Note: This blog was originally published on 20 May 2016. It has been updated.
If you run often, you’ll know that feeling: you have your familiar tools: water bottle, headphones, sports watch and trainers. All the things that are part part of a regular routine. It does change, but carefully. It’s the same thing for the modern chief marketing officer (CMO).
As a runner, you can quickly spot newbies by their odd equipment and lack of direction; it's the same for marketing.
Whether you’re in a sprint for a new product launch or the marathon slog of gaining market share, here are some tools we think give CMOs a head start.
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Being creative and producing great work, is not and never will be the result of standing still. It is about changing perspective: change where you are, what you see and who you talk to.
Granted, it would be easier for businesses to keep everyone under one roof. That's how you manage people, ensure productivity and build a company culture, right?
No! Culture is not the same as location. This is beautifully illustrated by Buffer's current commitment to no-office virtual working. Work is a thing you do not a place you go to.
Once you acknowledge this, you open yourself to the wonderful question: can I get my work done from anywhere? At RedPixie we see this as a given thanks to universal cloud tools which mean that you can get things done, no matter what device or country (VPN sold separately)!
With this in mind, we see three aspirational 'locations' for the modern marketer.
A place for ideas
Ideas are one of the most beneficial, but at times, some of the most inconvenient things about marketing. Chief Marketing Officer's are always thinking, finding different perspectives, using ‘that’ for the next campaign. The problem is: where does those thoughts go?
As can be seen from a bounty of thoughts, keeping them in your brain is not a good answer. You need a way to capture your thoughts as well as nurture them.
Getting them onto something digital - from experience, there is no universal, almighty note-taking application. It depends on the way you work.
•Evernote is great for just storing anything, its structure is a bit flimsy, but it has search at its core and overall it’s a good platform. The important thing to note is that it’s in the cloud. It works on your phone, tablet, PC, and so you’re not relying on the one notebook. Let’s not forget, ideas come from everywhere, and anytime – you don’t want to take a Moleskine notebook to a dinner party, but now it could be on your phone, and always in sync.
• OneNote is another great solution, it works well with the rest of the office suite, so it’s perfect for anyone who is friendly with Office 365. OneNote is also super organised so it’s very easy to find things, share things and keep everything tidy, whether that’s drawings, notes, checklists or images.
‘We could post this. We should respond to that. This would be clever.’
Cloud apps like Buffer and Hootsuite break down the barriers of location. You can something there and then on your phone or laptop. That’s the real beauty: it’s about letting you to be fully productive, and not letting 1990s problems hold you back.
Marketing starts with awareness. You need to take in what’s around you. That’s why you need the ability to curate ideas. You don’t print things off at the office and then have to carry around clippings in a briefcase anymore. Instead use applications like Feedly and Pocket.
Not only does consuming content get easier in the cloud, but it goes with you wherever you are, and gives you the ability to do things like search, and run IFTTT scripts, that are impossible if you’re not embracing new technology.
Putting ideas into actions
So you’ve got these ideas, but you need to be able to put them into an action plan – so next up, you need an electronic to-do list. Fortunately, there are many to choose from, with Wunderlist and Todoist being two of our favourites.
With them you have the ability to literally just pick up any device and check what’s next. More importantly for teams, they create an easy way to see how people are doing on projects.
This avoids the unnecessary need for weekly status reports and unnecessary meetings. It also means that you can use analytics and be more aware on how you are spending your resources.
A place for sharing
Creating is one this, but sharing in a logical sense is really impossible without the use of the cloud.
Sharing is a bit ambiguous, so let us be clear, we firstly mean your work. Imagine you have just created a blog or have a company update. This is where using tools like Yammer and Slack are perfect because they let you to engage with people, comment, and replace tiresome emails with fluid, real-time conversations.
As a modern CMO in the cloud you acknowledge that you need a larger platform for your content, whether that to be to share internally or externally, you need your hub.
Again, like note-taking applications, there is no ‘one-size fits all’. There is a variety of products that have their merits depending on what you wish to do with them. There are amazing tools like BaseCamp that let you manage files, communicate, all linked through one core web channel.
You no longer have to scan through scrolls of pages to get that monthly report, it’s all organised and instantly available. There are also great solutions like SharePoint, which, as part of the Microsoft Cloud Platform, is a game changer. It’s more than a file library. From rights management to version control, it beats any filing cabinet or shared drive for document management.
If you find yourself in a team that embraces cloud technology, you will understand its impact on how you work.
Being able to work in complete tandem, and stop the ridiculous back and forth emails is a revelation.
Especially in marketing, there is always an opinion. Someone always has a suggestion, this makes it easy to see their point of view – and decide whether or not to use it!
The last the most important place is one where you get information. Getting information in an organised, and time efficient manner is really essential in being productive, and developing your work.
From a day-to-day point of view dialogue is essential. It lets you build a collaborative culture with creative water-cooler moments.
However, there are tasks, such as writing, which need a calm, quiet atmosphere. That is why this arena of technology is rapidly exploding, with tools like Skype and Slack which let you share your availability and give people different ways to stay in touch without always interrupting.
The last reasons to ask: when you want to know a group of people’s thoughts. Tools like Typeform are just excellent at getting a grip of how people do things, and that type of information - like all cloud data, it is easily shareable, storable, and accessible.
The right tools for the job
The modern Chief Marketing Officer needs modern tools to get their job done.
These tools are getting smarter and more collaborative as they move to the cloud but that means that marketing companies need to review and refresh their toolset regularly. What worked a few years ago may leave you at a competitive disadvantage today.
What tools are you using to make yourself more creative, productive and collaborative? Comment below...