5 Ways to Overcome Marketing Groupthink - Access Marketing Company

5 Ways to Overcome Marketing Groupthink

The marketing meeting is a sacred place—a platform for ideas, brainstorming and creativity. All too often, meetings are carried by the most influential personality in the room, or those same meetings get lost in the sea of “to dos” where no one has enough mental bandwidth to contribute. We’ve seen these things happen at our agency, and we drink our own Kool Aid when it comes to making a collective effort to reduce groupthink whenever possible.

The problem is, when one idea prevails over the others, it can undercut your powers of collaboration and creativity, consequently hurting your brand, quality output and even in-house morale. Luckily, with intentional focus, you can prevent groupthink in your sales and marketing teams. Follow these steps to recognize and reduce groupthink and build a culture of collaboration and diversity of thought.

5 Steps to Limit Groupthink

  1. Create a welcoming environment

Encourage, or even require, EVERYONE to offer input. In return, cultivate an expressive atmosphere with psychological safety, where ideas are supported. Too many employees keep their mouths shut in fear that their ideas will be shot down or result in no action.

  1. Spark engagement

One way to encourage ideas is to literally raise the flag. In our case, we raise cards. We come into meetings with cards that each have open ended questions/phrases. Some cards say, “Tell me more about that.” Others say, “That’s interesting; please elaborate.” You can raise the card as someone is conveying an idea to indicate your interest in learning more.

  1. Set clear expectations

Team members may not feel comfortable throwing out off-the-wall ideas if a meeting isn’t couched as a creative brainstorming session. Likewise, a brainstorming session may not be the best setting to poke holes in ideas and talk about logistics.

To help with this, send an agenda out in advance and list the areas where you’ll be seeking input. That gives people time to prepare and not feel “put on the spot” in the meeting. Also, table spin-off discussions during the meeting for a later date, allowing your team the appropriate forum to accomplish specific objectives in clearly defined forums.

  1. Empower team members to take ownership

It’s understandable that many business leaders like to keep a close eye on employees to prevent projects from going off track. However, employees can become too reliant on this level of oversight, perceiving it as a safety net for mistakes and permission to not take independent initiative. Encourage ownership and independence by empowering team members to take risks, own mistakes and carry projects over the finish line.

  1. Reward effort and celebrate positive results

According to Gallup, highly engaged teams show 21% greater profitability. If you’re seeing collaboration success in the form of revenue, invest some of those funds back into your team. Provide reward incentives to boost engagement, collaboration and employee satisfaction to drive even more success. Even simple verbal recognition goes a long way in cultivating an atmosphere of ever-increasing productivity and collaboration.

  1. Utilize outside resources

Perspective is a valuable thing—it’s vital to developing meaningful marketing that drives opportunities for sales. If you’re not leveraging consultants, agency partnerships and channel resources, we highly recommend combining forces with experts who understand your business and goal set. An outside perspective allows you to gauge whether your creative efforts are delivering the message and results you intend.

More Ways to Curb Groupthink

If you’re concerned about the dangers of groupthink at your company, or would like additional ideas to consider, download our full whitepaper, Groupthink: How This Phenomenon Could Be Killing Your Marketing.


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