QUICK READ: Marketing is not going to get better until we eliminate the “business” of marketing that doesn’t add value to your brand and its customers.
How many PowerPoints are needed, in your organization, to get things done? How many hours are wasted in meetings with people who aren’t stakeholders?
The biggest complaint I hear from product managers is that it takes too long to get anything done. There are meetings, PowerPoints and political approvals before even simple strategies can be implemented. This can kill a brand.
Things have to change in marketing teams and they have to change NOW. The complex layers of matrix management don’t add any value to your customers or shareholders.
Here are some things that need to change..
1ne: Keep meetings short. Ideally, a meeting should be the length of a sitcom episode not a film by Martin Scorsese. Bartleby’s law is that 80% of the time of 80% of the people at meetings are wasted. If you doubt the numbers, have a think about the last big meeting you attended. Did everyone speak or was the discussion dominated by a small subset? How many people were gazing at their phones? A lot of people attend meetings out of a sense of duty or fomo (fear of missing out). And what is the purpose of the meeting? If it is just to update people on progress, that can be done in an email or in a one-to-one conversation (which has the added benefit of allowing you to talk to your staff). Big meetings involving all the staff should be reserved for big news like acquisitions or lay-offs.
2wo: Drop the team-building exercises. Paintballing in the woods, tackling an army assault-course, constructing a model of the Empire State Building from matchsticks—no one wants to do this stuff. They don’t want to go to an awayday weekend, either; they would much rather be at home with their families. Why not build a team by introducing its members and explaining what you want each of them to do? It is a lot cheaper. It also wastes a lot less of everybody’s valuable time.
3hree: Listen to your staff. They are the people who are dealing with customers and suppliers and grappling with the bureaucracy of the organization. Their feedback is essential, beyond annual engagement surveys. You hired them for their skill and expertise: learn to rely on it. If you don’t trust their judgment, you have hired the wrong people. If you don’t like listening to employees, go and set up as a sole trader.
4our: Ensure that your customer service reflect your brand’s values. All it takes is one bad customer service person to sink the best marketing and products. It’s not an easy job and you need to be joined at the hip with these people.
5ive: Cut out the jargon. The use of pretentious phrases and complex acronyms is generally designed to obfuscate rather than elucidate. In Bartleby’s experience, the reason people use unclear language is that they have nothing clear to say. If you are sending a general memo to all the staff, look carefully through it and ask whether you would have understood it on your first day of work. If not, make it simpler. Remember George Orwell’s maxim: “Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.” It applies to other tongues, too.
Remember that you set the tone. If a manager is angry and swears a lot, that will be seen as acceptable behavior. If bosses barely communicate, they are unlikely to receive useful feedback. If they fail to keep their promises, workers will be less likely to co-operate. And if a manager frequently belittles a particular employee, that person is unlikely to get the respect of their colleagues. In contrast, a more relaxed, open boss is likely to lead to a relaxed, open workplace.