Each year I reach out to industry experts, former colleagues and respected leaders (from CEOs, founders, consultants, CMOS and specialists) to help Marketing & Growth leads to improve the year ahead, with so many challenges, many channel changes, budget constraints, headcount freezes and returning to work to kick off the year after mass layoffs, it is imperative to gain help and advice as team leads and department heads.
If you work at a startup, SMEs or a large international business, the following advice is shaped to help each different situation.
The experts shared their tips for:
- Improving EQ (emotional intelligence)
- Handling signs of burnout
- Concentrating on performance,
- Being laser-focused, not running after every new shiny channel
- Improving talent management
- Career development.
The Answers To: How To Thrive In 2023
Chris Hutchings – Founder
Marketing is tough at the best of times but with reach collapsing, huge competition for users attention and budgets coming under extreme scrutiny at the moment, it’s a timely reminder to keep a high level of focus on your marketing activities.
What channels/strategies perform well for you?
Is it better to double down and concentrate on those rather than spreading yourself too thin across everything or jumping on bandwagons or channels that might not be suitable to your brand.
Clubhouse and TikTok anyone?
>> Listen to me join Chris on his 10q podcast, we discuss Marketing, our background and why there is so much opportunity to learn and grow
Beth Gladstone – Content & SEO Strategy for B2B Startups
Reinvention and the ability to assess old channels with new eyes. All of us are guilty of getting stuck in doing what we’ve always done or what worked in the past and this doesn’t keep pace with how fast channels are changing, or what can get cut through.
From revisiting basic email marketing and YouTube as channels with huge potential, to thinking about social media as a long-term investment in brand media rather than ephemeral content. It’s time to step back and rethink how and where we get traction.
>> Listen to Beth’s words of wisdom on my future state podcast talking about content
Harry Lang – CMO
The last two and a half years will make pretty grim reading for future historians. Pandemic, irrational war (is there any other kind?) and the world teetering on the brink of recession as it fights off avian flu, mass redundancy and progress lethargy. So my tip for next year for marketing leaders is about empathy, both in terms of how marketers treat their teams and how they communicate with customers.
Everyone’s having a shocker.
Nobody needs to be hard sold with ‘jazz hand’ promises of perceived emotional benefits, rock bottom sales prices or life changing services. They just want to know they’re appreciated, valued and getting what they need at the fairest price possible. Maybe dark times can bring some light to the more nefarious marketing behaviours.
>> Harry has a great book for anyone starting their career in Marketing or wants to become a generalist Marketer
Camilla Craven – Marketing & Communications Director, Consultant & Advisor
In 2023, my biggest piece of advice to all marketing leaders is to be laser focused on social commerce and how to win. It’s set to become the no 1 channel by 2029, overtaking marketplaces, brand sites and retailer sites.
People no longer ‘go’ shopping – through contextual commerce, they are constantly shopping.
It’s easy to consider social commerce as just a purchase through a social platform, but it is all encompassing of brands being able to use other vehicles to bring awareness to their products. Within the world of social commerce, my biggest advice is firstly to ensure you are thinking about your own employees at the centre of the strategy, and second, that whilst everyone wants to control how advocates represent the brand, trust in your brand that the voices may not exactly tell it how you tell it but it’s authentic and their interpretation of your brand – and ultimately will be more powerful.
Separate to the work at hand, my advice to leaders is to develop a network around you of fellow marketeers. It can be lonely at the top within a company as your peer group shrinks at leadership level. My mantra is life is about constant reverse mentoring. Whether it’s a handful of people, or a large community – it’s the peers around us who lift us up, are there to sound board any ideas and be a friend.
Alex Marriner – Leadership Search Consultant & Retained Search Partner
Most marketing leaders enter 2023 with question marks around what’s in store for them, their campaigns, budgets, teams and businesses.
One thing for sure is that the best talent is always in high demand and short supply, regardless of the economic situation.
For Marketing Leaders in a position to grow their teams, keep the widespread news of mass layoffs from filling you with the hope that hiring will become easier and faster. It won’t!
Candidates that do enter your process will want reassurances on topics such as the firm’s profitability and how much runway the business has etc. These questions will become more commonplace across all levels.
Only begin a search once you’ve confirmed your hiring need, how you will find them, and what EVP (Employee Value Proposition – or company story) you’ll be taking to market.
Take all your hiring seriously with a robust plan from the off, and you’ll thrive in 2023 by recruiting the best talent you can.
Mehul Garg – On-Demand CMO & Fractional CMO
Marketing is a loop. It starts with P&L and ends with customer service. Repeat”
Thanks to Covid, recession and cash flow challenges this expanded view of marketing is increasingly becoming a reality, especially for D2C businesses.
Marketers need to plan, think and act like a COO/CEO and not just distribution or brand.
There is a need for marketers to identify the supporting levers (such as: product, tech, unit economics, inventory, data) and proactively develop actionable roadmaps with the wider team.
Without such influence we are setting ourselves for failure. My top advice: invest more time into identifying the root causes of a problem and clearly articulating it. 8 out 10 finding the solution is relatively the easier part.
Anish Hallan – Burnout Expert
For me the tip would be for leaders to shift the focus from the individual to the organisation when it comes to preventing burnout.
Far too much emphasis is placed on the individual not being strong enough when actually we should be asking what is happening inside the organisation that is contributing to their burnout?
Nick Walter – Startup CEO (& former CMO)
My main marketing tip for you to thrive in 2023 is to invest in people and make this central to your strategy.
This includes your team, but importantly yourself as this is what will bring you, your team, and your business the best results. Even if you think you’re on top, be humble, reflect, take stock, and revisit the basics.
How are you treating yourself?
Are you doing what you need to do to make you the best version of you at work and at home? It is easy to get caught up in the day-to-day and I find a new year audit always helps me focus on what might of slipped the year before and where I find myself and my intentions. Once complete, and you have set yourself some targets and have a plan for the first quarter, switch your attention to your team.
How happy are they? How are they performing?
Are there issues to address?
Do you really know the best way to communicate with them and motivate them to be the best they can be?
Create a profile for each of your colleagues and sit down with them to check-in ahead of the year, make sure you are on the same page and fully aligned. Be confident on how you can support them and help them achieve their goals and don’t be afraid to let them know what you need. You should be focusing a lot of time and effort on how you can make your team and yourself grow as people and professionals. If you get this right in 2023, the success will follow, the budgets will seem to go further, and you will set a standard for years to come.
>> Listen to Nick and I discuss numerous important topics on our podcast The Future State of 👇
And here are ten quick-fire tips from me:
- Develop training and development plans for each individual
- Arrange skip meetings and really get to know the team members (especially their motivations)
- Evolve your department sub-culture – invest in the people and build trust and an open environment
- Help your team members find an external mentor who will help them develop their EQ (emotional intelligence) and PQ (their work political intelligence)
- Hire a coach to help develop your team members, particularly those who have been promoted into leadership roles
- Train in 101’s – budget management, interviewing, internally and externally presenting content and ideas etc
- Build a captain (rotating leader for meetings and updates) and champion (individuals who are the experts on channels and disciplines who will cross-train other teammates) training scheme
- Help team members to say no to meetings and where they cannot, help them add structure: including:
- working agendas
- why people should join your meetings
- their role in that meeting and how you would like them to add value and feedback
- Stop chasing every new channel and remove spray and pray from Marketing Plans (you have to be confident in what is going to work and why)
- Invest time in understanding platforms (yes new apps – you’re “never too old” & understand the limitations and opportunities with tools like chatgpt3) that your users are actually using and those on the fringes that will become the next app. Internal data, feedback from younger members of the company and the tech advocates from your computer are untapped resources
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Good luck and if you’d like to discuss anything, happily email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or connect with me on LinkedIn.