5 Ways CMOs Could Tidy Up Their Marketing – The Marie Kondo Way

5 Ways CMOs Could Tidy Up Their Marketing – The Marie Kondo Way

March 5, 2019
4 min read

Unless you have been living under a rock, you have heard all the talk about Marie Kondo and her TV show “Tidying Up” on Netflix. Each episode of the show introduces us to someone who has a lot of clutter in their home.

Marie guides the messy people to get rid of their clutter and “find joy” in their lives. Marie is part of, if not a leader in a movement towards a more simple lifestyle.

Now if Marie Kondo were to walk into your CEO’s office and ask them if your Marketing Strategy work brings them joy, what do you think they would say?

My guess is the answer may induce panic and a sudden urge to update your resume and LinkedIn profile.

I feel your pain. Chief Marketing Officers are not having a good time at work these days. Between a rapidly changing digital landscape and a misalignment about expectations and goals with your CEO, one thing is clear: top marketing professionals are not bringing their bosses joy.

Using Marie Kondo’s Konmari method as inspiration, I’m giving you a list of the five ways CMOs can spark joy in themselves and in their bosses.

Quick Takeaways:

  • 2018 saw a major shift in top marketing roles at major brands.
  • 80% of senior management lack joy in their role. It’s not much better for lower level employees, 88% of who are dissatisfied.
  • CMOs need to ask themselves WHY they’ve chosen the life and work styles that they have.
  • Identifying your goals and getting specific about how they relate to your customers creates a win-win situation for everyone.

Why CMOs Are Having a Difficult Time

Last year, an unusually high number of well-known brands underwent a change in their top marketing role.

Spencer Stuart’s study “2018: The Year of the CMO Shuffle” explores several potential reasons:

  • Misalignment between the CEO and CMO on the mission and timeline of the marketing strategies
  • Unrealistic expectations for the CMO to be able to inspire creativity and logic while dealing with a shifting organizational culture
  • Lack of time spent on defining priorities for the CMO

Here are some steps to “declutter” this issue.

1. “Does This Role Bring Me Joy?”

Given that the marketing world is evolving rapidly, it is important that you ask yourself if the industry in which your business operates and markets brings you joy.

In 2014, Deloitte released a detailed study about the role passion plays in the workplace. 88% of employees do not find joy in their work. Even worse, the report found that 80% of senior managers feel the same way about their work.

If you and other senior management are not finding joy in your work, it will be tough to encourage your employees and even more so your boss. As it becomes more and more imperative for employees to be their company’s best marketers, this is the first step in decluttering your role as CMO.

2. Respect Your Belongings, I Mean, Customers

The Konmari method stresses the importance of treating your belongings with respect. For example, your socks and stockings must be folded a certain way.

Kondo explains in her book that this is important because when they are in your dresser, they are essentially on holiday.

“They take a brutal beating in their daily work, trapped between your foot and your shoe, enduring pressure and friction to protect your precious feet. The time they spend in your drawer is their only chance to rest.”

When it comes to your role as CMO, your company’s success depends on how well your customers are treated. The modern day customer journey is no longer linear and can have hundreds of touch points. For each touch point, your customer expects a seamless experience across multiple platforms. Engaging with your brand shouldn’t cause friction between you and them, it should make them feel like they’re on a holiday.

3. Automate Your Content Marketing All At Once

Kondo recommends that when you start using the Konmari method to clean your home, you should do it all at once.

While it takes a quick Google search to read the snarky comments about this suggestion, implementing content marketing automation will help you do your job more effectively. From content ideation to email campaigns and analytics, there are many tools on the market that can save you time, effort, and money.


4. Visualize Your Goals

Before throwing anything out, Kondo recommends you visualize your ideal lifestyle. This is also a good strategy for you to implement in your role as CMO.

While I don’t discourage you visualizing success in your role, make sure it’s in line with your company’s goals. This will provide the structure you need to implement your content marketing campaigns. It will also help you determine what KPIs need to be monitored. Having these details in place before you go to your CEO to ask for a budget will not only bring your boss joy, it will make you a rock star.

The Konmari method asks you to be specific with your goals and I do, too.

Example: “I want this landing page to nurture 30% more leads next month.”

5. Identify Your Why

After each visualization, Kondo asks you to dive deeper. For each way you visualize yourself living, you have to ask yourself 3 to 5 times why exactly you want that lifestyle.

Maybe it’s so you feel comfortable inviting people over to your home. Why is that important to you? What will it bring?

I, too, recommend diving deeper in your role as CMO in order to identify your Why. But this time it’s not about what you present to your boss in order to get budget approval. It’s about how you approach your customers and solve their problems.

How Can I Help You Spark Joy at Work?

From clients who do not understand today’s marketing world to bosses with vague expectations, I know how difficult it can be for CMOs. I have been in the role 3 times and currently par-timing one. However, it doesn’t have to such a tough slog.

If you’re looking to de-clutter your content marketing strategy, Contact us today to see how we can help you spark joy in your CMO role.

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Michael Brenner

Michael Brenner is an international keynote speaker, author of "Mean People Suck" and "The Content Formula", and Founder of Marketing Insider Group. Recognized as a Top Content Marketing expert and Digital Marketing Leader, Michael leverages his experience from roles in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, as well as his leadership in leading teams and driving growth for thriving startups. Today, Michael delivers empowering keynotes on marketing and leadership, and facilitates actionable workshops on content marketing strategy. Connect with Michael today.

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