As a marketer for almost 15 years, I have seen the evolution of the internet, the introduction of the “automation” of marketing, the rise of the mobile, and the fall of print. I have read numerous articles, mostly online, about a variety of new and old marketing strategies all with conflicting opinions about the same tactic and all with data to back each one up. I have had the opportunity to work in a few industries, create successful marketing campaigns for consumers and businesses, and built marketing teams from one person to an entire department. I have also had the opportunity to work with bright, young people who know all the cutting edge marketing tools. It’s like talking to Matt Damon’s character in Good Will Hunting when it comes to their regurgitation of an awesome infographic or marketing statistic…a flawless, robotic, but masterful response.
Then the record scratches when I ask them for direct feedback from an internal department or customer…
When I speak to local college marketing classes or any younger marketer, the one thing I tell them to do is to get out of their seat and go find feedback! I remember a very vivid story during my first week at a past company. I walked over to the other side of the building into the Sales department to talk with them. One of my first conversations to the team was to ask what kind of relationship they have with Marketing. The response from one person was priceless…”I don’t even know where Marketing sits and they never would leave their desk anyway, unless it was for free lunch.” This was our main stakeholder and we were literally only 50 feet away from each IN THE SAME BUILDING!
Marketing, is much like Sales in the “what have you done for me lately” mentality, without the commission plan. Your credibility within your organization exponentially increases when you break out of the silo and visit their world. They will be more open to providing feedback and most importantly, accept you as a true partner striving for the same goals. Technology within the marketing world is astonishing as to how it will help you monitor, plan, and track your campaigns, but human interaction and the willingness to carve out periodic time in the departments is priceless.
So, schedule a ride out into the field every quarter, sit in the Sales department once a month, or touch base with your clients for an impromptu survey. There is a cost to these activities, but I guarantee the benefit far outweighs the cost in the form of better understanding how your marketing affects your customers, both internal and external.