Inbound Marketing for the Overwhelmed CMO

October 9, 2014

Sometimes, the best way to gain traction is to stop.

At this time of year, we spend a lot of time in strategy meetings with clients to help them put together a budget and strategy for meeting their growth targets. After a big brainstorming session, we usually end up with a table full of sticky notes of issues they need to tackle. At this point, they’re either:

1) Excited to get started.

2) Overwhelmed by the issues we’ve uncovered.

3) A little of both.

Some people try to tackle a mountain of projects they can’t finish. Others try to knock out the easy stuff first, but they never get to the critical issues that are eating at their business. We’ve found that these methods only create a confused and floundering marketing campaign.

To effectively tackle the list, you need to decide what you’re NOT going to do. Successful inbound marketing only addresses your highest priorities.

It’s Time to Rock…

To use a term from Gino Wickman’s book Traction, we like to call these priorities “rocks.” Rocks help you break the overwhelming list into bite-sized chunks that are attainable and measurable so you can maintain focus, keep your team aligned and make sustained progress.

Using your corporate vision as a guide, look at the list of issues and ideas you’ve come up with and pick three to five things to focus on for the next 90 days. We like to do this in a quarterly working session with our clients, which usually lasts a couple of hours.

Discuss each issue and ask whether solving it will advance you closer to the long-term company vision. In the course of this discussion, a few things usually become crystal clear, and these become your rocks for the quarter.

Make sure your goals are specific, measurable, and attainable. They also need to have a deadline and an owner who will be accountable for making sure progress is made.

…And Now It’s Time to Roll

Once you’ve defined your Rocks, outline a plan for completing them by the deadline. Each Rock Owner should define 8-10 high-level tasks to be completed, and figure out who needs to be involved in completing these tasks. It’s also a good idea to estimate time and effort so that everyone is on the same page about the investment required, and you don’t bite off more than you can chew!

In marketing, it’s easy to get distracted by cool or creative ideas, so always ask yourself, “What’s the purpose of this task? Will this task or idea get me closer to my goal, or is it just a distraction?”

The key to keeping your rocks rolling is to regularly review progress as a team—especially when rocks are interrelated. Ideally, this should happen on a weekly or biweekly basis in a structured way to make sure you maintain momentum.

When our clients define their rocks and follow this plan for completing them, their marketing campaigns are clear and targeted. They know exactly what to do and why it matters, and they can track their progress toward achieving their company’s vision for marketing and sales success.

Get Your Business Rocking!

Want a marketing campaign that rocks?

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