Marketing in a Manic Culture

Ever wonder why it’s so hard to execute well in a large organization? You look at organizations like RIM with all the resources at its disposal and think, how on earth can they get it so wrong?

Having worked in a few LARGE companies I can understand how it happens. When companies become large and successful they tend to have leaders that start to relinquish decision making to their staff and underlings. When that happens strategic priorities start to compete for resources and priority with senior management. As a result, employees start getting mixed messages about what’s important and therefore start to let quality slide.

In some cases, as a mid level marketing manager/director, there isn’t much you can do to turn things around because you’re now starting to fight inertia. Your best bet is to make sure you do what you can to set the right example for others around you and take pride in your work. There’s no point trying to change the work environment. If people aren’t listening or decision making has turned somewhat manic, then it’s best to stay focused on the strategic priorities for your brand or business.

Here are some tips for surviving in a manic environment:

1. Focus on results. Nothing keeps managements attention better than hitting your numbers on a consistent basis. Make sure you know and understand what the key metrics are that management focus on and if you’re accountable for them, deliver them.

2. Communicate frequently with senior management. In a nervous or high stress environment, managers don’t like surprises. Keep your executive team informed about what you’re doing and how things are going. IF things start to go sideways then let people know early not after it happens.

3. Get support from other teams. Marketing can’t operate in a vacuum so build alliances across the organization. When your group comes under fire for results, as it inevitably will, you can reach out to other groups like customer care to support your efforts.

4. Seek out and pursue innovative new ideas. In a highly competitive environment businesses need fresh thinking and ideas. Don’t be afraid to offer up new ideas or try different things to drive your business. Senior managers value and recognize (at least they should) the fact that success comes from taking risks.

Set your sails and weather the storm as best you can. Better weather is around the corner.

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