Tuesday, February 17, 2009

More on Culture - Controlling your Reality

To continue last week’s thought on culture in an events marketing organization, I’d like to delve into the culture and dynamics – and how to control them – on a marketing manager’s level. Ironically enough, a couple of days ago there was a question I answered on LinkedIn that was a perfect lead-in: a person querying as to the level of autonomy a marketing manager typically gets to produce their own work. The scenario was a common one – multiple rounds of edits, perceived lack of support and micromanagement from upper management, and, overall … frustration.

Last week I discussed ways to address these results from a top-down approach – for those on the front lines I’d suggest a few key behaviors and strategies to create a positive environment:

Know your content: Typically the marketing manager is not providing content – there are either internal or external (or a combination thereof) individuals responsible for that. But if you are marketing it, learn it to the best of your ability. Come to meetings prepared to discuss themes, issues, speakers and sessions with knowledge. This will absolutely increase your value to the project in the eyes of others. I’m not suggesting becoming a content guru – but get your hands around it.

Develop a timeline: You know your optimal drop dates. You know how long it takes things to get done. Work backward and develop your timeline – including respectful and ample time for individuals to review and comment. In that vein, do take the bull by the horns …

…Manage your process: Tableset expectations. Let people know when they can expect to review, when you need it back, and that once back in hand, you will circulate FYI copy.

Communicate, communicate, communicate: Frankly one of the key skills I’ve had to polish over the years, but one of the most important. Outwardly communicate pertinent information about the campaign, trending, production process, etc. to the team on a regular basis. Communicate issues and concerns to your supervisor – they are there and paid to tackle larger issues; let them do their job.

In a nutshell, in the fast, multi-task pace of events marketing, it is your responsibility to gain respect of the team, which will benefit you both short and long-term. Gain respect through showing interest and knowledge, demonstrating process and management skills in the context of the campaign, and communicating both cross-functionally and vertically.

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