They say that fortune favors the bold, but in my experience, it also favors the capable. To succeed in modern marketing efforts, today’s CMOs must have a wide range of skills and expertise that they can leverage to inform every decision they make.
Especially on larger marketing teams, certain roles are often siloed. From SEO optimization and analytics to content creation and dissemination, CMOs must be able to bridge existing gaps and demonstrate a high level of skill in a broad range of fields . Of course, the CMO shouldn’t actually perform all of these roles — what he or she should do, however, is bring the perspective gained from one job to another to inform viewpoints and potentially stir up new ideas.
Collaboration Over Competition
Roles in marketing organizations are specialized for a reason, and it’s likely that the data analyst the CMO hires will always be better at his or her specific job than the CMO. Still, knowing the ins and outs of each role and having a fundamental understanding of how they work together enables the CMO to not only remove bottlenecks and improve the efficiency of day-to-day operations, but also to create more effective campaigns and drive more impressive results.
When leaders have a firm grasp of the various roles their individual employees must perform in order for the team to function, they can recognize barriers that might emerge from a long way off and intervene to tear them down and ensure a steady flow of work. Not surprisingly, employees are happier when they can perform their jobs more effectively, and companies are more successful when their marketing teams are firing on all cylinders.
Granted, expertise in a broad range of skill sets isn’t something that’s gained overnight. It takes years in the marketing profession to learn how individual functions work together most effectively, and additional years to master them. On top of that, marketing is an evolving field, and it waits for no CMO. That’s why taking a multidisciplinary approach is so critical — it’s a way of approaching your role as CMO that takes advantage of every bit of expertise at your disposal, from the sales department to web development to analytics.
To get started on the multidisciplinary path, take these three steps forward.
1. Develop the necessary skills.
If you want to stay competitive in a field that evolves as rapidly as marketing, you need a wide set of applicable skills. So take a multidisciplinary approach to your professional development. Joe Staples, chief marketing officer at Motivosity, recommends taking on responsibilities outside your primary expertise, such as someone who focuses on digital marketing branching out into PR.
From a solid understanding of SEO to the ability to code websites and create compelling content, marketers with a breadth of knowledge spanning across conventionally defined roles will add value to projects in surprising ways. In addition, leaders who likewise enable their workers to develop these varied skill sets have lower turnover rates and more fulfilled employees.
2. Utilize perspectives from various disciplines.
Approach marketing tasks from different perspectives, viewing them through a multidisciplinary lens. For instance, Bradley and Montgomery, a digital marketing and advertising agency, uses behavioral data to locate a client’s audience. However, it also augments this scientific approach with its “share of culture” philosophy and makes sure to validate or refute what the data has uncovered. Utilizing both objective and subjective barometers ensures you see a broader overall picture.
3. Be flexible.
The pace of change isn’t the only challenge in marketing — the competition can be overwhelming, and it’s increasingly difficult for brands to rise above the noise. In order to stand out, you’ll need to try new things and take risks. While some of these ideas coming out of left field might pay off, many will fizzle out and fail. If you want to take a multidisciplinary approach to your marketing efforts, be prepared to learn from these lessons, adapt your strategy, and march right back into the fray. Profound progress will almost always be punctuated by plenty of failures.
Unlike many other industries, marketing doesn’t reward “playing it safe” or “sticking with what you know.” To be truly successful, marketers should constantly strive to gain exposure to different ideas, no matter how outlandish or far-fetched they may seem at first.
The best way to accomplish this goal is by adopting a multidisciplinary approach and becoming knowledgeable about all the tools available to you as a marketer. Over time, you may be surprised how your perception of the right tool for the job will evolve.