Strategic Planning

Marketers Need a Whole New Mind

a whole new mind

Today we’re finishing up our series on Dan Pink’s A Whole New MindIn our first post we introduced Dan’s premise that we’re in a new Conceptual Age where companies will succeed or fail thanks to right-brained, “R-Directed” thinking.

Last week Nancy introduced his six critical right-brained skills:  design, storytelling, symphony, empathy, play and meaning.  Many B2B marketing programs are dry and dull, so she ended with six ways to apply those concepts to your next campaign.

Today I’m going back to old-school left-brain thinking.  Frankly, most marketing teams aren’t doing enough of it.  What most B2B companies need is the “Genius of the And” – more right brain AND more left brain.

B2B marketers often face a credibility gap in their own companies.  After all, most C-level executives didn’t come from the marketing function.  Many of them think of marketing as a purely creative function (think “advertising”) that produces questionable results.  And if it can’t be measured, then it’s logical that the marketing budget is the first to go when revenue is down.

To overcome this problem, marketers need to beef up their “L-Directed Thinking” as well.  It’s about analysis, numbers and processes:  ROI, conversion rates, defined stages, revenue projections, gross sales, net profits, asset values.  These terms resonate with C-level executives and VPs of Sales.  These figures provide the credibility and strategic value that most B2B companies need.

Marketing Champions (by the MarketingProfs founders) goes into rich detail on this subject. The key is to show a method behind your madness.  Every business function except marketing typically has a systematic process, metrics and a purpose that’s aligned with the C-level vision.  By instilling these same concepts in your marketing function, you’ll improve your performance and stature within the company.

So how can you apply more process, purpose and metrics to your marketing efforts?

  • Develop your marketing plans to support and drive your CEO’s business strategies
  • Set tangible goals that you can measure
  • Tie marketing campaigns to specific sales goals
  • Measure and continually refine to improve your results
  • Communicate outcomes in financial terms

How to Create a Whole New Mind

If you’re a right-brained marketing director wondering where to start, try this:  Take one of your finance or accounting people to lunch and pick their brains about measurement and analysis.  Ask them to help you set up specific metrics so that you can communicate your results in the financial and process-oriented terms that C-levels crave:

  • What was the ROI of this campaign?
  • How much of the sales process do I own?
  • What’s our most valuable market segment?
  • How much does my budget contribute to the company’s bottom line?

By building out your team’s left-brained focus, you’ll be in a far stronger position to bring your company’s business strategies to life.  It can help you save your budget from the relentless red pen, close the credibility gap and give you a well-deserved seat at the executive table.

Yet remember that function, process and metrics aren’t enough to differentiate companies in the Conceptual Age.  We need to focus more on design, symphony, empathy and storytelling.  But alone, either set of skills is only a half a brain.  What we need is a whole new mind.

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