Most people and most companies do not like change. Organizations fear change and the unknown. People are uneasy with uncertainty and ambiguity. People like normalcy and predictability. This corporate and organizational mindset is a challenge for the marketing superstar. The marketing superstar is responsible for spurring prudent change that gets the company to adapt to ever-evolving markets and fickle customers.
Whereas “managers” hate ambiguity, great marketers deal with the ambiguous all the time. The marketing superstar leads the company through uncertain times and takes away corporate doubt.
The marketing superstar must convince the organization to do something new or different, such as launching a new product. Sometimes, the marketing superstar must convince each and every part of the organization to do something that the organization may not want to do, or is not able to do, or is not ready to do. Something new to the organization, any change, means extra work for people in the organization. “New” means new tasks, requiring new approaches, new thinking, new skills. “New” means investing precious resources without a certain return. “New” means risk.
Resistance to a new way is often based on valid reasoning. There are always competing points of view, legitimate and flawed. There are always hidden concerns and hidden agendas. There are always risk-averse, prudent people who insist more on facts and more assurance before they will commit.
The marketing superstar treats his or her idea as a product to be sold. The customers are the people in the organization. The superstar does the homework, gets the facts, shows the economic gain represented by the idea, and shows the consequences of not going ahead. The superstar anticipates all objections to the idea and carefully plans on how to neutralize the varying concerns. The superstar works one-on-one, behind the scene, to get agreement. The superstar makes public presentations to galvanize support.
The marketing superstar does not get mad if the idea is challenged or rejected. He or she sees rejection as a request for more facts. The superstar doesn’t sulk; he or she sells inside.
The marketing superstar knows there are three ultimate outcomes:
- The company will do nothing and suffer the consequences;
- The company will execute the initiative and will fail; or
- The company will execute the initiative and succeed. The marketing superstar also knows that everyone will take some or all credit for success (which is fine), but no one will take responsibility for inaction or faulty execution.
To get the organization to enthusiastically adopt and execute, the marketing superstar exhibits levels of confidence that exceeds levels of certainty. The marketing superstar understands the marketing risk associated with getting the organization to take on something new. The superstar also knows that risk is reduced with homework, fact-based thinking, creative planning, and meticulous attention to the execution of every detail. To get that cooperation, the superstar sells inside.
The marketing superstar gets cooperation and buy-in by being a sell-guy, not a tell guy.”
First, sell inside to get the company to sell outside.