What is collaboration in marketing?

Leah Andrew
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The skills of the future

Collaboration is often cited as an important skill for marketers and non marketers alike. But in my experience, few know how to do it successfully. In fact, the Conference board of Canada completed a study on The Status of Collaboration and the Role of Innovation. Their findings clearly demonstrate that collaboration is key to innovation success. Yet, they also show that many businesses make no concerted effort to focus their collaboration activities on areas that can strengthen their overall performance in the market.” 

Further, 86% of employees and executives cite lack of collaboration or ineffective communication for workplace failures.

So, what is collaboration?

According to Wikipedia, collaboration is the process of two or more people or organizations working together to complete a task or achieve a goal.

As a marketing thought partner, collaboration is a must have skill.  My definition for marketers would be:

“intentionally seeking out and bringing a distinctive and diverse group of people together to develop content and experiences that wouldn’t have been created otherwise.”

Leah Andrew, Andrew Perry Marketing Tweet

The key words in this definition are ‘intention’, ‘diverse’ and ‘experiences’. For effective collaboration in marketing, we want to be intentional with who we bring together. And that group we bring together must be filled with diverse voices – across race, experiences, gender and more. Finally, we want to focus the group on creating authentic experiences that will add value.

What are the top benefits of collaboration for marketers?

Having had the privilege to work with many highly collaborative people over my career, I’ve experienced first hand some key benefits:

“Many ideas grow better when transplanted into another mind than in the one where they sprang up.”

  1. Sparks creativity. Brainstorming on your own is never as effective as a group. One person’s idea often becomes a springboard for another, better idea. It reminds me of one of my favourite quotes from Oliver Wendell Holmes above. 
  2. Promotes learning and knowledge sharing. Bringing different groups together ultimately leads to idea sharing. As a result, everyone in the group enjoys knowledge transfer and gains an appreciation for different perspectives.
  3. Encourages individual growth. Collaborating well demands patience, listening skills and good communication. Every time you collaborate, whether at home or at work, you are strengthening these skills.
  4. Builds buy-in. As I’ve said, great collaboration involves bringing many different people around the table (e.g. across departments). Doing so helps build buy-in, because those that participated in the discussion will have more skin in the game. So they are likely allies during execution.
  5. Leads to more fun. For those marketers who may be running solo operations as a consultant or as a lone marketer in a company, collaboration allows us to expand our team for a short while. This enables a sense of community and fosters engagement. Plus, there’s always fun to be had with a good group of diverse perspectives around the table!
  6. Fuels better results. At the end of the day, it’s all about results. Differing perspectives, information sharing, and buy-in all help in creating a space for innovative, results-oriented, marketing ideas. Ones that hit the mark. In act, a recent HBR article states that “collaboration leads to sustainably higher commercial performance” and offers 7 practical tips for leaders to promote collaboration.

So, what is collaboration in marketing to you? Let me know @andrewperrymktg. #marketingtips #collaboration

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