What worked so well yesterday, may no longer pack the same punch. If your marketing team isn’t coming up with new and innovative marketing ideas to meet business goals, how do you motivate your team? Keeping your marketing team motivated and producing fresh ideas isn’t easy. Let’s explore how to keep your marketing team innovating and your market share expanding.
Evaluate Your Processes
First, it’s important to evaluate what you’re already doing. If parts of your current process are meeting your goals, don’t dismantle them. Developing innovative marketing ideas is usually about building on what you have.
Take a look at where you’re spending money and how this contributes to both short-term and long-term success. Ask yourself questions like:
- Where are we spending our marketing dollars and time?
- Are our acquisition costs too high?
- Is our sales cycle too long?
- Are we relying too much on discounting to move inventory?
- Are we getting our products in front of enough retail customers and are they buying?
- What kind of feedback are we getting from dealers?
- Do we have systems in place to efficiently analyze data, so we don’t suffer from data overload and the inevitable inability to make confident decisions?
- How can we streamline efforts to maximize our ROI?
Answering these questions will help you start looking past the day-to-day and contract-to-contract level of thinking to see your marketing and growth efforts as a whole.
But before you start making changes, make sure you have the data to back them up.
Try Agile Marketing
That takes agile marketing. Agile marketing is a marketing convention that upholds the following marketing values as stated on the Agile Marketing site:
- Responding to change over following a plan
- Rapid iterations over Big-Bang campaigns
- Testing and data over opinions and conventions
- Many small experiments over a few large bets
- Individuals and interactions over ‘one size fits all’
- Collaboration over silos and hierarchy
By pushing against the traditional waterfall methodology, you’ll get more opportunities to collect feedback from your users and your stakeholders. MicroD adopted Agile for the marketing teams several years ago and witnessed the power of Scrum in marketing. We were producing more content in less time. We had better campaign results because we took the time we needed to plan instead of a fixed planning and building period. Our team tried many things in rapid iterations so that we never spent too much time and resources on an idea that didn’t work. Where did that leave us? It left us with a team of excited individuals who were now coming up with ideas more often. Our team of individuals became a team of one group working at the same pace and producing big results. This breath of fresh air isn’t easy to change within your organization but helps your team start finding innovative marketing ideas.
Inefficiencies in Big Campaign Marketing
- 1/3 of marketers say it takes 7 days to create a single piece of content. Excessive time and money are being invested in marketing ideas that take a lot of planning and execution but may or may not be working.
- 70% of content created doesn’t get used.
But how is all of this waste impacting your B2B buyers?
- 71% of B2B buyers, which in this case would be your dealers, say they’re disappointed by most of the content that companies create.
- 25% say that they’ll never do business with you because of this.
Let’s take a step back and look at how being more agile solves this problem while increasing innovation.
Using Agile Methodology to Mitigate Risk
Without the right data, you not only risk money and time. You risk your brand. Based upon the above data, marketing efforts could be pushing away as much as a quarter of potential dealers as well as the end-consumer. If you’re thinking in huge, high cost, longer-term campaigns, you could be wasting a lot of time and money.
When you take the risk out of it, you do an amazing thing for your team. You encourage creative thinking. You also create a faster, in-the-flow kind of thinking that allows you to capitalize on trends. You find yourself with more valuable and innovative marketing ideas that can get results now as well as build a stronger brand for the future.
But these ideas don’t come out of anywhere. In line with the agility philosophy, they’re based upon data, which can inspire a lot of creativity when used correctly.
With the right data, you free your marketing team up to implement the really innovative marketing ideas that deliver a high return on investment over time. Data not only gets you moving in the right direction. Real-time data analytics tells you when you’re veering off-track so you can re-calibrate faster with less time and money waste as well as less harm to your brand. You’ll create higher-quality content faster.
Now, let’s take a look at how implementing this more agile process can help you develop more innovative marketing ideas. Data-driven marketing is value-driven marketing. You’re getting more for less.
Beware the Status Quo
The home furnishings industry is nothing if not founded in tradition. Most of the time, this is a wonderful and positive thing. It produces a strong industry that thrived through multiple economic downturns. It continues to be a family-first industry where generations of families run and operate different organizations. We literally call every Market a family reunion (a furniture family reunion). But sometimes, that focus on tradition can dampen innovation in your marketing team. As a brand in the home furnishings industry or a large retailer with your own marketing team in-house, your priority is to sell more furniture or home furnishings products. And you can’t do that without your Marketing team. If you need convincing, send this to your Marketing team and they’ll explain.
Often we as marketers hear, “That’s how we’ve done it for X decades/years” and they’re not wrong. But if your marketing team knows anything, they know that the landscape for this industry has changed. And it means their focus needs to change as well. Just because you were doing mailouts 30 years ago and investing in TV advertising doesn’t mean that’s how you need to market today. And your Marketing team knows this.
If you’re hoping to motivate your marketing team to come up with innovative marketing ideas, you need to get out of their way. Take the status quo and put it in a credenza somewhere far away. Challenge your team to come up with ideas about new product development, product marketing, sales, even how to present your new collections at Market. Make sure that no idea is considered a bad idea in the early stages of your process. The goal is to let your Marketing team have room to breathe new life into ideas for your brand. If you’re lucky, after the first few tries, you’ll have a team who is constantly producing innovative marketing ideas that bring better business and expand your brand.
Branding and Rebranding
How do people view your brand? What do they think when they hear your name. For some brands, that ideal shifts as times change. When it’s time to change the perception of your brand, look internally first. One way to stir innovative marketing ideas when it comes to rebranding is competitor research. Encourage your team to find competitors who did it well. Then look outside of our industry to find other brands who are closely related to you. If you have a house of brands, seek out someone similar to your structure.
Pro tip: Create internal teams who will come up with a new brand for your company. Give very few parameters and see what your teams come up with together. Sometimes, you’ll find that everyone is dancing around the same idea that will propel your brand to new heights.
What if you’re launching a new brand?
Bring that war room of internal teams back together and create a concept brand. Brands are larger than life. They take time and money to build. Then bring in some outside perspective in focus groups. Let your teams have the creative freedom to work together and be bold with innovative marketing ideas in the new brand. This open environment for ideation will be a pivotal culture shifter in your organization.
When you take an agile approach to branding or rebranding, you make small changes. Test innovative marketing ideas on select groups of people. Measure the outcomes by looking at the data. Then expand those efforts out to the larger brand.
More immediate positive reinforcement for their ideas encourages more ideas. And if an idea fails, there’s less downside. There’s no blame or shame, which can devastate a marketing department for weeks or months. They just keep innovating, learning from their mistakes and growing that brand.
Social Media Engagement
What does your brand look like on social media? Things can change overnight and your team may have a day or less to capitalize on a social media trend. But is your team following the trends? Are you giving them the tools they need to be successful at these intangible parts of their job?
Find Better Channels for New Ideas
Before we talk about the type of content, let’s talk about the channels.
If you’re constantly engaged with your marketing team about social media, this section isn’t for you. But if you are more of a “preach the rules” type of motivator, listen closely. We talked earlier about locking the status quo away from your marketing team. That’s important when it comes to social media as well. We are in one of, if not the top, most visually appealing industries on the planet. Furniture and home furnishings are beautiful and inspirational. So much so that HGTV became a leading channel for most families and DIYers in the country. So how often are you looking at new channels to showcase this part of your brand? Many of you are on Instagram. Why? Is it because your dealers are on Instagram and engage with you through DMs? Probably not. It’s because your end consumers are on Instagram (and on it all the time). Maybe you have other reasons for being on Instagram but it’s a perfect example for many of you.
If you’re not on the growing channel, ask your team about it. Do an entire brand social audit to see what channels you’re using and what ones you should try out. In most cases, there is a cheerleader with innovative marketing ideas in the background afraid to stand up with the new ideas. By creating the culture of innovation we mentioned earlier, this should subside.
How to Shake Up Your Content
It’s important to consistently track your social media analytics so that you know what content performs best. This helps you create more relevant, shareable, helpful, evergreen content on a daily basis. But, also, give your team the flexibility to create one-off pieces of content around home furnishing trends and happenings.
These trends may come in the form of:
- News stories
- Celebrity endorsements (for you or a competitor)
- Increased Interest in movements which may ebb and flow
- Home-buying trends
This is not to suggest that you start creating content around totally unrelated industries, topics or trends. But the most innovative marketing ideas often come from outside your own industry. A creative person can take something that’s popular elsewhere and adapt it to your brand.
This helps you increase visibility among your target audience on social media and give those who follow a reason to engage with you. If you have a post that performs well, then consider increasing the visibility of that post by promoting it to a target audience on that platform. That’s just one more value-driven step you can take to grow your brand.
Ready for Innovative Marketing Ideas?
To encourage data-driven creativity among your marketing team members, think agile, scalable and customizable. Evaluate your current processes to see what’s working. Ensure you’re collecting sufficient data to make decisions. But also have systems in place to aggregate and analyze that data so that you can make more informed decisions.
To implement low-risk, high-quality marketing strategies, think small and incremental over big and expensive. Enhance creative flow among marketing staff by reducing the risk-aversion associated with monstrous campaigns.
We help furniture manufacturers bridge the gap between themselves and dealers to increase market share. We do this by helping you evaluate your options and customize solutions that both deliver results now and can be scaled into the future. To learn more about how we can help you implement agile marketing strategies, schedule a consultation.