Top 4 Blind Spots and Practical Steps for Marketers
A recent White Paper by Clear M&C Saatchi reported that 80% of CMOs and CEOs believe their business strategy is very clearly defined. But, when VPs and Directors were asked…there was a 21% drop in agreement. The authors described this gap as “strategy getting stuck in the boardroom”.
There is clearly a dramatic gap between what’s happening in the boardroom and what’s happening on the ground. The problem is that lack of clarity on strategy can lead to misalignment and confusion throughout the organization.
Common Blind Spots
What could explain why this expectation gap is happening? There are indicators everywhere, you just need to know where to look! Here’s the most common “blind spots” (aka BS) that we’re seeing in companies today:
BS #1 - C-suite and board are unrealistic.
The C-suite and Board are not as involved in the day-to-day operations of a company, and sometimes they can have inflated or unrealistic expectations of their team’s capabilities and capacity. While confidence in your team is important, overconfidence (rooted in lack of situational awareness) can cause stress and pressure on marketing teams.
BS #2 - Marketing is stretched to the limit of capacity and capability.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, marketers have been expected to do more with less. As a result, this has created a “hamster wheel” of activity, where marketers are constantly being thrown new tactics and expected to keep up. Urgency often trumps important. Executives need to be more aware & sensitive to these blind spots in their organization.
Another compounding issue is scope creep. There’s more MarTech tools, more pressure, and more expectation than ever before. Dumping more, more, more onto marketers is not sustainable in the long term.
BS #3 - Unhappiness and lack of confidence are pervasive.
Marketer’s confidence and happiness are important indicators that provide a “temperature check” within an organization. These have both taken a hit this year, and Boards/C-suites need to be empathetic of these dips in happiness and confidence. See these surveys and research reports for a temperature check and list of typical issues: Marketer’s Confidence Index by the AMA and 2019 Marketer Report Happiness , by Mantis Research & Marketing Profs.
BS #4 - Technical debt.
Unaddressed technical debt can be a serious blind spot. In the past several years, many companies accumulated bloated amounts of tech. Often, companies have redundant pieces of the same technology and aren’t using all the features to their fullest potential. Marketers sometimes hold onto old programs to keep the status quo rolling but “legacy tech” requires constant care & feeding. At a certain point, business teams have to consider whether it’s worth putting money into keeping your car on the road, or whether it’s time to start over & buy a new car!
What Marketers Should Do
Now, you know what blind spots to look out for. But, what action can you take? Here are some practical steps for marketers:
Identify your blind spots and constraints. Carefully reflect on the 4 causes of blind spots listed above, and assess whether these apply to you/your organization.
Revisit the role of marketing. Marketing is more than just getting stuff done. Marketing is strategic and should create customer value, build assets and foster a positive Customer Experience. Get all stakeholders on board regarding the desired key outcomes that marketing can achieve.
Define your ideal state. What does this look like within your organization? What processes, people, and tech do you have in place in your “ideal state”. All organizations should be striving to steer clear of panic mode, and instead try to achieve “zen and flow”. The best marketers create a perpetual flywheel of momentum supported by connected systems.
Honestly assess your capabilities. What data driven marketing capabilities do you need now and in the future? Do you have those capabilities on-hand, or do you need support from partners (or agencies) to fill in your gaps?
Decide whether you want to renovate, or radically change. If there’s a radical difference between what you have and what you need, consider what’s most efficient. Do you want to fix what you already have? Or, are you so far off from your ideal state that you need to radically change your tech and processes?
Create a Stop-Start-Continue action plan. Once you’ve done a thorough assessment of steps 1-5, it’s important to be candid about what should “Stop, Start, and Continue”. Do this quarterly and discuss your thoughts throughout the organization. Note: Tekside conducts Quarterly Report Cards & review sessions for client executives in order to have frank discussions about strategic priorities and results.
Nobody is immune to blind spots. Understanding what to look out for, and what to do to tackle blind spots will help your organization achieve greater alignment and better collective impact. Not to mention it will help you mitigate risks now and down the road!