Do you need a Marketing Thought Partner?

Leah Andrew
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Are you Spinning Your Wheels As you Think About Next Steps for Your Business?

A marketing thought partner could be your next move. 

Are you:

  • sitting in your office feeling like you’re spinning your wheels?
  • Sensing your leadership team is stuck in the past?
  • In the midst of change in your industry (or sensing that one is coming soon)? 

Do you want to dive right in and tackle your dilemma but don’t have a practical way to begin to address it?

Sometimes a fresh pair of eyes is all it takes.

A marketing thought partner (MTP) has marketing information, knowledge, or a way of thinking that challenges and provokes divergent thinking or action for an organization. They can help you modify or stretch thinking to help you co-create and innovate. They focus on your business strategy using their breadth of experiences to spark new ideas and help you take action.

4 Questions to Ask Yourself:

Is this beginning to sound interesting? Here are the 4 questions to ask yourself to see if a marketing thought partner is the right next step for you:

  1. Do you sense that change is afoot in your industry?
  2. Do you have a longstanding team who are comfortable with the status quo?
  3. Is your marketing department non existent, or does it consist of a junior person who isn’t effectively supported?
  4. Does your business feel siloed?

1. Do you sense that change is afoot in your industry?

Can you see that your business needs to undergo a change due to disruptions in your industry? Do you find yourself thinking about options, but are struggling to find a disciplined way to engage stakeholders, have difficult conversations and think differently?

Bringing in someone with senior perspective and experience, who has the hard skills (i.e. a proven approach for effective dialogue, collaboration and co-creation) and the soft skills (read: knows how to read a room, body language and tease out the root challenges) to help your team have the conversations and discussions required to set a new course.

Plus, as an outsider, MTPs are typically willing to ask the difficult questions without fear of backlash, stigma, or the dreaded CLM (career limiting move). They are comfortable with truth to power.

2. Do you have a longstanding team comfortable with the status quo?

Sometimes, when a company has low turnover, team members get a little too comfortable. We’ve all seen it. Continuing to sell the same way because it has worked in the past, because if it’s not broke, why fix it?

Wrong.

Even though change is hard, if you’re sensing that something needs to change and you’ve got a team resistant to it (because frankly, who isn’t), an ally can be invaluable.

A MTP can share best practices and examples of other organizations who have successfully navigated disruptions. They can share these stories to help you build confidence and alignment with your team around the new direction. Plus, they can help you set up new structures, communications and feedback loops to help understand the source of the resistance and how to alleviate it.

3. Is your marketing department non existent?

Perhaps you find yourself in this situation as you read this: “I’ve succeeded this long without a marketing department, (or with just a marketing manager/assistant), why do I need to change now? They support our sales team conversations and we’re talking to our customers on a regular basis.”

57% of the purchase decision is complete before a customer even calls a supplier.

67% of the buyer’s journey is now done digitally.

These hard to ignore stats begs more questions: Are you setup to effectively manage the new customer’s journey? What is your overarching business plan and marketing strategy? How do you know if what you’re saying is resonating with your customers? Will your customers today be your customers tomorrow?

A MTP can help you clarify marketing strategy and build out a blueprint to guide activities over the long term.  She can also ensure it connects back to company goals, engages your target customer and supports your new direction.  Last, but not least, a MTP can also help to educate your organization on the role of marketing to get buy-in and create alignment between sales and marketing.

4. Do your teams seem disconnected?

When you take an objective look at your business, do you see collaboration happening across departments and teams?  Or does it look like an echo chamber, where your teams reinforce their existing views? Does it feel like conversation, where ideas and opinion are shared and supported, or a debate of us vs. them?

Having someone from outside the organization, who isn’t influenced by existing power structures, can be the drop of water that starts the ripple effect. A MTP is skilled in bringing different groups together around challenges the company as a whole is facing, emphasizing that it’s the sum of the parts that can co-create a solution, because everyone brings a different – and valuable – perspective to the table.  And, that just might lead to promising changes.

If you’re nodding as you read one or more of these questions, engaging a marketing thought partner could be the big next step. 

What do you think? Did we cover the big questions, or did we miss some? Join the conversation @andrewperrymktng.

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