Don’t let the “C word” ruin your ideas: Collaboration- Written by Tyler Morian
It doesn’t take much for marketing projects to get complicated and in a state of disarray. When an idea is formulated, it goes through a process of being poked, prodded, and ultimately changed in its entirety.
Most marketing ideas start as rough concepts or goals derived by an individual. Once the idea has reached a larger audience, it is more likely to be altered or revised in some way. But hey, that’s not always a bad thing— it’s called collaboration for a reason.
The real issue arises when peers, stakeholders, and leadership form opinions on the project and conflicting goals are revealed with no real path to success.
What happens then?
Well, from our experience, the project usually goes from promising to dead.
How do we stop this epidemic? Good ideas need to see the light of day without getting squashed before they have time to grow.
Our team is a collective of wildly different and creative people. We encompass different strengths and perspectives of the marketing world — and that is a good thing.
Different perspectives represent a range of audience members that will see your marketing tactics. Collaboration, though, can be a very difficult thing to navigate.
While it may be easier said than done, here are some way to keep a project moving towards the finish line:
1. Establish your vision and don’t share it too early
Document your goals. Write down what you are trying to achieve, whether it’s a holiday email campaign, a landing page for a new product, or an entire brand redesign. Regardless of the size of the project, consider all aspects of it and anticipate possible questions before sharing with anyone on your team.
Describe your plan of action. Ideas are great, but there is very little value in them if you don’t know the actions needed to execute them. Research and determine what action steps you’ll need to accelerate your concept. This may mean researching marketing firms, new software, or even contracting new hires.
Share creative concepts tactfully. We all want to share our ideas when they come to us, but it doesn’t always generate good results. When I have an idea for a new marketing campaign for Motion Tactic, I’ll get feedback from our co-founder, Kyle, first, and then involve the entire team. Too many cooks in the kitchen can cloud your ideas before you have a chance to understand the concept fully yourself.
2. Define roles and expectations
Establish who will need to be involved for success. Does this idea involve your entire team or only a few members? Think about timeframes. Does your team have the bandwidth to execute on this idea soon or is this something you’ll need to plan for next year?
When a marketing project is underway, it is important to have 1-2 people managing the project. Having more managers will ultimately create confusion for the people executing the project. For example, when projects don’t have a clear manager, it becomes unclear who to contact when questions arise.
Communicate who will need to be available for feedback and approvals. Like mentioned before, opinions can and will be the death of an idea. Once an idea is underway, only designated stakeholders should give their feedback and approvals.
3. Tune out the noise
Refer back to the roles you have established. Let me say this louder for the people in the back. Marketing projects tend to get blurred lines with who is in charge and whose opinions truly matter. Pay attention to what opinions you hear that will guide the project forward rather than hold it back.
Unhelpful feedback: “I don’t like how the text is written. It doesn’t make sense.”
Helpful feedback: “Once we are at the point of proofreading and editing text, let’s make some changes to the first section on the homepage. I think we need to make it more clear for clients to want to click the navigation.”
4. Don’t be afraid to push back
Communicate why some feedback should NOT be implemented. This does not mean you should ignore a stakeholder’s thoughtful and researched opinion. The same goes for your own. All ideas should be backed by research or talked through with your marketing team. If you feel like certain changes will negatively affect the project or doesn’t make sense for the end goal, it is okay to not always implement the feedback you were given. Learning the difference between the two types of feedback is a powerful tool.