Lisa Nirell's Marketing Waves Blog

How CMOs Can Make a Dent in Strategy Discussions

Last week, we hosted Nilofer Merchant as our guest at the Marketing Leaders of DC™ meeting. Her newest (3rd) book, The Power of Onlyness: Make Your Wild Ideas Mighty Enough to Dent the World, just launched. What a treat to have her join us from the Bay area!

Nilofer is a former Apple GM and Thinkers50 executive. She is known as “The Jane Bond of Innovation.” Her experience ranges from working with Steve Jobs at Apple to defeating Microsoft in an epic industry battle. She has personally launched more than 100 products that, in total, have netted 18 BILLION dollars.

Here are some photos from the session:

Our Marketing Leaders of DC celebrating Onlyness

Our Marketing Leaders of DC celebrating Onlyness

 

Nilofer and Craig Oldham (photo courtesy of Craig Oldham)

Nilofer and Craig Oldham (photo courtesy of Craig Oldham)

In her book, Nilofer defines Onlyness as “a new way to organize to get new things done.” Leaders who have discovered their Onlyness cross borders and hierarchies. They don’t wait for the perfect time, or for a promotion, or for “someday,” to launch their world-denting ideas.

Nilofer provided many important insights which I believe can trigger fresh thinking around your organization’s purpose and potential. It’s a well-timed topic as we immerse ourselves in 2018 planning.

Here are five nuggets from our private discussion with Nilofer:

  • Effective, innovative movements built on the Onlyness principles are less about plugging people into boxes. It’s more about creating a constellation of people who share the same principles.
  • Many leaders want to give people power, but we don’t want to give them trust.” Whoa. This was a big insight. Nilofer’s book includes an entire chapter to the importance of trust building when you launch a major movement or initiative. She also outlines the 4 essential components of trust building.
  • She told the story of Franklin Leonard, a once junior development executive in Hollywood, who discovered his Onlyness. His “Blacklist” script submission and review program altered the way people vetted and approved Hollywood movies. To date, over 300 “blacklisted” films have been given the green light, including Slumdog Millionaire, Argo, and The King’s Speech. But many would have been passed over without The Blacklist.

The movement started because he asked the right question. Instead of asking filmmakers and producers the traditional marketing research question, “what kind of movies will sell,” he asked “What movies or scripts do you LOVE that haven’t been produced?As marketing leaders, are you asking the right questions about customers and audiences, too?

  • Nilofer predicts that in 10 years, purpose-driven marketing (cause-driven) will be more mainstream than it is today. This is consistent with what we have seen in our CMO communities. In fact, we recently hosted CMO Andy Yost of USA TODAY NETWORKS at one of our gatherings, where he outlined his company’s success in creating purpose-driven marketing initiatives to reach new subscribers and members.
  • The Onlyness mindset requires a distributed decision-making model, NOT a command and control culture. We need to include people from across the customer and stakeholder spectrum in the movement, not just the C-suite.

At our upcoming CLIC (CMOs Leading Innovation Conference), we will be exploring how marketing leaders can overcome innovation resistance. Clarifying and communicating our Onlyness can help us achieve that. When our passion and purpose are clear, and we’re willing to take some calculated risk to achieve that purpose, we are unstoppable.

Copyright 2017, Lisa Nirell. All rights reserved.

Related posts:

Book Review: The Power of Onlyness

Bonus Videos: Overcoming Marketing Innovation Anxiety

Marketing Innovation: Help from Honeybees

No Comments Yet

You can be the first to comment!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get Our Newsletter and Video Tips

Get five bonus gifts when you subscribe to EnergizeNews, our free newsletter that will help you
be a more effective strategic leader and marketer.

captcha
 

We Value Your Privacy

Get five bonus gifts when you subscribe to EnergizeNews, our free newsletter that will help you
be a more effective strategic leader and marketer.

We Value Your Privacy

No Spam

Get five bonus gifts when you subscribe to EnergizeNews, our free newsletter that will help you
be a more effective strategic leader and marketer.

We Value Your Privacy

No Spam