If I were to ask you how a marketing person should be, probably the first associated quality would be creativity. Combined with a sort of “out of the box” vision or approach or something different, with some surprise, more of “something that no one has ever done before” touch. So that the brand and the communication be different,more special, more “unique”. Please excuse the irony, but do you know any brand that does not want to be special and unique? And what does it need for this?Creativity, of course. If we take all the departments of a company and we place them on a creativity scale, most probably marketing will be on the top stair(and financial on the lowest, but this is another discussion). Yet, there are a few other qualities that project a marketing person or team on the performance rank,without which creativity and the “out of the box” approach would have no value at all. So, this is not an article about creativity (for those who are yet interested by the subject, there are some more articles on my blog about it: Where the creativity comes from, What’s the difference between a slogan and a value proposition – or When the creativity misleads the business).It is an article about some other components, less sexy, of the marketing profile, about which one does not speak so much, but without which there would be no performance in marketing. Real performance measured in any way possible.Let’s take them one at a time:
- Discipline. Marketing is like sports: you keep up, it gives you results, you give up or take a break, or better said, you only “take” a marketing break from time to time, you will see no results. Or worse, you will have the impression that you did some marketing actions and invested resources and yet you see nothing. From my point of view, by far the most important quality, discipline, means to elaborate a plan and stick to it and if you deviate from it, you must know what you deviated from and why. To work in advance, on deadlines and stick to them, too.It is another way of keeping your promises. To make out of them a habit, a routine, a lifestyle like they say in nutrition and sports, as with all the other activities of the company. Do not fear that marketing could become yet a too boring and repetitive activity, because once you place the vehicle on track, only then you will be able to let creativity flow.
- Organizing and project management with great finesse. Marketing has a great feature of putting together all kinds of tasks and deliveries, of various types and connects also different people, with various capabilities and talents. From websites programming and report analysis, to psycho-sociological analysis of clients’ profiles, to writing creative copy (also with an impactful call-to-action!) up to evaluating invested budgets. The capacity to keep all these things in order and not lose any detail from sight on the road (“we have all the campaign ready but… ups, we do not have the links active on site, who was in charge with that?…”) is not an art, but a real expertise in project management, which requires great skills with people and tasks, combined with a super-sense of their fine distribution in time.
- Endurance.And now a saying from a game we played in our childhood comes back to me:”Endurance, peace and rhythm…”. We do not refer here to that resistance to stress which already automatically appears in all job descriptions (though important, too), but to that rather resilience more of a ”sustainable” nature,to find the right dosage for the resources and to move on. Since we were already talking about sports, marketing is not a 100 m sprint, but a marathon race on tens of kilometers in which you need to know how to keep your breath,speed, hydration, etc. ”Keep walking” – probably one of the best slogans of all times – is a perfect match. Speed has no relevance, the thing is not to stop. Not to give in, not to get demotivated and if yet you crumble down, to get up,clean up and move on. You forgot about creativity and vision, right? I told you these qualities are not that sexy, but if you managed to read so far, it means that something must be well connected.
- An optimal combination of analytic and synthetic capacity, which differs from case to case, even in the case of the same brand, and this is where all the charm is. For instance, when launching a product/brand on the market, the focus on the analysis part is crucial, the context, market, consumers must be all very well understood. After which, later on, when we can say we have a some how enough quantity of data, the capacity to navigate through them and extract the right conclusions (capacity to summarize)becomes very important. Many wrong decisions have been witnessed due to inappropriate information… (”oh, we looked into that 3 years old report, we did not know that there is one available for this year…”). Information overload is a hard trap, and only a synthetical mind can face the challenge. If you ever want to test the synthesis capacity of a marketing person you work with (or of other managers), give them a report of 100 pages and ask them to rewrite it in 10 PowerPoint slides, without any fonts lower than 18.
- Objectivity pushed to the extreme alienation from the marketer you were yesterday, more specifically, from what you believed yesterday, when today, facing new information and data, you find that the new ingredients simply ruin all your constructs built so far. The purely human tendency is to protect what you built so hard, fearing that also your reputation can be damaged, but a real marketer will be able to step back, breath in and sincerely and openly conclude that actually the constructs based on assumptions or yesterday data do not lead anywhere, so we could just stop better yet and start over. For tomorrow, not for yesterday.
As a conclusion, marketing is not an exact science, but a complex mix of capabilities and talents out of which each one builds her or his own recipe. What does your recipe look like?