Our Charlotte marketing agency works with companies across different industries, but one thing remains the same: the interdepartmental bottleneck that can weaken or kill a marketing project. So how can marketers take the lead in shaping strategic direction across all parts of the business? Here are 5 steps to improve internal collaboration, align goals, and get it done.
1. Kick off with consensus.
The beginning of a marketing project is a great way to forge common ground between departments. While marketers want to focus on promoting the brand message, it is important to remember that different departments often have a disparate set of priorities. To address these, make sure all voices are heard upfront. Heck, you can even involve them in a brainstorming session. Creativity comes from everywhere, and “group think” is not a bad exercise if used correctly.
2. Do the Research
Smart marketing decisions are based on more than internal opinion. While marketing research is key to making smart, strategic business decisions, it doesn’t have to be a slow, expensive process to be effective. Our agency has helped plan, manage, and conduct research to build support for a wide range of projects, and we believe small-scale research tactics can offer a fast, effective way to generate actionable insights. Learn more here.
3. Write a unifying strategy brief.
Include everyone’s objectives, but prioritize the list. You’ve listened. You’ve learned. Now it’s time to distill the objectives, concerns, and KPIs of all stakeholders into a short, concise strategy brief that all relevant departments can support, and most importantly – sign off on. Remember, you can’t do everything for everyone, so make sure you prioritize the SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT THING TO COMMUNICATE.
4. Create the solution.
Good creative has a singular focus but many supporters. We can’t say this enough: make sure all parties feel the project reflects their IDEAS (this works for husbands too, by the way). If everyone’s voice was heard from the beginning, then those voices will be reflected in the final creative execution. This is the foundation for strong internal alignment.
Presenting the final components of a marketing or branding project to a room full of folks from different departments is a great opportunity to remind everyone of the holistic approach you’ve taken; acknowledge and appreciate input; and refer back to the strategy brief if objections arise.
5. Head for the finish line.
At this point, there should be no surprises, but… collaborative presentations and feedback can help key stakeholders align on objectives and creative viability. Sill, even after doing all these things, there still might be that person (you know who I’m talking about) who throws up a stop sign near the end of the project.
This is typically a senior level player, too busy to have been involved in the whole process, but with veto power. What to do? Walk her through the inclusive process in a 1:1 meeting. Once you explain how you got here, it’s harder to hold the position that it’s not right. But if she brings up something that was missed in the strategy brief, just acknowledge and revise. It will only make the outcome stronger.