Marketers Must Make Room for Crowdfunding

3024275-poster-p-1-the-secret-ingredients-to-a-stellar-2014-marketing-plan

You would be surprised at the number of CMOs who work at growing, dynamic concerns in absence of any marketing plan. Some blame it on lack of time; others simply prefer to “wing it.” In what camp do you reside?

A lack of a marketing plan is the expanded definition of insanity: doing the same things in the new year, and expecting the same results. How would a company operate if the CFO, VP of Manufacturing, and COO operated this way? Sheer chaos would rule.

That’s why it’s important to create the environment for your plan to succeed before you write the plan. These precautions and intentional acts support a simple plan that you can share and communicate with others—especially those who may not fully understand the role and long-term value of marketing. These seven steps will help:

1. Ask questions, even if you don’t like the answers.

When was the last time you interviewed customers, team members, and executives? Consider using this framework as you conduct some fact gathering. The Performance Accelerant Model (PAM)™ is a holistic assessment tool to help CMOs immediately influence and impact the organization.


Copyright 2014, Lisa Nirell. All rights reserved

2. Rehearse how you will communicate your vision.

Can you explain it with your eyes closed? What is your physical reaction when you state it out loud? That will tell you how it will land with others.

3. Hire the right people to do the job.

Today, marketing leaders are expected to hire data scientists, content marketing experts, and online marketing gurus. Many of these positions didn’t exist three years ago. Join forces with your CMO peer group to find out what knowledge, skills, and abilities they are using to define these pivotal positions.

4. Write the plan.

Your colleagues are intelligent, but they are not mind readers. Unless we write down our plans, our brains have no way of recording and filtering that information.

5. Create the structure to succeed.

This doesn’t refer only to your organization structure. It also includes how you structure your life. Do you have your refrigerator stocked with healthy foods to fuel your week? Have you delegated all non-essential tasks to experts, such as housekeepers, bookkeepers, dog walkers, etc.? Is your home set up for peaceful sleep? Every hour counts. One of my clients once ran a $5 million technology consultancy and was still doing her own bookkeeping—until she realized someone could help her for a fraction of her billable fee.

6. Incorporate past, present, and future thinking.

If you are strictly a marketing drive-through window, you are probably spending over 80% of your time either fixing yesterday’s chronic problems or making decisions about today’s issues and opportunities. That leaves you less than 20% of your day to innovate and think about the future. If you were hired to be a firefighter and not a fire marshal, re-think your role and your true long-term value at that company.

7. Develop courage

Jeff Hayzlett, former CMO of Kodak, enlisted the help of his IT colleagues and eradicated the old, stodgy employee photos for name badges. HR was incensed, even though the name badges had not been updated in years, and reflected poorly on Kodak’s raison d’etre. He didn’t care, and he ultimately won the respect of employees.

My mentor Alan Weiss says “We’re not here to put our toe in the water; we’re here to make waves.” These seven steps will ensure your Marketing Plan glides safely in 2014.

[Image: Flickr user Steven Jackson]
Copyright 2014, Lisa Nirell. All rights reserved.
This post originally appeared in FastCompany.

3024275-poster-p-1-the-secret-ingredients-to-a-stellar-2014-marketing-plan
You would be surprised at the number of CMOs who work at growing, dynamic concerns in absence of any marketing plan. Some blame it on lack of time; others simply prefer to “wing it.” In what camp do you reside?

A lack of a marketing plan is the expanded definition of insanity: doing the same things in the new year, and expecting the same results. How would a company operate if the CFO, VP of Manufacturing, and COO operated this way? Sheer chaos would rule.

That’s why it’s important to create the environment for your plan to succeed before you write the plan. These precautions and intentional acts support a simple plan that you can share and communicate with others—especially those who may not fully understand the role and long-term value of marketing. These seven steps will help:

1. Ask questions, even if you don’t like the answers.

When was the last time you interviewed customers, team members, and executives? Consider using this framework as you conduct some fact gathering. The Performance Accelerant Model (PAM)™ is a holistic assessment tool to help CMOs immediately influence and impact the organization.


Copyright 2014, Lisa Nirell. All rights reserved

2. Rehearse how you will communicate your vision.

Can you explain it with your eyes closed? What is your physical reaction when you state it out loud? That will tell you how it will land with others.

3. Hire the right people to do the job.

Today, marketing leaders are expected to hire data scientists, content marketing experts, and online marketing gurus. Many of these positions didn’t exist three years ago. Join forces with your CMO peer group to find out what knowledge, skills, and abilities they are using to define these pivotal positions.

4. Write the plan.

Your colleagues are intelligent, but they are not mind readers. Unless we write down our plans, our brains have no way of recording and filtering that information.

5. Create the structure to succeed.

This doesn’t refer only to your organization structure. It also includes how you structure your life. Do you have your refrigerator stocked with healthy foods to fuel your week? Have you delegated all non-essential tasks to experts, such as housekeepers, bookkeepers, dog walkers, etc.? Is your home set up for peaceful sleep? Every hour counts. One of my clients once ran a $5 million technology consultancy and was still doing her own bookkeeping—until she realized someone could help her for a fraction of her billable fee.

6. Incorporate past, present, and future thinking.

If you are strictly a marketing drive-through window, you are probably spending over 80% of your time either fixing yesterday’s chronic problems or making decisions about today’s issues and opportunities. That leaves you less than 20% of your day to innovate and think about the future. If you were hired to be a firefighter, and not a fire marshal, re-think your role and your true long-term value at that company.

7. Develop courage

Jeff Hayzlett, former CMO of Kodak, enlisted the help of his IT colleagues and eradicated the old, stodgy employee photos for name badges. HR was incensed, even though the name badges had not been updated in years, and reflected poorly on Kodak’s raison d’etre. He didn’t care, and he ultimately won the respect of employees.

My mentor Alan Weiss says “We’re not here to put our toe in the water; we’re here to make waves.” These seven steps will ensure your Marketing Plan glides safely in 2014.

[Image: Flickr user Steven Jackson]
Copyright 2014, Lisa Nirell. All rights reserved.
This post originally appeared in FastCompany.

3024275-poster-p-1-the-secret-ingredients-to-a-stellar-2014-marketing-plan
You would be surprised at the number of CMOs who work at growing, dynamic concerns in absence of any marketing plan. Some blame it on lack of time; others simply prefer to “wing it.” In what camp do you reside?

A lack of a marketing plan is the expanded definition of insanity: doing the same things in the new year, and expecting the same results. How would a company operate if the CFO, VP of Manufacturing, and COO operated this way? Sheer chaos would rule.

That’s why it’s important to create the environment for your plan to succeed before you write the plan. These precautions and intentional acts support a simple plan that you can share and communicate with others—especially those who may not fully understand the role and long-term value of marketing. These seven steps will help:

1. Ask questions, even if you don’t like the answers.

When was the last time you interviewed customers, team members, and executives? Consider using this framework as you conduct some fact gathering. The Performance Accelerant Model (PAM)™ is a holistic assessment tool to help CMOs immediately influence and impact the organization.


Copyright 2014, Lisa Nirell. All rights reserved

2. Rehearse how you will communicate your vision.

Can you explain it with your eyes closed? What is your physical reaction when you state it out loud? That will tell you how it will land with others.

3. Hire the right people to do the job.

Today, marketing leaders are expected to hire data scientists, content marketing experts, and online marketing gurus. Many of these positions didn’t exist three years ago. Join forces with your CMO peer group to find out what knowledge, skills, and abilities they are using to define these pivotal positions.

4. Write the plan.

Your colleagues are intelligent, but they are not mind readers. Unless we write down our plans, our brains have no way of recording and filtering that information.

5. Create the structure to succeed.

This doesn’t refer only to your organization structure. It also includes how you structure your life. Do you have your refrigerator stocked with healthy foods to fuel your week? Have you delegated all non-essential tasks to experts, such as housekeepers, bookkeepers, dog walkers, etc.? Is your home set up for peaceful sleep? Every hour counts. One of my clients once ran a $5 million technology consultancy and was still doing her own bookkeeping—until she realized someone could help her for a fraction of her billable fee.

6. Incorporate past, present, and future thinking.

If you are strictly a marketing drive-through window, you are probably spending over 80% of your time either fixing yesterday’s chronic problems or making decisions about today’s issues and opportunities. That leaves you less than 20% of your day to innovate and think about the future. If you were hired to be a firefighter and not a fire marshal, re-think your role and your true long-term value at that company.

7. Develop courage

Jeff Hayzlett, former CMO of Kodak, enlisted the help of his IT colleagues and eradicated the old, stodgy employee photos for name badges. HR was incensed, even though the name badges had not been updated in years, and reflected poorly on Kodak’s raison d’etre. He didn’t care, and he ultimately won the respect of employees.

My mentor Alan Weiss says “We’re not here to put our toe in the water; we’re here to make waves.” These seven steps will ensure your Marketing Plan glides safely in 2014.

[Image: Flickr user Steven Jackson]
Copyright 2014, Lisa Nirell. All rights reserved.
This post originally appeared in FastCompany.

Because marketers have more in common with Walter White than they might realize.

3020737-poster-p-1-breaking-bad-five-content-marketing-habits-we-need-to-bust
As a marketing leader, how do you break the bad habit of providing ho-hum content and hosting events that look like your competitors’?

Let’s turn to television for some answers. For the past five seasons in the U.S., actor Bryan Cranston played Walter White, a hapless chemistry teacher turned megalomaniacal crystal methamphetamine maker in the TV series Breaking Bad. The show’s creators essentially invented a brand-new genre they call cowboy drama. The series is also unique because the protagonist turns antagonist.

This series exemplifies compelling, groundbreaking content, which Breaking Bad‘s Creator/Executive Producer-Writer-Director, Vince Gilligan, has masterminded. Millions voted with their remote controls.

Much as the series outlined grave consequences for Walter White’s errant behavior, marketing leaders will also experience negative (although less fatal) consequences for creating marginal content.

Thankfully for customers, B2B companies are slowly recognizing and breaking their bad content habits. We can find guidance from organizations like Content Marketing Institute and a variety of marketing automation companies.

It’s important to identify these bad habits before we can eliminate them. These beliefs can ruin a content campaign, and they are especially counterproductive when they inform live events. Here are the most common myths I hear:

Diagram
Source: Charles Gold

1. Marketing needs an internal “crack team” to create and disseminate the content. In reality, marketing cannot go it alone. That’s an inefficient use of marketing resources. Instead, turn to a plethora of sources, including product marketing, analysts, external experts and authors, customers, customer support, and sales. They can become part of your content ecosystem, as outlined in this graph:

2. Focus your marketing on a handful of tactics, and do those tactics well. This is no longer true. Thanks to agile marketing methods and “test and learn” models, marketer’s can experiment, measure, and retool rather quickly. MarketingSherpa’s 2013 Content Marketing Trends study revealed that today’s B2B marketers average 12 marketing tactics. The top five most effective tactics used today are social media (other than blogs), articles, e-newsletters, blogs, and case studies. Companies that want to stand apart from the crowd should seriously consider short webcasts, executive breakfasts, e-books, screencasts (using tools such as Articulate’s Studio), and educational videos.

3. Webinars and other live streaming events should be broadcasts. This may have been the case five years ago. Today, they need to facilitate conversations. Kathy Meara, Content Manager for CA Technologies, has witnessed a shift in how professionals interact online during webcasts. “People talk more confidently when they are typing and can jump into the conversation.” At times, Meara notices that some customers want to hijack the webinar agenda and critique the company’s products. That’s when she intervenes and introduces herself. This makes a big difference and guides them back into the conversation at hand.

4. Content needs to reflect your point of view. While provocative thought leadership pieces are essential to staking a claim in your market niche, they are not the only form of communicating. MarketingSherpa’s study also proved that today’s marketing leaders named “engaging our audiences” as their second biggest challenge with their content management strategy. Live polling, offering giveaways in exchange for input, contests, and surveys can allay these concerns. Companies such as ON24, one of my clients, provide an excellent platform with these features.

5. Content has a shelf life. This is also a myth. In today’s marketing environment, some of the best content can influence prospects for months, if not years. For example, ON24 publishes an annual Webinar Benchmarks Report. Findings derive from a database of more than 20,000 customer webcasts delivered within a 12-month period. Industry experts and customers often rely on the annual updates to design, launch, and measure the results from their own events.

These five old habits were meant to be broken. In my next post, I will share seven strategies for creating positive content chemistry.

Related Posts

“The Cure For Content-Creation Madness”
“Cash, Lies, And ROI: Are Your Marketing Budgets A Flight Risk?”
“Using Newsweek’s Move To Digital To Inform Your 2013 Strategy”

[Image: Flickr user Dávid Sterbik]

This post originally appeared in FastCompany.

The recovery is in full swing, and marketers need more resources to harness new strategic growth opportunities. If you can’t get that budget from your CFO, where else might you turn?

Consider crowdfunding. It not only might get you that extra money to successfully launch an event, product, or service; it may also take your brand to new heights.

Some exciting developments are afoot. In October of 2013, the SEC approved a proposed plan from Congress for the rules to define equity Crowdfunding in the U.S., a long-awaited outcome of the bipartisan JOBS (Jumpstart Our Business Startups) Act that was enacted in 2012. Once this is launched—which could be as early as this summer—this could jump-start growth for many small businesses.

The JOBS Act will allow entrepreneurs to seek up to $1 million per year on regulated crowdfunding sites that serve as funding portals or broker/dealers.  Investors may invest based on prescribed income or net worth thresholds.

Marketing leaders will play a key role in the crowdfunding movement and need to understand the process before they embark on any program.

Allison PeckI recently spoke with Allison Peck, the Head of Public Affairs Marketing at the Arthur D. Sackler Gallery in Washington DC, to get some answers. They house some of the world’s most exquisite Asian art collections. Last year, she and her team generated close to $200,000 through crowdfunding for their globally-acclaimed exhibit “Yoga: the Art of Transformation.” When I attended this exhibit, I knew this exhibit was unique and breakthrough in many ways. The world agreed. Since the exhibit opened, they have been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and CBS Sunday Morning.

We discuss:

  • Why Sackler’s marketing team believed crowdsourcing made sense
  • The crowdfunding platform they used, and why
  • The three big crowdfunding surprises—and disappointments
  • The crowdsourcing planning process
  • Advice for marketing leaders who are considering crowdsourcing

What could your organization accomplish with an additional $200,000 in marketing funds? Post your comments below…

 

Copyright 2014, Lisa Nirell. All rights reserved.

You can now enjoy these posts:

The Secret Ingredients to a Stellar 2014 Marketing Plan
New Rules of the Marketing Dance–Radio Interview with Lisa
Honoring Your Captain Kirks: Balancing “Right Brain” and “Left Brain” Marketing Strategies

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We recently surveyed our CMO members across North America to find out where they want to improve in 2015. One of the top 4 issues that CMOs want to address is their ability to manage priorities.
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In my opinion, this issue isn’t just about time management. Sure, that is important. I believe we need to be fully aware of how we spend our time—and I talked about it extensively in
my latest FastCompany post….

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With the new year only weeks away, it’s time to explore ways to stay ahead of the marketing curve in 2015. In my latest FastCompany post, I share how marketing leaders can move away from “order taking marketing” and become visionary “market makers” with a strong voice in the C-suite.
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Some key takeaways:

How to assess your value and how your peers perceive you
One step that can shift the leadership team’s perspective of your value forever
Trendspotting: Five areas to look for inspiration and insights
Three significant trends that will impact how marketers operate in 2015

You can read the entire FastCompany post here….

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