Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A T20 Toast to our Teams!

I dedicate this last blog of 2011 to my terrific team, many of whom are, hopefully, getting some much deserved R&R and spending time with their friends and families before we shift into 2012 gear. To some leaders this means, "Get some rest, we are going to be working 20 hours a day, 12 months a year." But Desi CMOs aren't running sweatshops, we need to run high performance organizations, which require smarts not sweats.

A smarter marketing and communications organization doesn't need 20 hours/day/employee, it needs 20 minutes. So here are some of my 20 minute tips I wanted to share with my team - henceforth referred to as my T2Os, anchored around Bryan Kramer's 12 NY Resolutions for Marketeers. If you have some T2Os, leave a comment!

Bryan says: "Be social, but be interesting about it. You Facebook, tweet and blog–super. Now tell me the last time someone commented on or re-tweeted something you said. What separates you from the masses on social media is content. Be interesting, provocative and memorable in 2012, or just be."
DesiCMO T2O: Take 20 mins a day and switch off IM and put your phone on silent. Read a few interesting articles (W3 or external) or blogposts, tweets. Don't stop there. Develop a PoV on them and keep notes. When the time is right, you will be able to articulate a well informed opinion, whether it be in a social or a F2F context. THAT is how to be interesting.
Bryan says: "Focus your efforts. If everything is important, then nothing is important. In other words, you can’t have 15 top priorities in your marketing strategy and expect to be effective. Narrow priorities, focus your efforts and bring home the bacon."
DesiCMO T2O: Take 20 mins a month, pull up your annual goals and figure out whether what you did that month moved you closer to overachieving them. If you are not sure, talk to your manager. Then you can evaluate what you are working on, how much effort you are putting forth and prioritize.
Bryan says: "Make social media work for you (not the other way around.) Recently a survey by Demandbase and Focus that indicated that a company’s website was the top online source of new sales leads and seven times more effective than social media. Since then, the web people and social media people have been duking it out. Aren’t the two integrated? Social media drives people to your website where they can convert into a sale or a lead, right? Use social media as a means to an end, not the end itself."
DesiCMO T2O: Take 20 minutes a week and type in all the relevant keywords for your area into Google and see what comes up. Do the same on our company website. If we aren't optimized, we aren't ready for social anyway.
Bryan says: "Write one thought-provoking idea. “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” Steve Jobs. You don’t have to be brilliant every day. But one day this year, whether in a blog, a Facebook post, a Tweet or even an email, write something innovative and original. The world needs more idea-makers and innovation."
DesiCMO T2O: Most marketeers ideate, what they can't figure out is how to pitch their ideas to get the necessary support or resources. Some haven't thought through it enough (the "how about" 1 minute elevator pitch crowd), others over engineer to the point where they are too committed to the idea and aren't open to feedback or co-ownership (the 1 hour 30 page presentation crowd). Ideally, a good idea can be pitched well in 20 minutes. Shows thought, keeps the audience interested, and leaves room for feedback and questions.
Bryan says: "Simply put, try something new. Just one."

DesiCMO T2O: This is a simple one. Best practices are great but don't get overly caught up with them. Every best practice can be made better by garnishing it with 20 minutes of critical thinking.

Bryan says: Breathe in, breathe out. Creative thoughts live in the middle. In other words, be mindful of the present. Focus on what’s in front of you, right now. Don’t worry about the future, don’t regret the past–concentrate on now. When your mind gets uncluttered, you open up all kinds of room for innovation and creativity.

DesiCMO T2O: Things go wrong, sometimes horribly wrong, or at least not the way you wanted. You may be tempted to blast someone, anyone, often on e-mail. Go ahead, write the e-mail. But save it in draft for 20 minutes. Walk away. Come back and decide whether you should send it. More often than not, you won't send it. See don't you feel better already? 20 minutes stopped you from doing or saying something unproductive (or even stupid).

Finally, Bryan says: "Simplify. Marketing is complex, yes. But it doesn’t have to be complicated. Simplify your marketing efforts."
DesiCMO T2O: Take a 20 minute coffee break with someone outside marketing (sales, finance, product development) and explain what you are working on to them. If they get it, then you are probably on the right track. If they look confused, you are probably focusing on activities and not outcomes.
Over time, this new year's resolution of practicing T2O should become as important as drinking more H2O (an all time favorite NY resolution of mine). So with that, pour yourself a glass of water and a toast to a Smart 2012 to all CMOs and their teams! Cheers!


  1. Nice simple pointers to being more efficient and creative. Agree to all. I'd add one - build in more face time and less screen time. Creativity comes from rapping with the team , pushing crazy ideas, and remembering that suspects, prospects, and leads are human not data points.

  2. Here are a few more:
    - Take 20 minutes to talk to the external world including your customers, prospects, partners, ISV's, etc

    - Take 20 minutes to read what analysts say about the industries your big customers operate in. You will be surprised at the in-depth discussions you can have with your customers

    - Take 20 minutes to meet / speak with your counterparts from other industries. There is a lot of good work that marketeers are doing in various industries and they can all be used

    - Take 20 minutes to talk to your team on matters other than office work

  3. Hello Virginia,

    Thank you for the dedication.

    Good and very relevant pointers. I would like to add that we need to regularly take time out to be in front of clients. As marketeers (particularly as MSMs), understanding client and market needs is key to our success and as marketeers that is when we will be able to add value and act as headlights to business.

    Cheers and I Wish You and Your Family the Very Best in 2012....... Chandru Kavichandran

  4. Love the Desi CMO tag. Great pointers. Wish you a very Happy 2012

  5. Great insights that reflect passion for excellence…. Wishing you a success in all you do. Cheers!

  6. Good pointers...
    if i can add one, would also want to think every week of how our work continues to have "relevance" in consumers' lives... basically purpose of our (brands) existence...