Industry Magazine Get JACK'D Magazine Winter 2019 | Page 14

FOUR THINGS LEADERS DO ONCE A YEAR The Four Things Successful Marketing Leaders Do Once A Year BY: ANDREW DAVIS EVERY OCTOBER my inbox swells with emails from marketing leaders asking one question: “What should I have my team focus on for the next year?” Here’s the thing: only you can answer this question. I can’t do it for you. What I can do is help you find the answer. The Annual Marketing Get Together We all do it. We block out our calendar for a couple of days every year to gather our team in one room. The goal: plan for next year. The agenda seems straightforward: let’s get everyone on the same page and marching in the same direction. Let’s plan our year and then let’s work our plan. So why are some marketing teams more successful than others coming out of an annual planning event? The answer is simple: successful annual planning activities focus on team growth, not team tasks. The Difference Between Doing and Growing I’ve had the honor of being involved in dozens of annual corporate marketing events over the last five years, and in hindsight, I’ve noticed a massive gap between events that result in a successful year and those that don’t. Too many of us treat our annual planning event as if it’s an extended version of our weekly or monthly marketing meetings. Sure, we extend the time frame to review a year’s worth of activities and plan the next year’s, but aside from the timeframe, the meeting is essentially the same. I’ve watched these kinds of events devolve into a list of to-dos for the following year. What’s more depressing is the fact that the team leaves deflated, exhausted, and even more overwhelmed. These kinds of meetings focus on what we have done, what we currently do, and what we should do next year. On the other hand, the marketing leaders I’ve watched go on to achieve massive success focus on where the team grew this year and where they have an opportunity to grow next year. That’s it. These marketers treat the annual planning event as an opportunity to help their team focus, learn, and grow. (Now, this isn’t to say that they don’t leave the meeting with a plan on HOW they plan on building the business, they do that too, but the focus is entirely on professional development in the context of the business’s goals and objectives.) The most successful marketing leaders enhance their annual planning events by doing four simple things anyone of us can emulate. 14 Consistently reinforce a clear and straightforward focus At a recent event for a Fortune 500 consumer packaged goods brand, their CMO opened their annual marketing event by boiling down their entire year’s focus into a clear and straightforward statement. Instead of a powerpoint presentation with 80 slides and hundreds of marketing activity details, this CMO spent 30 minutes setting up a simple statement that captured her vision for the next year. She created a mantra that established the tone for the entire two-day event. “This is the year of Rigorous ROI [Return on Investment],” she said. In her half-hour setup, she acknowledged that even she has an “ROI blind spot” and she pledged to fill the gap by learning from (and with) her entire team. “This year, we will learn all we can about how to measure the effectiveness of our marketing activities,” she proclaimed. Over the 16-hours of meetings and side- sessions that followed her opening session the simple, clear, and consistent focus was repeated by everyone from designers to product marketers and became the benchmark for valuable and productive conversations. Here’s what’s interesting: instead of only