CMOs face a challenging and fast-paced business environment. Consumer preferences change daily, and new venues for communicating with customers are constantly being developed. To succeed, modern CMOs must respond quickly and effectively.
At CMG Partners, we recognize the importance of marketing agility in a dynamic business environment. As part of our CMO Agenda research, we spoke to marketers who understand the importance of operating an agile marketing department. Among them: Teresa Kroll, chief marketing and entertainment bear at Build-A-Bear Workshop.
Kroll relies on agile practices to create successful and sustainable marketing strategies. Being agile means always remaining focused on the customer—Build-A-Bear Workshop’s sweet spot: 6- to 8-year-olds. As any parent knows, children’s needs change constantly, as does what’s hot, so the marketing strategy for communicating with those children must also change. To keep up, Kroll recognizes the need to constantly incorporate customer feedback into the marketing strategy. Build-A-Bear Workshop communicates directly with store associates, performs surveys, conducts interviews, and monitors social media to gather customer feedback post-purchase.
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This large amount of feedback gives Build-A-Bear Workshop a robust database useful for designing customer communication strategies. Thus, Build-A-Bear Workshop is able to tailor its marketing efforts to any new challenges or difficulties that may arise.
In addition to actively focusing on the customer, Kroll also cited the importance of having a corporate culture that facilitates agile decision-making. “Everyone has to be agile—from the copy writer to the marketing manager to the designer to our TRN team—in order to best understand the frequency of our guests and what communication strategy our guests are responding to, and then react accordingly,” she said.
Kroll also emphasized the role of a company’s DNA, its inherent speed in reacting to new challenges, its natural level of collaboration, and its ability to foster creativity in all employees. Additionally, any agile company must hire people capable of making efficient decisions quickly. This focus on agility and efficiency must span across different departments and projects given that action can be hindered at any stage in the strategy development process.
In order to achieve full-functional agility, Kroll said she strives to foster a relationship between the IT and marketing departments where “one plus one equals 10.” “Culturally we are a very collaborative organization, so, first and foremost, that is the platform of how we get a lot of relevant and meaningful things done,” she said. “We are effective because of the collaboration in varying departments integrate solidly.” Creating a truly agile company means collaborating across all departments and fostering an environment of productive communication.
At CMG Partners, we recognize the importance of agility to any company wanting a competitive advantage in its industry (read related article, "Is 'Agile' Your Missing Link?"). Take our survey on agility to take part in our upcoming CMO’s Agenda, in which we discuss the role of agility in marketing strategy, and the emergence of Agile—a problem solving methodology which focuses on breaking complex problems into manageable actions—from the software industry into marketing strategy.