If your marketing team has lost sight of core values and their drive to improve revenue in creative ways, how do you recover? Taking the case of the established business, perhaps in business for twenty years or even ten years, but has lost its vision and values, the marketing side of the business as well as its ties to operations and customer service can deteriorate. If so, your marketing team may have become stale and lacking in any direction.
Since marketing is the primary revenue driver for any business today, particularly e-commerce businesses, it is difficult to eliminate perceptions built over time by mismanagement and the don’t do that attitude from the upper ranks. This causes a marketing team engrossed in process rather than creativity. The only option is to go backward and rediscover the values of the firm and rebuild the brand, and the marketing team, from the inside out..
Rediscovering your company core values
Core values are what drives every visionary company to achieve greatness and differentiation in the marketplace. Employees and managers can easily lose sight of the core values of the company. The founders likely had a strong vision built on those core values when starting the company, and grew the business based on these values, but do your teams still know what they are?
It doesnt make sense to re-build those core values or start from scratch, but rather it is more effective to re-discover them. Then the next step is to integrate them into the company culture, and articulate them more effectively to potential customers.
In many cases, reading about the history of the company, the employee handbook, or perusing through copy from the past can help determine what those core values were from the beginning. Talking with employees and/or conducting internal surveys can help as well.
I was hired as the Director of Marketing for a company that has had a steady decline in revenue over the course of five years as new competitors came up in the marketplace and managers were frequently turned over. Sadly, the founder of the company passed, and he was the key leader in all aspects of the marketing and operations. There was no way to ask him what his values were when starting the company. But his children spent their lives working very closely with him, so I looked to them to re-discover those core values.
Not all companies will have this opportunity, but likely there are people still there who know what those values are. If not, there is a lot of research that must be done.
No company can survive in this global marketplace without truly knowing what their core values are. Taking those values, rebuilding a company culture from them, and creating a brand promise that represents those values, is critical to its success. Marketing teams in particular must understand those values and deliver a message and brand promise that no other competitor can match, regardless of how painful it may be.
Waking up your marketing team
There is certainly much more work involved in creating your brand promise and company goals, but I will go more into that in other posts. But there is a way to wake up your marketing team and get things stirring now, even before next quarters or next years executive portfolio is established.
In the position I mentioned earlier, on the first day I had an introductory meeting with my new team. Needless to say, they were scared to death to have a new director. This team was comprised of a database and product administrator, an SEO specialist, two content specialists and a graphics designer.
The first thing I asked them to do was put together an email to me outlining their 3 top daily priorities, a brief paragraph on their experience with the company and professionally, and if they had a wish list what would be the 3 most important things they would want to see happen concerning their work and jobs. As soon as I asked them to do this, their eyes lit up with excitement and all of them stated that no one has ever asked them these questions. Well, of course not!
I put that aside for later, then I asked them all to show me examples of campaigns they were doing. When I pointed out very simple things that needed to be there, such as offerings and calls to action (which were not there) they all sighed at the same time. One person said, This is how we were told to do them and if we wanted to do them differently, we would be told not to. They all agreed.
I discovered that what was holding them back was a closed management methodology that restricted best practices, held on to outdated marketing messages, and lacking of values. Once I knew where they stood, I asked them to present to me what they believed the core values of the company are. I empowered them to be a team and start building campaigns based upon their ideal customers, put together creative ideas for campaigns using modern best practices and messages that deliver those values.
Literally everything from content to graphics to SEO improved immediately. They exploded with ideas and put together well-designed campaigns that we tested. Once launched, the first campaign increased e-commerce revenue by 63% compared to each of the previous years campaigns. Amazing.
Breaking fresh new ground
I certainly wont disclose what was contained in the email I asked for from this team, this is confidential, but I will say that it really helped me get to know them, understand what their goals are as individuals, and gave them purpose they didn’t know they had.
First, they must know what the company’s core values are and have a clear vision, message, and goals. I recommend doing this if you are trying to revive your marketing team or are a new marketing manager or director. It will immediately break the ice and build trust between you and your team quickly. If you’ve been there a while but just cant seem to figure out why things are not working, well, now you know.
Once they trust you, knowing that you are the expert that will lead them toward professional success, all their past perceptions will dissolve and you and your marketing team will have fresh new ground to build upon. In most cases, marketing people want to learn and they want to succeed. If they are not improving revenue, its likely that leadership is accountable.
Most of what I learned about building values was from consulting for visionary companies and their leaders who were very gifted in delivering the right messages to their customers. Learning from them, I was able to strategically revive my new marketing team and drive real results.