The creative arena of Marketing requires people who are innovative and bold, experimental and inventive. Organisations rely on their Marketing department to produce effective solutions which aren't derived from a Standard Operating Procedure or text book, and while we all understand and expect this, are we empowering our team to take risks and reach for the stars?
Why People Gravitate To The Creative Arts
It’s very easy to see why people are drawn to the Marketing arenas of the business world- in an adult environment all about results and the bottom line, Marketing allows for the application of limitless imagination and creativity to bring about solutions. That's why I pursued it, and I'm sure I'm not alone!
While some may find the daily 'outside of the box thinking' as a way to earn a pay cheque quite intimidating, everyone within the Marketing arts embraces it. We enjoy the fact that there is never a standard way of doing things; every day is different and in order to be successful, we need to constantly be innovative and bold.
So while these skills are initiated and introduced when studying Marketing, they are really earned and learned on the job in a role where we can get our hands dirty.
So, how do we empower the next generation to take on the challenge?
Everyone starts from the bottom (despite what Millennials believe they're entitled to!). We've all been there, regardless of our industry or career path, and those entry level jobs consist of the obligatory support role for the rest of the Marketing department. While they are a fantastic learning platform to begin a career full of opportunity, at some point or another, we needed Marketing Management to eventually allow us to step away from the repetitive, and branch out toward the unknown.
I personally recall doing all of the admin work for my boss' product line at my first marketing job. It was great putting all of the theory I had learned from University into perspective in a real life environment, but it was the moment when I was given my own product line, albeit small, that I saw how much of a difference it was.
Once you get your first opportunity to devise your own Marketing strategy and implement your own ideas, combined with the risk of success and failure hanging in the balance, you become a completely different person: you evolve into becoming a real Marketing professional, and let's be honest, that's where we all want to be.
But there's a common hurdle...
It happens all too often in Marketing departments- the whole mantra of 'it's just better if I do it myself'. Upper management are, at times, reluctant to stretch out and give a bit of the responsibility to their more junior colleagues. It doesn't even have to be a jealousy thing- it can be just the fact that certain people like their work in a particular style, and become hesitant to put it in the hands of someone else. But therein lies the issue: we aren't empowering the next generation of creatives.
It comes down to subjectivity
This issue here is that Marketing and all of the creative fields, by their very nature, are subjective. Each person's marketing campaign and strategy is often quite different to what another would propose. While that's not a bad thing, per se, it can be a hindrance when we wish to empower our colleagues to make their own mark on our organisations.
So, what must we do? We have to empower our Marketing teams!
(1) As Marketing Management and Chief Marketing Officers, we must remember that the empowerment of our colleagues is crucial on so many levels, not least of which is for their personal career growth. Who knows where they will go, but it's good knowing that you were able to give them a leg up in the right direction.
(2) Create a safe environment, where people are allowed to take risks and make mistakes within reason. You cannot empower your team and hold them back at the same time.
(3) Involve the team in weekly meetings where everyone discusses their current projects, and then open the floor for everyone to offer ideas and suggestions.
(4) We mustn't forget that we are where we are today because someone gave us the chance at some point, and now that chance is within our power to grant. So grant it! When the next campaign comes up, invite a few different members of the team to participate.
(5) Pass on good habits and expertise to the next generation of creative professionals, so they can learn and ultimately put their own character and spin on things. New, fresh approaches are often exactly what an organisation needs to evolve.
(6) Learn to let go and outsource your never-ending to-do lists to your colleagues who you've hired to do that very thing. Stop being over-territorial and let the reigns go a little.
(7) Allocate money in the yearly budget to offsite training courses, Marketing conferences and other learning opportunities, in addition to the on-the-job learning experience. It's a big world out there; one which is constantly changing, and we mustn't get boxed into our own little worlds too much.
(8) Further to the above point, sign the team up for reputable industry magazines and institutes, such as the Australian Marketing Institute. They will appreciate the offers and updates these resources offer them and indicate that you truly care about their progression.
(9) Monitor your team and track their progress- after all, you are still the manager and must remain in control- but don't micromanage. You want to encourage a creative environment for fresh ideas.
Good luck! I hope these tips help you connect far better with your Marketing colleagues!