5 marketing drivers to strategic decision making
by Nontokozo Madonsela. The ability to make strategic marketing decisions is vital, or your marketing division runs the risk of applying the spray-painting method on all campaigns.
by Nontokozo Madonsela. If you are aiming to become a marketing executive, the ability to make strategic marketing decisions is vital. Without this ability, your marketing division runs the risk of applying the spray-painting method on all campaigns; simply communicating without a clear purpose, spreading yourself and your team too thin, marrying incompatible marketing objectives and jumping on a different bandwagon based on trends that might lead to you abandoning your journey to brand success.
1. Purpose is the ultimate glue
Decision-making must be grounded on purpose, which is the most magnificent and powerful glue and compass that guides the work that we do. Most big brands that have remained consistently true to who they are, are those aligned to purpose. The essence of the brand does not have to change when leadership in an organisation changes. Purpose can be unpacked in three layers.
- The first layer of purpose, especially for brands in financial services, is rooted in what your company stands for. For instance, in our organisation we stand for enabling people and businesses to achieve financial goals and life expectations.
- The second layer of purpose can be found in what your brands stand for. In a group, there is group purpose, but the brands in the different portfolios contribute to the achievement of that purpose. When decisions must be taken, we have to ask ourselves – how is this enabling the collective to be successful? The more consistent brands are in aligning to their purpose; the clearer the decisions and execution thereof.
- The third layer of purpose answers the question – why are you doing this? For instance, how can an organisation craft its participation in national initiatives in a way that is uniquely ownable and aligned to your bigger and broader brand strategy?
2. Stay with one plan
This is the next enabler of good decision-making. This is particularly important in organisations that are layered and complex. For instance, the work that marketers in financial services do, originates from the intellectual input from various sources and that work accumulates quickly. So, in all of this storm, the clarity of one plan, one clear purpose, helps to facilitate good decision making. The absence of one plan can lead to fragmentation and poor execution in the market. Working in isolation fragments your brands and reduces the ability to remain true to your strategic decisions. It is best to bring your energy and pursuit to be different into one plan. When you have one plan, the message is more impactful.
3. Activate the power of repetition
This is about the simplification of what needs to be done. By appreciating and activating the power of repetition, you get the broader business on board. Do not allow new and unaligned initiatives to take you away from the strategy you are anchoring.
- Your strategy must be known by all the important players and contributors to your brand. Find a way to simply tell the story about the choices you have made and how your resources should be used. Never get tired of repeating your strategy.
- Repetition also allows your executing partners to be able to connect the dots when they develop new initiatives. To show delivery to the business, the team must be able to link their day-to-day activity to the agreed strategy.
- Singing off of one hymn sheet is also incredibly empowering and liberating because everyone knows and understands what needs to be done and why? They can in turn spread the gospel accurately to reinforce alignment.
4. Utilise the power to imagine and create your assets
When you build brand plans and strategies, you create robust frameworks that spell out what your brand protects and cares about. In that process, you also have the ability to create assets. If brand ideas are strong enough, you are able to tap into passion points and own compelling narratives through platforms such as social media. A good example is Momentum’s campaign for Women’s Month last year. We encouraged women to own their success confidently. We had powerful #SheOwnsHerSuccess and #NoApologyForMySuccess initiatives. We saw the impact that the idea had and decided not to walk away from the conversation just because Women’s Month had come to an end. The end of Women’s Month does not mean that the conversation about women being empowered is no longer relevant.
What started as a Women’s Month campaign has now become an essential ingredient in our asset kit. When we did the Budget speech campaign this year, our insight said women in business are an important stakeholder in the country. We decided to encourage women and unlock funding for women-owned businesses. That is the essence of imagining and creating your assets. We are about enabling success and women are an important client group and household decision-makers for our consumer brands. That is why we have decided not to get ‘in and out’ on conversations about women. We are going to guard this space because it is an essential asset for the decisions that our brands must make.
5. Stick to your guns
This is an important theme, especially in organisations in which marketing is not at the centre. Do not be swayed by what your competitors and other brands are doing. The very essence of marketing is not to look like someone else. We are guided by our purpose and our brand proposition. Do not walk away from your strategic framework and the insight that you know about your brand. Sometimes brands neglect to own their space with confidence.
Some of the decisions we have made came because we had the boldness, bravery and confidence in the strategies that we set up and we ‘stick to our guns’. We avoid being swayed. Of course, we have to be responsive and be able to innovate and refresh. Some of the bad decisions creep in when you want to be a ‘me too’ and, in the pressure to get the work out quickly, you forget to activate the distinctive assets that your brand owns.
Nontokozo Madonsela is Group Chief Marketing Officer at Momentum Metropolitan Holdings.
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