Get out of your comfort zone, become a Marketer who can innovate

Become a Marketer that can Innovate

Step Out Your Comfort Zone

Innovation is becoming increasingly important. The pace of change in digital is increasing. The financial imperative to innovate is increasing. In order to retain your customers that you’ve already got, you need to innovate. What we’re challenging you to do is to step out of your comfort zone and become the head of digital innovation for your organisation. I think that’s a really important opportunity for us as digital marketers to think beyond our day-to-day. We need to consider the wider context of what we’re doing in digital, and why that matters to the customer, but also importantly, why it matters to the business too.

“Stop thinking about what it is you want to create and why it is you want to create it”

I’m more of a creative person and the bit that I would really encourage people to embrace is the design thinking and the innovation thinking, because it really stretches your brain muscle. It gets you thinking about what you are doing in a completely different way. It forces you to stop thinking about what it is you want to create and why it is you want to create it, and who the customer really is. It really forces you to emphasise and be very customer-centric. As digital marketers, we all think we’re customer-centric, but I think what this teaches me more than ever is that actually sometimes I’m not. This process that we’re going through is actually forcing me to take a good, hard look at how I approach the development of my own work. It’s incredible.

Invest In Yourself

“It makes success a lot more likely than it would be”

The most critical thing is that innovation, and particularly digital innovation, is no longer the Wild West that it used to. It used to be pretty unstructured. It used to not be terribly evidence-based. The thing that has really happened in the last 10 – 15 years is it’s become very structured. There are some tools and techniques and frameworks now that make this a systematic process.

It doesn’t guarantee success. Nothing can guarantee success in terms of innovation. What it does do is it makes success a lot more likely than it would be if you took an unstructured, intuitive, subjective approach to it. It really is worthwhile understanding the tried and tested and evolved methods that have been used by thousands of people around the world, thousands of innovators who made a great deal of money. Using their experience means you don’t have to make the same mistakes they did.

“Recruiters are looking for people that can apply knowledge with evidence and data”

I would echo what Mike’s just said there. What I would add to it is, from my own personal experience about coming back into higher education after over 20 years as a marketer, is that it was about specialisation. It was about demonstrating that I’d reached a point in my career where I was in a position to consult with others, that I had not only the applied knowledge but that I also had the theoretical and the structured frameworks in order to be able to advise in a structured and evidence way, and also in an articulate way as well. When high-level recruiters today are looking for high-level executives in the realms of digital, what they’re looking for is people that can apply knowledge with evidence and can really structure an argument based on data, data that they have gathered in a primary sense, data that they have gathered in a secondary sense. Therefore, they’re in a position, a much stronger position, to articulate and hold credibility within an organisation. I think that’s really important.

Commitment and Growth Mindset

I love the expression that if you want something done, ask a busy person. The key there for me is that busy people tend to have a commitment to do stuff, and they very rarely put it off till tomorrow. They typically grasp it, get on with it, and get it done. I think there’s something really to be said about just making a commitment and having a commitment mindset. We can all think about stuff, we can all decide tomorrow, we can all put it off, but if you want to actually get stuff done, commit, get on with it.

If I think about my own career and how I’ve taken action, I think it’s based on two principles. One is the fact that I’m an extremely curious person, so I’m not one to sit back and leave every stone unturned. The second one is because I’ve always come from a growth mindset point of view. There’s a little bit of gut feel thrown in there as well. When you’re making the decision about coming onto a Masters, then you will know. You will be a curious person because you’re already looking. You will be open to the possibilities, and that’s where the growth mindset comes in. Then what it comes down to is does this feel right? Is this the right time for me? If it does, do it. Don’t procrastinate. Sign up.