As we enter the end of the Third Quarter 2017, I've spoken to many CEOs and CMOs alike that have become increasingly wary of increasing budgeting prospects in marketing and hiring for the remainder of the year. If they are smart, they will consider new approaches that will pay big dividends thanks to these innovators.
With the current macroeconomic climate in mind, many fear that this may change the entire business climate, on top of that England's exit from the EU may cause a trade deficit worldwide, and to put a cherry on top there have been behemoth startups that have gone under.
Unfortunately, as any good marketing maven knows, marketing is the first to get its throat cut, which means CMOs must get down and dirty to get the most bang for their buck. Sometime this doesn't directly correlate with the amount of marketing dollars being spent but rather the technique behind it.
Below are many ways to do it from the perspectives of some of the industry's most creative minds. I asked them a simple question, "How do you foster growth and innovation within your company?"
1. Allow the hungry to lead
According to Ashish Goel, CEO & Co-Founder of Urban Ladder you must highlight people in your organization who are problem solvers and cultivate problem solving as a core value. Look for those who are hungry and feed em more projects to lead.
Urban Ladder seeks out driven individuals with a strong need to create and foster innovation. "We look for innovation in all aspects whether its product, design, logistics or technology. It's built into our DNA and is a conscious way of life. Through different programs and channels, we foster and encourage the entrepreneurial spirit. One such program is the UL Next platform which aims to empower our team members to broaden their learning horizon and work on interesting, unsolved problems", said Goel.
Founders and mentors work closely with team members on special projects. The innovations that emerge help individuals as well as the organization to create many innovative solutions
2. Constantly challenge your assumptions
Johan Hedin, Managing Director of Marketing Ignite believes that nothing is too sacred to question.
"Because the digital marketing industry is constantly changing, we always pay attention to new technologies and test, test, test new strategies all the time to further the growth and results for our clients. This is the major key for our growth since 1999. Second, by challenging everything we do in our organization we can also improve and strive for excellence. Third, by over delivering to our clients and providing high quality, we get many referrals which is the best marketing strategy for our business."
One big area to challenge assumptions is how much capital you need to succeed. Pete Maughan, founder of Bright Bankrupt believes that sometimes a scarcity of capital resource can propel innovation in a growing company.
"Debt in a startup is a double-edged sword because it can be something that accelerates growth, but as you feel the afterburners from cash injection, you could fail to notice that it is stifling innovation. Too much easy money makes things too easy. For example, you could be tempted to hire headhunters to find talent. But instead of turning constantly to others to bring you outside talent, a well designed talent development program will help you find the most loyal and turn them into your next generation of leadership in the company."
3. Build a culture of life-long learning
Nirav Dave, Founder & CEO of ProDesigns believes in the compounding power of a self-aware workforce that grows personally as part of their daily effort.
In our interview he said, "I personally believe in the positively rejuvenating company culture where everyone can enhance their potential to the maximum. I always make sure, they come every day to achieve something much larger than the existence of any individual. In our company, everyone is part of growth & strategy. We invite, encourage & reward those who get out of their mental barrier. We have received the most outlier ideas from unexpected team members who helped us to harness aggressive growth in global branding industry. As a result, our combined enthusiasm & passion drives much higher profitability than the industry standard."
4. Revel in being the contrarian
Oliver Isaacs, Founder of Amirite isn't afraid to go against the grain as a force mechanism to spur innovation amongst his people.
"I believe that being able to innovate and think outside the box is no longer optional, but essential. There will always be fierce competition, now more than ever whatever industry you're in, whether it be the tech industry, finance, or E-Commerce so I think it's important to always think differently and innovate, sometimes even going as far as taking a contrarian position. Based on my past experiences building startups from scratch and seeking funding from investors, sometimes I think it's better to go against the mainstream and proceeding with unorthodox business strategies and ideas can help differentiate yourself from the competition."
5. Make communication a priority
Lastly, In order to get the most out of your team you must invest the time and effort into communicating across the organizational chart and measure frequently how well your lines of communication are understood as intended.
Trevor James Gormley, The Millenial View said, "Some of the world's greatest problems are rooted in communication. Today's fast paced world can hinder out ability to see the truth. We strategically improve the lines of communication and execution to better understand the Millennial consumer and employee."
Another CEO Alex Silensky, of OGScapital Business Plans adds that "We believe in unearthing rare gems in the mode of raw talents. And a CEO must have this firmly rooted in his leadership. Most of the world's problem hovers around bad communication. Our modern world can indeed hinder our potential to see the truth. We strive to strategically improve communication and execution to better understand the Millennial employee and customer."
So the takeaway to doing more with less is to hire hungry people who aren't afraid of being challenged to questions their assumptions and live outside their comfort zone, while cultivating a culture of learning and contrarian thinking while be committed to value clear team-wide communication of the strategy with checks and balances as a core habit.