I recently thought of this old joke.
Two hikers walk around a bend in the trail and come face to face with an angry bear. One hiker drops to his knee, fetches his running shoes from his backpack, and laces them up. The other hiker says, “There is no way you’ll outrun that bear.” The kneeling hiker stands up: “I don’t have to be faster than the bear. I only have to be faster than you.”
I’ve noticed a fascinating trend where marketing teams lace up their running shoes to out-innovate their peers within their companies. But in the long run, they don’t outrun the bear.
Five years ago, we worked with a Fortune 500 financial services company. This year, we are working with the same company on a new content strategy project. As I relayed our previous project’s activities – and how successful that team had been – to the marketing director, she was confused and asked who was on the team. She laughed when I shared the names and said, “I remember them. They were a fast-moving team. Most of them are gone now, but this is the first time I’ve ever heard the details of that project.”
But that’s not the first time I’ve heard that scenario.
Are you outrunning yourselves?
I frequently encounter people from large companies where the innovation gap between marketing teams is wide. I hear things like, “Oh, yes, that team is innovative in its approach to [fill in the blank with some marketing approach]. But the rest of our marketing is still antiquated.”
It fascinates me. When you read case studies or hear at a conference about some company’s innovation of a new content platform or cool marketing strategy, you believe the whole company leans into that strategy. You assume they integrated that innovation throughout the company. You picture the CMO kicking their heels and nodding with satisfaction, “Yes, I approved of that strategy.”
But the truth is, most of these organizations fail to integrate the innovative approach across marketing, and the rest of the organization doesn’t even know it exists. As the “bear” of evolving strategies chases the business, one part of marketing may simply be outrunning its “friends” – the other parts of marketing and the business.
Read this article:
By: Robert Rose
Publication Date: 2023-04-25