The last two blogs I’ve written may have ruffled a few feathers – but in a good way. In both blogs I gave my honest insights into the ‘Do It Yourself/Internal’ vs ‘Get Someone In/External’ debates.
So, while I’m already disrupting thoughts, it’s a case of ‘in for a penny, in for a pound’, as I’m about to do it again. This time I’m exploring marketing decisions. In particular who should be making them, who shouldn’t, and where the buck should stop. I’m sure a joke must exist somewhere with the starter line of ‘How many people does it take to make a marketing decision …’.
It seems that when it comes to decision time, everyone gets involved. Honestly, I sometimes wonder whether the window cleaners get invited to have their say too! It’s time to address this phenomenon and question whether this approach does indeed enhance the direction and the messages or your marketing, or in fact stifle them.
What’s that? Did I hear a sharp intake of breath just then? Yes, I know what you’re thinking – is he really going to go there?
Yes. Yes, I am.
Why disruption is so powerful
Before I go on, I really want to give a shout-out to disruptive thinking. Without challenging the norm, changes don’t happen. Changes really do have the power to transform the way organisations behave.
Maybe some people think that as a Director of a Design and Marketing Creative Agency it’s not my place to question how organisations work or to bring these kind of thoughts into the open, but I do believe that there’s a better way when it comes to marketing decisions.
I’ve been around long enough to see many successes, and some fails too. Hand on heart I can say that the success stories are down to the marketers – the experts in their area – having control over the big decisions. And many of the fails are due to that old adage, ‘too many cooks spoil the broth’.
Talking candidly about ways to improve an organisation’s creative output, success, bottom line, and reputation and bringing it to people’s attention has got to be the right thing, don’t you think?
Who makes the marketing decisions?
One of the biggest ball-aches for a lot of marketers and designers is having to take their concept to a committee. On the whole, this is a wonderful opportunity to listen to the views of others and to see reactions. When the right people are involved, this valuable input will help shape the concept into an incredibly successful one.
However, it’s becoming more common for these decision-making committees to be made up of people who give guidance and opinions that aren’t necessarily relevant. Yet, these opinions are taken into consideration.
I’ve seen concepts take a complete change in direction due to an unqualified opinion; a direction that leads to a brick wall.
Let your marketers take control of the wheel
I get why committees are consulted, I really do, it’s safe. But when was marketing safe? Were Cadbury’s playing it safe when they launched their Gorilla campaign, or introduced the 70s housewife to the Smash Martians?
These campaigns took ‘unsafe’ to an extreme, but the genius of the creative minds behind the concepts knew best. They instinctively knew the direction to head in and got the go-ahead to drive the bus. And boy, were the brands glad they put the creative experts in the driving seat and silenced the passengers that day!
Trust your marketers and your designers! Empower them to have the courage to go with their convictions and nail their colours to the mast. Adopting this approach and seeing the results will prove that they are better qualified than anyone else to make the toughest of marketing decisions.
So, what now
If you’re not scared of a bit of disruption, then it’s time to challenge this safe, pragmatic approach.
- Make sure the people who need to be involved in the decision process understand their role. And more importantly, know when they need to butt-out.
- Your compliance team isn’t there to comment on fonts!
- Silence the dangerous egos that want to ‘have their say’ more than they want the campaign to succeed.
- Respect everyone’s expertise and experience.
- Disrupt the norm and let your marketers lead the way. With them driving the bus, you can guarantee a smoother, successive ride and get to your destination on time too.