An effective marketing team is a requirement for any campaign, but that team isn’t going anywhere without a strong leader. Exceptional leaders know how to motivate and encourage their departments to be their best and in the world of marketing, where almost everything is constantly evolving, they’re essential.
Choppy waters are to be expected with any campaign, but a great pilot will know how to navigate their crew through those hardships and come out on the other side with a result that drives results and engages audiences. Excellent guidance is a cornerstone of any great marketing campaign but what exactly constitutes this excellence?
Inspiration and Morale
A good leader helps inspire their employees to be their most creative selves. Creativity is at the foundation of every marketing campaign, but that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily easy to come by. Just as professional writers can face writer’s block, there are times when the creativity meter will run a bit low. This isn’t the end of the world, as it’s something everyone faces at one point or another, but as a marketing director, it’s important you know how to recognize the signs that well of new ideas are running dry.
Creativity can often be stifled under rigid schedules and rules, so if it’s possible, try to be flexible. This doesn’t mean your organization is a free-for-all with everyone coming and going as they please, but allowing flexibility is one way to take the pressure off. Plus, this versatility is an easy way to show you’re open to unique ideas in the workplace. Obviously, a marketing campaign has set deadlines and deliverables that, more often than not, can’t be changed, but try to pinpoint areas where flexibility might help creativity.
Another way to boost inspiration is to show that you’re open to new and innovative ideas by taking serious consideration of their suggestions. When team members feel that their leader is approachable, they’re more likely to share potential ideas with you about upcoming projects or processes. Giving your employees the floor and allowing them to offer up their own ideas makes them feel valued and will add a positive vibe to the office culture.
Plus, it might even provide some inspiration for you or others in the department. They may be in a different age group and can offer a different perspective to a potential task at hand. When you show you’re willing to adapt to the ever-changing trends in marketing, it lets everyone know you value their opinions and take their ideas seriously.
Confidence to Lead
This means having confidence in the processes you introduce and the projects you take on but also paying close attention to how well everyone receives the information you give them. Your expertise and knowledge of concepts can put your team member’s minds at ease, but be careful not to overwhelm them. You can also focus on your confidence in your employees as a collective. Removing uncertainty from a new plan helps get your department excited to take that first step and your confidence in them is usually the push they need to do so.
However, many people in management positions often suffer from something known as the curse of knowledge. While a fresh project or client might seem exciting to you because you’ve been working on the prep to roll it out to your division, it might come across as incredibly overwhelming to the people who will be executing the next steps. In order to be an effective leader, it’s your job to introduce the new and unfamiliar in a way that shows your confidence in the outcome as well as the people who will be executing on the project.
Before you bombard your people with the news of a big upcoming project or a change in current procedures, take a closer look at the structure of your marketing department. Put some thought into the best way they process information and how they respond to changes overall. This might help you tweak the way you present information to them even on a project-to-project basis.
Then take some time to walk through your vision with your department. It’s a chance for you to show that you’re both excited and confident about the outcome. This could be something as simple as giving them examples of where this new process has worked elsewhere or try to give them examples of why the current one isn’t working as well as it should. No matter how you go about it, make a point to sit down and talk to your employees. Listen to their concerns and help them understand your reasoning. They’ll be grateful for your explanation and feel reassured by drilling down your thought process.
Communicating When It Matters
It should come as no shock that productive managers have to have good communication skills. It’s one of the backbones of marketing! Keeping your people happy and fulfilled all while achieving your team’s goals at the same time is a delicate balance. Not to mention, there will be times when what your employees want might be the opposite of what you need to achieve a particular goal or task and your persuasive skills will be put to the test.
While communications and marketing are essentially two sides of the same coin, interacting as a leader can sometimes become a bit tricky. It’s important to not only think of reaching people as something you do with words. We communicate without words every day using our body language, our facial expressions, and more. When dealing with your people, keep these things in mind because it’s something your employees will almost undoubtedly pick up on.
Good communication skills go hand in hand with keeping morale high as we mentioned earlier, but it’s important to keep the end goal in mind. At times you might have to ruffle a few feathers or disappoint a team member to two, but it’s not the end of the world. If you can rationally and calmly explain your position, they will likely see your side of the argument. If they don’t, unfortunately, that’s just the nature of the game. The key is to not let a desire to be liked get in the way of you making the right decision.
Being a leader isn’t for everyone and it takes a specific type of person to be effective. However, a good one takes control of their team, is well respected, and knows when it’s time to put their foot down during negotiations. Marketing teams, just like almost all other departments, need a great leader they feel they can talk to and one that values their time and their contributions to projects around the office.