Varying vision among marketing colleagues is a double-edged sword. It’s helpful when ideating, and debilitating when executing. Diverse perspectives are great for out-of-the-box problem-solving. Unified perspective is essential for goal achievement.
Why Marketing Vision Silos Exist
- You’re born with left-brain or right-brain strength: In general, right-brain marketers are inclined toward subjectivity and marketing creative, while left-brain marketers are predisposed toward objectivity and marketing science. Every marketing department has — and needs — a mix of both.
- You have ingrained views of the world: Habits and assumptions cause automatic reactions to situations and stimuli. Others also have automatic reactions. (This is also known as “mental models“.) This can lead to general mistrust of individuals’ interpretations of what’s justifiable. Unless mental models are surfaced, you may find yourselves marching in different directions.
- You have different charters and incentives: Each department has its role, and may view their work as an end in itself. This can cause competing efforts, and most importantly, gaps for customers. When marketers project a vision of the brand in excess of what the rest of the company typically delivers, chaos extends to multiple organizations’ and external parties’ productivity.
- You’re human, with some blind, hidden and unknown perceptions: “Open” in the diagram (also known as Johari window) shown here represents what you and others both know, “Blind” represents what others see that you don’t, “Hidden” represents what you see but others don’t, and “Unknown” represents truths of which nobody is yet aware.
- You may underestimate the necessity of proactive efforts to create and maintain shared vision: Shiny objects and exciting ventures can be so alluring that it seems obvious that others will feel and view things the same way. Yet post-mortems show time-and-again that a universal downfall in any endeavor is lack of necessary attention to people and processes. Change management is much more than navigating a shifting environment, and far more than patching up disconnects after the fact. It requires extensive pre-planning, socializing concepts, removing roadblocks, and finding rallying points to stay the course in executing any effort.
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How You Can Vault Vision Silos
- Begin with the end in mind: Imagine what will be different. Acknowledge that different is not equally easy or desirable to everyone. Conduct due diligence to discover what’s needed to capture the hearts and minds of relevant employees and anyone else who has a stake in the matter. Think broadly, to include other departments, suppliers, alliances, channel partners, press and analysts, along with customers. Most often, what matters most to customers will be the most compelling rallying point. An established corporate value or objective is also a universal context for building shared vision.
- Predict what-if scenarios: Use marketing mix modeling, allocation management, predictive analytics, and other techniques to paint a picture of what to expect. Combine creative, subjective, scientific and objective elements to appeal to everyone’s natural outlook.
- Surface mental models: Build transparency into your conversations, processes, reviews, and communications. Test your assumptions, and encourage assumption-testing in all of your meetings. Make it safe for people to be forthright. Applaud diversity and uncover common ground as the basis for driving unity in execution.
- Cascade goals: Ensure your objectives and key performance indicators are in-tune with your C-team’s vision. Like a waterfall, cascade what they’re trying to achieve, in turn, to what you must achieve. It won’t work the other way around.
- Drive organizational learning: Shore-up Blind, Hidden, and Unknown areas by sharing lessons learned and connecting the dots between people, data, resources, processes and metrics. Make post-mortems a habit, and make the findings easy to access by anyone in your company. Search out other organizations’ efforts (inside your own company, as a start) in similar topics before venturing forth with your own effort, to see what you might build upon, instead of reinventing the wheel.
Vision silos can wreak a lot of havoc: wasted time, resources, costs, efforts, morale, relationships, and continuity. Vaulting vision silos in marketing can accelerate your success through synergies as your team works together seamlessly. Vaulting vision silos is an essential key to marketing scalability and organizational agility.
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