Don't let a little thing like a corporate structure get in the way of your marketing project.
Never underestimate the power of the written word.
As I indicated in my last article, marketers have to act as the quarterbacks of the organization, coordinating across many different functional areas, from sales to finance. There's just one minor problem that we run into: the org chart.
The org chart gets in the way whenever you need someone in another department to do something. It doesn't matter who the person is. Discounting all other factors, the org chart says that someone else manages them, someone else evaluates them, and, most important, someone else pays them.
Imagine if Brett Favre of the Green Bay Packers dropped back to pass, and the wide receivers didn't run their patterns. Or the running back refused to take the pitch on a running play. It would be impossible to get anything done (perhaps you're familiar with that particular sensation!). Yet that is the situation that marketers often face as they try to push a complex project to completion.
You can't change the structure of the org chart, but you can find ways around it. No, I'm not advocating Machiavellian politics or blackmail, though those techniques can certainly be effective -- especially if you brought a digital camera to last year's holiday party! One of the best ways to work around the org chart is also the simplest. To get your way, simply ask for it in writing.
Yes, the pen is mightier than the org chart.
It is a fundamental truth that even the hardest-working people have a tendency to be lazy. Not lazy in the sense of unwillingness to work, but lazy in the sense of allocating their figurative elbow grease to the squeakiest wheel.
Think about it. Which project are you more likely to complete -- the project that was assigned to you in a meeting three months ago or the project your colleague follows up with you about every morning? If nothing else, you'll want to finish the project just to get rid of her!
As a disciplined marketer, you should use this tendency to your advantage. Be polite, be direct, and, above all else, be persistent. After all, you don't get what you don't ask for. Here are a couple simple steps that can make all the difference:
It'll take a little extra work to make these steps a part of your routine, but they're well worth the effort. The next time someone tries to claim that he didn't know about a project, you'll be able to pull out that email you sent describing the project and outlining his specific deadlines. The next time someone tries to get out of helping you, you'll be able to say, "I understand that you're busy, but just take this prioritized list of tasks, and work on them whenever the opportunity presents itself."
I've found these techniques to be remarkably effective -- especially in times of flux and chaos, when colleagues actually welcome the structure of specific tasks and timetables. It may not be as fun as barking out orders, but it will get the job done.
Revolutionize your digital marketing campaigns at ClickZ Live San Francisco (August 10-12)!
Educating marketers for over 15 years, our action-packed, educationally-focused agenda offers 9 tracks to cover every aspect of digital marketing. Join over 500 digital marketers and expert speakers from leading brands. Register today!
Chris and his work have been featured in Fortune, the Financial Times, and the New York Times. He earned his MBA from Harvard Business School.
US Consumer Device Preference Report
Traditionally desktops have shown to convert better than mobile devices however, 2015 might be a tipping point for mobile conversions! Download this report to find why mobile users are more important then ever.
E-Commerce Customer Lifecycle
Have you ever wondered what factors influence online spending or why shoppers abandon their cart? This data-rich infogram offers actionable insight into creating a more seamless online shopping experience across the multiple devices consumers are using.