There are two types of marketing departments: those that drive and those that are passengers. Those that drive understand that Marketing revs the growth engine. Those that simply ride along only go where the driver takes them. Unfortunately, most marketing departments seem to fit in the second category.
How about yours? Where do you sit? If you aren’t sure, see if any of these sound familiar:
- Your To-Do list is full of items that someone else requests
- Your job seems to be more about filling orders than being creative
- Almost every job is hot or late – there’s always a deadline you have to hit today, or more likely, yesterday
- Your staff puts in the hours, but not a lot of effort
- Other departments go around Marketing / try to do it themselves rather than trust you to get it done right
If any of the above ring true, you are probably used to sitting in the cramped back seat.
But if you are ready to stretch your legs, let’s talk about how you move up to the driver seat instead:
- Grow an attitude. A positive attitude, that is. If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will either. Teams need to believe in each other in order to work together.
- Play to your strengths. You may not consider yourself an amazing designer, and perhaps your copywriting skills may need a little help at times, but absolutely no one knows and understands your brand like you. Do what you do well, and bring in the extra resources you need to get the results you deserve.
- Develop a plan. Unless you have a roadmap, someone else will continue to decide your route. Focus on goals, find a way to solve problems, then share the plan to build consensus.
- Learn how to speak their language. Marketing is a somewhat foreign language for most C-Level people, just as accounting or compliance may be for you. Listen to their concerns, ask what is important to them, then do the math and present your plans in terms they understand.
- Get a seat at the table. Marketing should be involved in everything from products to policies. If you’re not attending Executive Team or Board meetings, that’s a problem. If needed, ask nicely, promise to sit in the back and listen, and show up consistently. Pretty soon they’ll be asking for your opinion as well.
- Drive the new product bus. As marketers, you are responsible for giving people reasons to come to the credit union, and ongoing product development is a key element of differentiation.
Take these steps, and it shouldn’t be long before your CEO starts shouting “SHOTGUN!” when you pick up the keys.
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