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A view on key traits for the best Marketing

Posted 9th July 2020
By Chrissy Norwich

This morning I attended Mark Ritson’s mini MBA ‘The twelve traits of great Marketeers’.  If you’ve not read Marketing Week you may not have heard of him, however many will have.  He is their Virtual Marketing Professor, with super credentials, and a leading authority on Marketing and Brand (to give him a plug). And his columns and LinkedIn posts are certainly never dull! This morning’s webinar was a very enjoyable experience too.

At Focus7 our Leadership team run Brand Activation workshops, as well as running the Business of Brand (BoB) Brand DNA workshop. Our clients choose the right workshop for them depending on where they or their business is at on their journey.

I have worked for Marketing, Brand and Creative agencies since the 1990’s, and you never stop developing your learning, particularly in a world that never stops changing. So after this morning I was inspired to share some of the aspects that are so very key right now, while people and businesses navigate their way. But also key for always. 
‘Marketing’ can get a bad rap sometimes. It’s the first budget to be cut by some. Not often given enough in the first place. Some say it’s BS. Some say it’s not measurable enough and they want instant ROI. However, those who can get past the Marketing dictionary and see the great common sense it brings, or for those that have given it a chance, by working with decent people in the business, will know its weight in gold.

Marketing isn’t just about communication. It’s the function that is the conduit between those that provide something, and those that will buy it. And which business doesn’t need that?

By the way, I am pleased to say that we have experienced people NOT wanting to cut their Marketing budget. Right now it’s a clever machine that needs to keep working for your business to survive and thrive.  

I am going to share Mark’s 12 Traits of a Good Marketeer here, I’m sure he won’t mind. I totally agree with the importance of all of them, which is always a nice experience! I, of course, won’t replicate his webinar, that wouldn’t be right. I have instead given my view in my own words. If you’ve worked with me, or Focus7, you’ll see it in action.

I simply hope you can benefit from sense checking whether you are doing this for your business, and whether you are spending your Marketing budget wisely, by applying these traits.


1. EMPATHY

Which is absolutely related to ‘Target Audience’. If you are not clear who your customers are, and it’s often a variation of them (where Marketing segmentation comes in), then you can’t have empathy for them, their needs or what their mindset is. Often we sign off communication as if we are talking to ourselves or those we know. Wrong. Although you talk from your brand, you MUST stay in the head of your potential consumer, and be relevant.  Create a pull, don’t push.


2. CURIOSITY

Love this one, as it means you can justify essentially being a big kid. What? Why? How? When? Do we need to? (for those juggling homeschooling right now I’m sure you can do the voice that goes with this too!). Simple questions that get to the heart of something. Just because something has been done before, doesn’t mean it’s still right or relevant. Be curious. Find out more. There are treasures to be uncovered for future success.


3. BIG PICTURE THINKING

Taking a step back is important. You need to see the measure of things to be clear about the challenge or solution. You need to know your market and decide if you want to be the same as others, or if you want to stand out differently. Ask the right questions to get to the heart of things. Find the heart of your business and make it beat faster. Whilst considering the world around you.


4. MAKING TIME

Time on furlough or working from home right now has (in some cases) enabled time to be used differently. This helps with the big picture thinking. It also is a necessity for reviewing what works well and what doesn’t, planning your strategy and then the relevant tactics. If you don’t make time you will get stuck in a groove and lose sight. For those I work with, they know I like to plan the right sequence of things, so a bit of time to think is good!


5. THE LONG TERM VIEW

I appreciate this isn’t as easy right now, and many of us are having to reconsider in current trading times. But use that all important time to consider this: If you keep operating your business as you always have, are you also thinking long term? A 3 to 5 year vision is recommended, a year, for sure, or longer is even better. You need to have this view to be building the pathways towards this.


6. SHORT TERM DOER

With the brand purpose clear, the business plan in sight, the right team in place, then you can focus on the current year, and more immediate months ahead. The focus is then delivering well against your short-term goals and actions and achieving the profit or ROI you require. And then having your company culture embrace the short term actions and goals with the long term in mind.


7. COMFORT WITH IMPRECISION

This is a tricky one for some. Particularly when the world is more skewed towards science and measurable results – to justify spend. Digital marketing has absolutely enabled more data to see things more precisely. Market research provides some qualitative and quantitative information too. But we will never have the true crystal ball. And, the exciting bit is that Marketing is about creativity and thinking forward, not always based on what’s gone before. So provided you’ve done due diligence with some numbers and have a plan based on insight, the best results will come from being comfortable with slightly treading in the unknown.


8. CHOICEFULNESS

It is so very easy in Marketing to want to shoehorn everything in – to cover all bases. Or to relay everything because it’s clever, interesting, or complex. This all may be true, but you need to be distinct and focussed. Focus on your target, be clear where your position is, your objectives (despite what carrot deviates you), and be decisive to cut through. There’s a reason we have the word Focus in our company name!


9. SIMPLICITY & CERTAINTY

This goes hand in hand with ‘choosing’ what’s right. Strategic thinking is complex, it should be well thought through. Really honest and thoroughly checked it has no flaws or ‘that’ll do’s’. Once you feel certain about that, it needs to be a clear and simple strategy for all who come into contact with it.


10. “MANAGING” CREATIVITY

A plug for myself here, and only because the many creatives I have worked with in my 20+ years have said so (see my Linked In testimonials if you don’t believe me!).  Everyone by nature is creative. I consider myself creative. However, when it comes to Marketing – the creative team are the Creatives. Getting the best work, that will raise your company or your message to stand out requires a succinct brief that taps into the why. A strategy and a directional springboard to inspire creative (based on some brand parameters obviously). 


11. RULE BREAKING

Do you want your business to be successful? How successful? You can of course trade alongside others doing a similar good job. For our clients however we strive for them being a true Brand. To walk your own path and stand out. Celebrating what makes you better than the rest. To be a leader, some rules or moulds need to be broken. To go the path less trodden.


12. LEARNING & ADAPTING

I hope there is something that has made you think or learn from reading this article. Real learning comes from experiencing however. Trying something, seeing what happens. adjusting, improving on it. Very often failing too. And gradually knowing more and becoming awesome at what you do. But never resting on those laurels, always adjusting and adapting.  It’s okay to be humble. We are all learning a whole new world out there right now too! 

These 12 are characteristics that are very wise to adopt. Take a moment and see if you think you do, or how you’d rate yourself. If you have the time. 

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