Friday, November 14, 2014

CMOs - 3 Tips For Optimizing Diverse Marketing Teams

As companies try to understand their customers, their Human Resource departments are challenged with the task of finding the right types of personalities to hire for the marketing departments. As a graduate student in the Northwestern Medill IMC program with an interest in marketing management, I have found two articles on managing diverse teams that you will find interesting. There are different perspectives on this topic and here, I explore two of these perspectives.
In the article, "Marketers: It's Time for a Millennial CMO” writer Marcus Fischer explores the potential of hiring a millennial as the CMO of a brand. He states a number of reasons why millennials would be a good fit for this role, especially as digital becomes the primary medium for marketing and communications. He claims, and rightfully so, that digital comes more naturally to millennials than it does to Generation X or the Baby Boomers. Many companies are vying for a share of the millennials mind, and Fischer thinks that the best way to understand the millennial is to hire millennials. The millennial generation is also more accustomed to the speed with which things are changing in the digital world; from platforms to content to apps, trends have a shelf-life of a couple of months at most. Fischer acknowledges towards the end that millennials are not seasoned employees in an organization so he provides a quick guide on how a millennial can take on the responsibilities of a CMO.
Daniel Thomas of the Financial Times stresses in his article, "The Silver Economy: Tech sector taps surge of connected boomers", that it is safe to assume that while digital is not the first language of the Baby Boomers, it certainly is not a foreign language. The silver surfers, as they are called, are increasingly using digital devices to stream entertainment, connect with family and obtain news. There are companies in the UK who are specifically targeting their products and services to this particular age group, which can be classified into six distinct user categories. But if what Fisher says is the right approach to marketing, then companies vying for the Baby Boomer’s share of mind should focus on hiring Baby Boomers. I doubt that the companies that are targeting this group are only hiring baby boomer CMOs or marketing departments. Individuals might get the job solely because they have the experience to do what is needed within the scope of being a CMO or marketing team member but not because they belong to the target market.

After reviewing these two great articles, here are three action items that I recommend you use when building your marketing teams:
  1. Make it a balancing act.  Marketing departments can benefit from both experienced marketing professionals and digitally-savvy millennials. This is important to keep in mind when hiring new staff members.
  2. Know what’s #trending.  All staff should be encouraged to be aware of recent trends and share with the entire team.
  3. Cross-collaborate.  Millennials can benefit from the wealth of experience and knowledge that the Baby Boomers possess. Teams that are comprised of members from both age groups can foster a healthy learning environment.
Today, you need diversity in perspectives and experience to create strong marketing teams and maximize the success of your marketing programs. A company that values the wisdom of older generations just as much as new talent will find it easier to replicate their success and sustain it for a longer period of time.

Afroze Ali is pursuing her M.S. in Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University, focusing on digital marketing, strategy and analytics. She is passionate about improving the customer experience and using data and analytics to make it happen. After graduating in the summer of 2015, she hopes to work in research and planning. In her spare time, Afroze swims, writes, and loves to explore her hometown of Chicago. You can find her on LinkedIn or Twitter.


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