The Marketing Mantra of Leaders: "So What", "Now What"
In the formative years of my marketing career, Bryan Pearson (former CEO at LoyaltyOne) instilled in me the idea that good marketers always ask “so what”. It’s more than just a question. It’s a quick way of saying “what does this mean?”, “is this an issue?” and “is there an opportunity here?”
But it is also important to follow up “so what” with the “now what”. Great marketers today need to think ahead & clearly prescribe a ST-MT-LT (short term-medium term-long term) action plan. The short term needs to be focused and impactful, and the long term needs to build a Sustainable Competitive Advantage (SCA). Otherwise, unaligned priorities are just window dressing and don’t matter. In the ideal world, leaders leverage strategic opportunities they can harness (and that their competitors are unable to do).
Ken Wong (Professor at Queen’s Smith School of Business) recently said that in the post COVID-19 world, nothing will be the same and this provides a unique chance to create new rules. I agree 100%. As a business owner and digital entrepreneur, I believe now is an ideal time to adopt a growth hacking philosophy: test the rules and tricks, eliminate waste through business engineering reviews, and fill in your organizational capability gaps! Don’t hold back.
A practical fast-track to action is STOP/CONTINUE/START: I learned this from a the CMO of a major Telco company who said that he sat down with his key stakeholders each year and asked them for clear & candid recommendations in several categories: 5 things to STOP immediately, 4 things that must absolutely CONTINUE, and 3 big transformational ideas to START. Identifying these areas of focus saves precious time and focuses innovation.
Remember that understanding the “so what” is important, but following this up with a strategic “now what” action plan is when the rubber meets the road. Talk to other leaders, colleagues, peers, and find your “now what”!