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What’s your marketing team’s charter? February 22, 2013

Posted by Mike Gospe in Leadership, Marketing Operations.
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One of the biggest challenges marketers face is in setting expectations with their internal “customers.” Unnecessary friction results when marketers and sales managers don’t understand the hand-off points between the two organizations. Or even when marketing functions don’t agree on the boundaries of their roles. Documenting a team charter goes a long way to aligning all marketers for best success.

What are the primary responsibilities of your marketing team? And what do these words really mean to you and your organization?

  • Marketing strategy
  • Marketing planning
  • Inbound marketing
  • Outbound marketing
  • Lead generation
  • Social media marketing
  • Content marketing
  • Telemarketing
  • Inside sales
  • etc, etc

What are the required inputs your team needs in order to drive successful marketing programs? What outputs will your provide, and to whom, and when? Because the interpretation of any of these common words can vary widely, it’s important to document simply and clearly the marketing team’s charter, value proposition, and roles and responsibilities. The big secret here is that this exercise does not need to be a lengthy one. In fact, it’s a great opportunity for team building and collaboration. Here are a few ideas:

1. Create a shared vision. There are a number of techniques you can use for drafting a charter statement. I like the Mandala Vision exercise (copyrighted by The Grove Consultants International). This wonderful technique invites a marketing team “to see itself whole and discover how everyone’s ideas are really part of a larger common vision.” Using an analogy of a sun breaking through the clouds, this graphical approach puts the team’s charter in the center (the sun). Vision themes are reflected as stars surrounding the sun. Clouds illustrate challenges and opportunities.

2. Clarify roles and responsibilities. Where does the role of the campaign manager start and end, and where do the roles of the marketing functions begin and end? Where is there shared responsibility? Encourage your team to leave their historical baggage at the door. Make this a cross-functional team exercise. The goal is to produce more effective marketing programs, not penalize any one group. We’re talking about finding ways to make everyone’s job run more smoothly, not add workload.

3. Focus on what you can control. If not properly managed, this exercise can quickly turn into a complaint session. That’s not productive for anyone. Instead, we want to encourage everyone to take personal responsibility for actions, behaviors, and expectations they can control. Ask team members to be specific when identifying obstacles that slow down the marketing process. And ask them to indicate what they can do differently to improve the situation and where they need specific assistance from others.

Interactive sessions like this are worthy of an all-day offsite. Or, if your charter is already documented, perhaps an hour refresher is all that’s needed. As a marketing leader for many years, I always enjoyed getting my team together once a year to review and renew our shared commitment to marketing success.

Looking for more information on best practices for building a charter, drop me an email. I’d be delighted to share agendas and ideas I’ve used for success.

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