4 Common Sense Tips for Marketers

It’s easy for marketers to get entangled in Big Data, technology, and complicated algorithms. But often the best marketing ideas are the simplest ones. As CMO and SVP of marketing at MassMutual Retirement Services, Heather Smiley is responsible for finding those not-so-complicated ideas. “They pay me for common sense,” Smiley says. “Those are the most brilliant ideas that we get.”

Here are Smiley’s four common sense tips that every marketer should follow.

1. Do more of what works and less of what doesn’t

If you make sure that you know what works and do more of that, you’ll have success to build on—it sounds really simple, but it’s my overall approach to running a marketing organization. It’s great to try things, and not everyone works out, but if you don’t have any failures you can’t really say that you’ve explored all options.

If something doesn’t work, stop doing it.

2. Go with the data

Marketing is something that everybody has opinions about. You have to have an opinion as a marketer to try something. But, ultimately, data trumps opinion.

3. Go big or go home

If you’re going to do something, be big, bold, and brave about it. You can pilot something, but if something is worth doing, then it’s worth doing big. It’s better to do fewer things that are really impactful than do the peanut butter spread of things where you’re not sure what the overall impact is.

4. Give your people more of what they’re great at and less of what they’re not

MMRS has a specific meeting each year where we sit and talk about people’s relative skill sets. Did we see anything in anybody that would warrant changing his current position or moving him to a different position so that we can capitalize on that strength? Teasing out the talents of various types of people who work in your organization is essential. It goes to effectiveness of the organization and to employee satisfaction. People like to do what they’re great at, and they don’t like to do what they’re not great at.

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