Speaking from experience, I know that the death of sales is often the result of a zombie-esque marketing department that lacks creativity and luster. In this nightmare scenario, so-called marketers are molded mostly out of untrained job-seekers (versus career seekers) who share their employer’s near-zero initiative in educating themselves on ever-changing marketing trends. The workday is carried out in 9-5 monotony, and you can almost hear the faint galley-like drumbeat echoing through the office. This is the marketing department that I’ve come across too many times; this is the department that also has trouble generating buzz and sales.
In the interest of salvaging the shipwreck that is most small to mid-sized businesses’ marketing departments, here are some crucial ways to inject creativity into your team.
Training – You have to keep up with the rate of change in the global society. You may not be able to afford savvy marketing gurus or attract new media marketing majors (since it’s a relatively new subject), but you can get your staff to be creative and well-informed by keeping them in the loop. Our blog here is a great must-read to help keep everyone up to speed. Other “it” blogs include the ever-dependable Mashable.
Play – If you treat your team like they’re slave drones, you’re going to get the output to match. In other words, you’ll get a team that performs their duties, but doesn’t “create” to help boost buzz and performance. It’s incredibly important to have a fun and relaxed work environment, like that created by Zazzle or even lesser known but fiercely dominant FotoFafa. Both companies have taken a left turn from mainstream office atmosphere by letting employees fuse fun into their work environment. In other words, they don’t take themselves so seriously – and somehow the work still gets done better than ever!
Environment – I’ve seen a lot of offices, and let me tell you that you’re pretty close to knowing everything you need to know about a company based on its office. Everything from the layout to the technology and even color schemes can accurately tell you about the company. The first thing that absolutely has to go is the dreaded cubicle. This will be a challenging first step for many employers. If you still must have a lab-rat type arrangement, try one long parsons desk with well-equipped (not archaic) computer systems running down in alternating order. This way everyone sits together, is part of a team, but still has their own unit to work with. This setup actually guarantees more creativity, teamwork and even productivity.
Once you’ve accomplished that, turn your attention to successful startups in San Francisco for examples. You’ll notice one thing that modern sky-rocketing companies have in common – they all lack a divisive office layout, employ creative color schemes and promote relaxed dress codes.
Outsourcing – Shooting work out to talented contractors has a benefit beyond just saving you money in overhead. Outsourcing work also brings in people who aren’t part of your “system,” which means they still retain a certain creative license and aren’t afraid to share it with you. Talented contract workers essentially work for themselves, so it’s their job to be well-informed on marketing trends and deliver results – which often includes thinking differently.
If you’re not sure about trying out these ideas immediately, have your team run a test study. Have each person spend two hours that week researching effective marketing departments and those of top companies. Let them get in on the analysis and see what they’re able to spot. Then ask for their recommendations on what would work and what they’d like to see implemented.