The Power of Context
I met with one of my client's senior management team today and something amazing happened.
A little backstory
We meet once a month to review PR opportunities. None of the people in the room are responsible for marketing, all of them overseeing one of the various departments in my client's company.
The meetings go alright. We churn through an agenda that I had inherited, looking for upcoming events that we can publicize and story ideas that we can pitch.
Actually, the monthly meeting was a dog. We did our duty, but it was not a good spend of everybody's time.
What to do?
My client and I agreed that the time was not well spent and that we needed to shift gears. We hashed some ideas around and decided the best plan was to back up and get his team more engaged in the overall marketing process. They needed context. They needed to be able to understand what direction we're taking their marketing and how they fit into it.
Talking fast to make it fit
So, today I spent an hour and a half taking the team through the three main areas of work that I've been focused on for their company: strategic, tactical and operational.
I shared the steps we went through in developing the strategic plan, the findings and the strategies. I shared the positioning work we did and the rationale behind it. I shared the branding that we've been developing and how it tied into the strategic work and positioning. We covered the overall tactical plan and how we're in the process of operationalizing their marketing function.
We covered a lot of info in a short period of time.
After I was done something amazing happened: they started getting excited about the opportunities and challenges before their company and they started to share some excellent ideas—not just PR ideas, but marketing ideas.
They were really good ideas, too, because they had context for the first time. The team started to understand how they each fit into the company's marketing strategy and that unlocked their expertise and creativity. It was quite dramatic.
If your company's marketing team is comprised of non-marketing professionals, take time to give everyone context. Don't just share with them what you did but share why you did it—the thinking behind your approach.
By doing so, you'll help them understand the big picture, how they fit and what unique piece they have to offer. You'll get much better contributions from the team and who knows, you might even have that "Ah Ha!" idea that's been eluding you.
(Photo Credit: Josh Gastin)