization, agency, practice? The point of view is a portal for broader awareness when we have conversation as a foundation. I thank Francois Gossieaux for inviting me to participate to this event.
"Since you received such strong suggestions on the agency side, I would like you to consider the client. Although the words and nice capabilities graphics are very good and some even perfect, often it all falls apart when we look at case studies. They do not match the promise made in the pitch.
Why? Was it client who held the agency back? Maybe. Or maybe there was nobody inside the agency who thought of starting the meeting by listening to what the client is wrestling with, then adapted the conversation to the why, what and how the agency could provide.
Think market-driven, problem-solving, big picture attitude based on the business the client is in. How can the agency's work apply to the client's business more closely?"
We continued the conversation off line and Tim was kind enough to invite me to participate even more closely -- face-to-face works for me.
There is work and play in my future. I will be at Blogger Social 2008, joining a fun, smart and diverse group of bloggers from different cities and continents. We all have one thing in common -- the desire to help companies grow and to make a difference in our own unique ways, together.
It's exciting to think that I will meet in person professionals I have had a dialogue with for months -- Connie Reece, Anna Farmery, Gavin Heaton, Kris Hoet, Rohit Bhargava, Sean Howard, Seni Thomas, Tangerine Toad, Ann Handley and many more I have not met. As well, I look forward to be reunited with many I have had the fortune of meeting face-to-face this past year.
From my experience with communities at work, these are the best kinds of get togethers as there is enough flexibility and social action to facilitate real connections. Trying to do it all -- content and fun/personal connections -- at an event can lead to late nights and a tired mind during the day, plus a five-minute hallway chat will not produce connection. It's what I call ships crossing paths in the night.
Today's experiences (less lavish but all the same enjoyable) can be had by participating in marketing conversations with your peers and setting aside the time to give back to the profession. Mentoring is also a high priority for me.
This year I will continue helping students of The Fox School of Business as an Advisory Board member of The Global Entrepreneurship in Technology (GET) course that is part of the Enterprise Management Consulting Practices and the distinguishing core of the Fox School's International MBA program.
I liked Greg Verdino's response to Seth's post on being a workaholic, even though I got what Seth is saying. I would not define what Greg, and many of us do as being addicted to work -- I for one am more on the passion side of things, especially when it comes to participation.
The best way to lead and manage a work force of passionate people is to let them do their work and let them participate to the market conversation. That's when they can bring those valuable learnings back to your organization and help move it forward... if you are listening.