Every company requires marketing to succeed. As the company’s leader, you might not be able to see the efforts of the marketing department directly, but you can definitely see the result of all that hard work. And if you want to show that you’re serious about leading this company to success, one of the best things you can do is try to improve your understanding of this particular area of its operations. No matter how experienced you may be in your general leadership duties, taking a deep dive into the company’s marketing is one of the best ways to become more familiar with the weaknesses and strengths of that business.
Read Case Studies
Case studies are one of the best ways to learn about marketing and get acquainted with the more intricate aspects of the field. They don’t necessarily have to be related to your company – in fact, it’s probably a good idea to diversify as much as possible and read studies from other businesses. Take notes, especially questions that you can bring up to more experienced people. If you don’t understand why a certain decision was made, make it a point to figure that out. This will provide you with an invaluable insight into the field and what it typically takes to lead a marketing campaign to success.
Go Through Old Campaigns and Figure Out How They Went
You should also do the same with the company’s own campaigns. Explore any documentation you can find that describes how certain campaigns were executed, whether their performance matched expectations, and what suggestions were brought up for improvements. You might be surprised to see that some of those suggestions were never implemented afterward. There’s usually a good reason for that, and those are good points to focus your studies on. Especially when you see something that seems perfectly sensible but was never implemented – try to find out why that happened and how the company adapted those plans in the end.
Improve Your Education
Marketing is a complex field with many different areas to explore, and there’s a lot of ground to cover for the average person without any experience in the sector. A degree is one of the best ways to improve your understanding of current marketing trends and find out what the most popular methods and philosophies are at the moment. It might seem over the top to get an entire degree just to understand your business better, but for some leaders, this is actually the bare minimum that they go through.
And considering the various options you have for a data analytics degree online from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, as well as various related degrees that can help you gain a deeper understanding of the performance of your marketing department, you really have no excuse. As long as you have some free time, you can put some of that towards improving your education, and this will benefit you significantly down the road.
Work Closer with Your Marketing Department
If you’re like most leaders, your work is probably a bit disconnected from that of your marketing specialists. In fact, it’s possible that you’re completely unfamiliar with what’s going on behind the doors of that department. This is unfortunate, because not only is that one of the best ways to understand their work better, but it can also provide you with some insights about your own work. Your leadership should be aligned with the goals of the marketing department in any case but working with them more closely can make that much easier.
Read Up on Modern Technology
No matter what kind of work your company does, there’s no avoiding the prevalence of modern tech in your daily tasks. This goes for marketing just as well, and if you want to understand the field in more detail, you should start by learning about the different tools they use on a regular basis, and the tech that drives them. You don’t have to become an expert on artificial intelligence and statistics in order to understand those tools on at least a basic level.
Having that understanding will help you connect the dots about the place of your marketing department in the grand scheme of things. It will also give you hints about things that can be upgraded in the future. If you notice that certain tools are clunkier than you’d expect, you might want to talk to your marketing specialists and ask if they’ve considered an upgrade. It’s possible that it’s been on their minds for some time, but nobody has wanted to bring that up to you.
Pick Up Programming on the Side
On a related note, you will definitely want to look into programming and see if you can pick up a relevant skill on the side. Many people who’ve never done programming in their lives have a strange fear of the field, considering it highly technical and complicated. And while it’s true that programming can be very challenging at the higher levels, it’s actually quite easy to get started with a language like Python in your free time nowadays and implement various useful small tools. Even minor scripts that do things like churn through data sets and extract specific patterns can still be very useful when you’re exploring the marketing performance of your company. And if you realize that you’ve found something that works for you, this can be an extremely valuable skill to add to your portfolio in the long run.
Pay Attention to New Product Launches or Expansions into New Markets
Product launches and company expansions are some of the most exciting parts of the job of your marketing department, as there’s often a lot of work leading up to them, and they tend to highlight some of the shortcomings of your current marketing strategy. Those are great opportunities to see the work of your marketing team in action too, observing how they tackle problems as they come up, and how they direct their long-term strategy.
While you should probably avoid interfering during that stage and let your experts do their thing, you should definitely take the time to get in touch with them after the chaos is over and discuss some of the things you’ve observed. If you’re not sure why a certain decision was made, just ask. But of course, remember to be gentle in your approach. The director of the company asking too many questions about a recent project can occasionally send the wrong message and make people defensive if they believe they’re being interrogated over a potential failure.
Identify Problems That Need to Be Solved
Just because you don’t work in marketing yourself doesn’t mean that you can’t contribute something to that part of the company’s work. For example, as a leader, you’re in a great position to identify problems and shortcomings in your current planning and propose solutions for them. Sometimes you’ll be able to provide much better guidance on that than the actual marketing department itself, mostly because you’ll have access to a wider range of resources, plus you’re in a position to leverage the company’s assets more directly.
So, if you spot something that you believe can be improved in the current work of your marketing department, don’t be afraid to bring that up. Worst case, you’ll be mentioning something that people are already aware of, and you’ll be given an explanation about what they’re currently doing about that problem.
Include Marketing in Your Daily Routine
Last but not least, once you’ve started to get familiar with the work of your marketing department, try to include it in your daily routine as much as you can. This doesn’t have to be anything major – it would probably be counterproductive to go that far, considering you have your own tasks to keep up with – but simply staying in touch with your marketing team on a daily basis will go a long way towards improving your understanding of their work, as well as strengthening the connection between them and you.
That last part might not seem too important now, but you’ll change your mind once you get to the first serious project that results in some differences in opinions. Having a deeper understanding of how your marketing is done and who exactly does it will put you in a more advantageous position in those negotiations and will make it clear that you’ve done your homework and aren’t just throwing out suggestions for the sake of it.
Every good leader should put some effort into understanding the marketing work of their company. Even if you trust the people who do that work completely – and you should – it can still be quite useful to know exactly why they’re making the decisions they make, and what motivates them to develop your strategy in a certain way. And with that, you can improve your understanding of your own job and know exactly what your team needs from you at any moment. That will set you aside from the vast majority of leaders out there.