Communication,Leadership,Marketing strategy

Communication and Teamwork, Key Components to Achieving a Great IMC Strategy

I have been lucky to work both as part of a company’s marketing team, and then having the opportunity to lead this team as well. Marketing is a complex world where you meet people with different backgrounds, some are creative souls, others are way more analytical, and then rarely you will find people passionate about both. The job of the CMO or anyone in the highest leadership position in marketing is very complicated, not just because achieving an Integrated Marketing Communications strategy is hard and requires a lot of work, but because you have another role simultaneously, the role of leading these talented, but very different individuals to work together and achieve success. Here are some tips that have worked for me as a leader in marketing.

Give the Leaders on Your Team Enough Information and Promote Communication

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Every manager or leader of the marketing sub-teams will oversee different areas, for example, you can have an art or creative director, a digital media manager, a direct marketing manager, and so on. The key for them working together towards the IMC goals the company has set is for them to not only know what each team is working on but also the importance behind every task they need to accomplish and the goal behind it.

An example of this is one time that we were doing a copy experiment with emails, and the Direct Marketing team needed 6 different versions of those emails. She received a lot of push-back from the Art Director because he didn’t understand why they had to create 6 different versions when they usually only worked on one or two. Here my responsibility as the head of marketing was to make everyone involved in this task aware of the strategy behind the experiment and promote communication between them.  Sounds easier than it was, but I learned to start the communication of the strategy from the beginning with the entire marketing management team, to avoid negative push-back later on.

Make Learning From Each Other a Priority on Your Team

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I once heard a very simple but powerful phrase, “you don’t know what you don’t know”. It took me a while to understand it, but once I did it has stuck with me throughout my professional career. Harvesting in your team a passion for knowledge of what your teammates do is very important, and also having a humble attitude of understanding that each person in your team brings different knowledge to the company, and each one can learn something from each other.

This can be easier said than done, and creating a learning environment requires a leader to be very persistent. In the HBR article by Chris Argyris Teaching Smart People How to Learn, he touches on the point that the team members in leadership roles, who are usually well-educated, high-commitment professionals are the ones that have the hardest time learning from each other, and recognizing what they don’t know. By fostering a learning environment within your marketing team you will be able to prevent certain confrontations between the different sub-teams that happen because they don’t understand what the other one does or the importance of their work.

Achieving an Integrated Marketing Communication strategy is very challenging by the amount of work it entails, but it is even more difficult if your team is not integrated and doesn’t know how to work together. Keeping in mind aspects of communication and fostering a learning environment will make your job as a marketing leader a little less complicated, and this way you can focus more of your time and energy on actually developing the marketing strategy.

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