It used to be that a consistent set of skills and a standard career path meant your work life journey would be fairly predictable. Not today. No marketer can afford to be trapped in routine and afraid of risk. Entrepreneurs know that we must be far more agile. A willingness to reinvent yourself, your department, your mindset is what it will take to thrive in this post-Recession economy. In fact, I think this is the single most important characteristic for marketers to personify.
Five years ago GMAC Bank reinvented itself as Ally Bank. It was more than a new name and new look. They redefined their character to escape a declining image and align with customer’s perceptions of the TARP-tarnished industry. They changed structure, modified products and evolved.
Reinvention isn’t always about such an extreme makeover. Sometimes it is more about adding on, than taking away. As an example, the genesis of social media marketing (remember, Facebook is only 10 years old) pushed many in our industry to expand their skill set and learn entirely new ways to network or interact with customers. Some even reconstituted their careers. That is a form of reinvention. With that in mind, here’s what I’d suggest:
Action Steps for the Marketing Entrepreneur:
1. Observe your habits and routines and ask yourself if there is a better way to get the job done. Periodically, break from your everyday schedule and try a different approach. And make time to observe trends from outside the industry that influence your customer’s experiences and expectations. The awareness you achieve makes reinvention possible.
2. Entrepreneurs know their strengths, and weaknesses. In order to reinvent yourself you have to identify the shortcomings that need attention. What do you need to help position you or your institution for future success? What processes aren’t giving you the result you expect? Look honestly at what needs improvement. Ask for some peer feedback.
3. Don’t be afraid to fail. If you take bold steps to reinvent yourself or your marketing efforts, failure is a possibility. But as Winston Churchill once said, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal.”