Look at the tweet below. Why is the headline on this tweet by Spencer Stuart, “Majority of marketing leaders want to see data-and analysis-driven decision marketing on their teams” and not “Majority of marketing leaders want to see more creative thinking and exploration on their teams?”
Statistically speaking, both are the same. Yet Spencer Stuart emphasized the data/analytic decision marking. But why? “Combine Fun, Passion and Excitement” with “Decision and Bold Action” and you have a solid argument for changing the marketing team’s culture to “Exploration and Creative Thinking.”
On the flip side, only 5 percent of marketing wants a culture of “Planning, Caution and Being Thoughtful.” Amen, brother. I hear you. If it was “fun,” they would call it “play” and not work. But maybe we need a little more play at work after all.
According to Peter Gray, a professor at Boston College and author of Free to Learn, ”play” can be the key that unlocks the mindset of bold creative thinking. In an article on Psychology Today, Gray says that the “alert but unstressed condition” of a playful mind has been shown repeatedly, in psychological experiments, to be ideal for creativity and learning new skills.
“Experiments have shown that strong pressure to perform well (which induces a non-playful state) improvesperformance on tasks that are mentally easy or habitual for the person, but worsens performance on tasks that require creativity, or conscious decision making, or the learning of new skills.” Although accountants may perform well under pressure, it could be a creativity killer for marketers.
One could conclude then, if an organization too narrowly focuses on “analysis and data driven decision making,” it may come at the expense of “Exploration and Creative Thinking” mentioned in the research and tweet. Said differently, all work and no play could make your marketers dull.
Pressure to perform in business marketing is a given, so how do you strike a healthy balance? Stephanie Anderson, chief marketing officer of Time Warner Cable’s business division, suggested that by “focusing on business results first, ensuring that you have a way to show the business impact of marketing activities, you’ll have the foundation in place in order to inject a fun and creativity into the workplace.”
Scott Gillum – President, gyro Washington, D.C.
Scott Gillum has been the CMO of an INC 500 firm and the interim CMO at a Fortune 500 company. Currently, he leads the Channel Marketing practice and the Washington, D.C. office of gyro, a Top 50 global advertising agency. Prior to joining gyro, he spent a dozen years with MarketBridge, providing sales and marketing consulting services to Fortune 500 companies.
His blog, B2B Knowledge Sharing, has been recognized as a top Business-to-Business site, distributing content to a number of online publications. He has also been published in Forbes, Advertising Age, Fortune, Media Post and the Sales Blog. In addition, Gillum is a contributing author to the following books on marketing: Advice from the Top: The Expert Guide to B2B Marketing, PR News Guidebook, andTransformational Marketing: The Best of the Forbes CMO Network.
Follow him @sgillum