Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) lead teams of forward-thinking, creative people that find ways to make the ordinary a little more exciting. Unfortunately, I’ve witnessed more than a few CMOs forgetting their audience during critical presentations.
As they unleash “death by PowerPoint”, everyone’s eyes start to glaze over. And, before you know it, the enthusiasm is sucked out of the room.
I’ve had the privilege of working on projects with organizations of all shapes and sizes. If you want to get the best out of the team you rely on for creative, out-of-the-box thinking, you need to allow them to run with their ideas.
Here’s my recipe for creative success.
Use Real-Time Communication & Fire the Conference Room
Regular meetings with your entire team are a waste of time that have a real price tag. According to a Ted Talk by David Grady and Jason Fried, here are the numbers:
- $37 billion in lost production for companies in the United States
- $75 million loss for Fortune 50 companies each year due to poorly executed meetings.
- Meetings with multiple managers or executives can cost more than $1,000 per hour.
We live in an instant world where communication happens at the speed of light — literally. Leverage the technology at your fingertips. Slack, Hangouts and Skype offer compelling alternatives to traditional email and in-person meetings.
Using on-demand communication allows for busy creatives to engage only when necessary for them. You’ll find that you gain a huge improvement in productivity, and your team is more creative, thanks to the additional mental capacity they have to apply their brainpower to their work, instead of trying to stay awake through 50 PowerPoint slides.
The Best Alternative Meeting
Some of the world’s best ideas have sprung forth from passionate people free to pursue their vision. When you combine passion with all of the tools a large marketing team has at their disposal, magic happens.
It’s important to give your creatives space to be creative, without the suffocating demands of corporate tasking.
Don’t just take my word for it. In 2004, Larry Page and Sergey Brin felt so passionate about this, that they dedicated a paragraph of their IPO Letter to shining a light on the strategy:
“We encourage our employees, in addition to their regular projects, to spend 20% of their time working on what they think will most benefit Google. This empowers them to be more creative and innovative. Many of our significant advances have happened in this manner. For example, AdSense for content and Google News were both prototyped in “20% time.” Most risky projects fizzle, often teaching us something. Others succeed and become attractive businesses.”
The 20% Rule Doesn’t Have to Be Expensive
By using the time that would have been wasted in old-school meetings, you can give your creatives the space they need without decimating the bottom-line. I’ve seen this strategy deliver huge dividends.
Without naming names, I have an example to share. I was working with an in-house web design team to craft a digital footprint for a Fortune 500 company. Each member of the team had a specialized skill that, when combined with the rest of the organization, created a force to be reckoned with.
But, there was a problem. The individuals that specialized in creating works of art in photoshop lacked the coding skills to build the site. And the coding gurus lacked any real design sense. Because of this, their visions were limited to the specific areas of the site that they were responsible for.
I encouraged the team to use their 20 percent time to learn about the free CMS platforms available to them. The company had plenty of server space, and these designers could gain a fresh perspective by unlocking the creativity of the entire team.
The three most popular CMS platforms were WordPress, Joomla and Drupal. There were strengths and weaknesses to each free CMS and some projects switched platforms a time or two.
But, within a few weeks, every member of the team had created their very own website. And the projects were taking on a life of their own — new design elements emerged. These new ideas were combined in increasingly unique ways.
This freedom to create led to major advances in how their corporate projects were handled. Suddenly, even the most boring site elements started to spring to life — everyone had the power to showcase their craziest ideas in ways that were far more effective than a boring wireframe edit.
Kill the Meeting, Long Live Creative Time
If you want the best from your team, stop forcing them to sit through mind-numbing, expensive meetings. Empower them to communicate and collaborate in real-time through one of the hundreds of chat and collaboration platforms available for business. And use the time you save to give them the freedom to make their wildest ideas a reality. You’ll be amazed at how quickly your creatives come to life.
If you're not ready to kill the meetings, at least check out how leading CMOs weigh in on other challenges, including how they can skillfully decipher, understand, and leverage the abundance of available data to engage with customers. Download the Argyle: The Data Driven CMO guide today!