The best CMOs are constantly innovating, taking risks and challenging themselves and the way that things are currently done. Success as a CMO depends on how skilled you are at questioning and testing processes to reach new ideas and encouraging employees to do the same.
The marketers that work their way up to CMO are inquisitive and innovative and that’s what got them there. But what happens when they enter the c-suite level? Unfortunately creativity goes out the window and they often fall victim to the close-minded approach of “we’ve never done things that way before and aren’t willing to change” and “we don’t have time to try that right now, we’ll shelve it for another day”.
Sound scarily familiar? Maybe it’s you, or maybe it’s your boss and you want to make sure you don’t one day act the same.
Keep reading to find out how you can reshape your thoughts on innovation to improve your team’s performance.
Identify the innovation blockers
Find out where the ideas start and where they always stop. Is it you? Is it someone else? Is it a silo issue within the business?
Often the reason great ideas are shut down is because of fear; fear of change, fear of taking risks that don’t pay off, fear of stepping out of your or your team’s comfort zone. This results in the same outcome, performance doesn’t change, your team feels undervalued and they stop making suggestions after many one too many “no”s.
Identify what and who it is that is stopping the ideas and ask “why?” Maybe you have too much on your plate, but can you give your team the autonomy to try new things without it taking your time?
Remember when you were a junior marketing exec? All those ideas you had to get you where you are today? The aim is to bring that mindset back and inspire your team to do the same.
Take risks to reach new ideas
Innovation doesn’t have to be ground breaking. Maybe it’s learning a new way of doing something you already do, trying out a new bidding technique in your Google ads, or shifting all your budget to an area of a campaign that could make a huge pay off, but also might not.
This means constantly looking for new ways of doing things, the same as when you were starting out in marketing. In order to do this effectively, you need to change your mindset and become more open-minded in your marketing strategy.
If taking risks worries you, test test test. Rather than going in all guns blazing, changing your whole strategy and spending all your budget, start with one area and keep testing and iterating until it pays off. To properly test new ideas, you need clear and clean data over all your marketing activities.
Not only will it bring more excitement to the table business-wise, it will make marketing exciting for you again!
Mediatool helps hundreds of CMOs turn their marketing data into actionable insights. Click here to find out how.
Empower your team to innovate too
CMOs can learn a thing or two from Design teams by using Design Thinking to encourage innovation in your team.
Interaction Design Foundation explains Design Thinking as: “a design methodology that provides a solution-based approach to solving problems. It’s extremely useful in tackling complex problems that are ill-defined or unknown, by understanding the human needs involved, by re-framing the problem in human-centric ways, by creating many ideas in brainstorming sessions, and by adopting a hands-on approach in prototyping and testing.”
The best marketing teams adopt Design Thinking principles. Develop your own version of design sprints, workshops and ideation meetings to foster a collaborative atmosphere in your company. And if time is a concern, try to move to an agile working environment where ideation and execution work collaboratively.
Once you reignite the spark of innovation within yourself, inspire your peers to do the same. By creating a culture of innovative thinking and an environment where leaders actually listen and implement ideas, your whole company will reap the rewards.
While inspiring your team to think outside the box, challenge them to solve problems without your approval, without fear of judgement if it doesn’t work out. Shout about your teams’ ideas to the rest of the executive team and champion finding space in the budget to cater for it.
Automate other areas to prioritize creativity
All CMOs have daily admin tasks that could easily be automated to save time. Instead of prioritizing these tasks–you know what we’re talking about; recalculating the budget, emailing updated versions of the marketing plan, creating reports–save time and brain power for creativity by automating and streamlining them.
Investing in tools to help you and your team with your daily workload, in order to focus on innovation, will bring greater reward in the long run for your team and business’ overall performance.
To find out how Mediatool streamlines marketing processes to help teams focus on making better decisions, click here.
Recruit innovative thinkers
When you’re next recruiting, instead of solely focusing on hiring the person that ticks all the boxes on paper, look for innovators who will bring new ideas to the team. If you need help with your workload to champion innovation within your company, consider recruiting someone to help with tasks that can’t be automated.
No matter what the role is, finding a better way to do a job is crucial to the development of the whole company. Look outside of the box too, remote working is here to stay and if you want the best talent you may need to open your mind outside of your location.
If looking further afield sounds daunting, here are some tips for building a high-performing remote marketing team.
All in all, innovation can be championed by you as the CMO but you must lead by example to inspire others across your team and business. Treat your team as collaborators and co-creators and focus their energy on what all marketing is about, answering your customers’ needs.
We understand that this isn’t always easy and there can be barriers in the workplace, but shifting your mindset to this approach will only reap rewards for the whole business, even if it is difficult to get there.
Mediatool is a marketing optimization platform that gives marketing leaders a full overview of all the moving cogs in campaigns–from plans and budgets, to data set up in your own customized dashboard. Our ethos is that by giving marketers the data they need, they have more time to focus on innovation and improved performance. If you’d like to hear more about it, click here.