Marketing and the wisdom of multiple perspectives

marketing wisdom multiple perspectives

A few weeks ago my colleagues and I were strolling down the beautiful brick streets of Amsterdam just as the sun was about to set. We'd spent the day at a conference—absorbing insights from speakers, talking to potential customers, and meeting existing customers.

This evening was our time to get out for a bit, reflect upon the day, and enjoy a dinner together. As the streets were unfamiliar to us, and because they were lined with interesting boutique shops, we were either casting our gaze down at our feet or up into shop windows.

Then one of us pointed out how slanted the houses in front of us were. They really were leaning in toward us, but only one of us had casted our gaze slightly higher than the shop windows to be able to notice.

Then I looked behind us and pointed out how the houses weren't leaning. Another colleague realized that the angles weren't as intense after a few steps forward. And when we all looked straight up... the houses appeared to be leaning directly over top of us.

It was an incredible exercise in perspective.

And all it took to spark this brief chain of events was one teammate casting their gaze differently than the rest. That small move brought us all in pursuit of new perspectives and ultimately sharing with each other what we'd discovered.

That's the wisdom of multiple perspectives; it's a wisdom I believe all marketing teams, including ours, can do a better job of pursuing.

While it can seem like such wisdom comes randomly from the muses and that we're simply passive recipients of it, marketing teams can intentionally put themselves in positions to wrestle it down—and even make a bit of a game of it.

Here are three recent examples of how my teammates illuminated new ways of thinking for me, followed by some simple advice for how your team can position itself to more frequently benefit from the wisdom of multiple perspectives:

1. New eyes, new voice

We've recently brought on board a tremendous talent, Jonathan Milne. He's our Community and Strategic Partners Director, and one of the smartest business minds I've ever met. Here he is:

jonathan milne

While Jonathan is seasoned enough to have come on board with all pistons firing to drive projects forward, he's also seasoned enough to know that it was critical, in his initital few weeks and months on the marketing team, to voice what his new eyes were seeing.

Today, thanks in part to him seeing and then voicing his belief that our marketing team needed to better integrate the building of dashboards into our routine, we're having our first "Dashboard Hack Day," where, with the help of colleagues from other departments, we're going to spend the day building.

We're all incredibly excited, will certainly learn a ton, and this day could lead to us building a marketing dashboard that marketers everywhere will love.

The advice: Grant new employees both the time to observe and the safe space to voice their initial insights.

2. Step outside your silo

During the Amsterdam trip I had the pleasure of connecting with Rahul Bura. He's on our technical support team, and as I work remotely this was our first chance to really connect in person. Here's Rahul:

rahul bura

Aside from Rahul pretty much being the coolest person I've ever met (he too loves durian), he's also highly regarded in our company for his knowledge on building Klipfolio dashboards.

As I was working with a colleague on an email we were going to send to the connections we made at the conference, Rahul sent us this beauty:

tnw dashboard

Yes, he'd created a live dashboard (click here to see it) based on data from the event! What a perfect thing to mention to the connections we'd made—rather than only showing them our business dashboards, we could also give them a glimpse into the creative ways dashboards can be used. It was a perfect tie-in to our email.

And, again, this wouldn't have happened unless we'd developed a cross-department relationship.

That week I also connected with Abdul Hagi, one of our customer success gurus. Here's Abdul:

abdul hagi

Each week, Abdul comes across incredible customer use cases—use cases that I didn't know existed and couldn't have even imagined.

During our chat he filled me in on several of them, including a school principal who is using our dashboards to see how grades are trending over time and to allow parents to login and see their child's grades. It was a use case I'd not thought about before, and I'll be following up with that principal for a case study.

The advice: While you may feel productive in your silo, always staying inside of it ensures you're only remaining productive in the limited ways you know are productive. Consider setting up a weekly meeting with a colleague you typically don't cross paths with.

3. Learn from the wisdom of crowds

Our product marketing manager, Chris Wolski, is always bringing industry insights into our marketing meetings—from his talks with analysts to his own forward-looking research into how our positioning may change as we continue to grow. Meet Chris:

chris wolski

Today, however, he shared something especially fascinating. Check this out:

dresner klipfolio

It's from the recently released (as in a few hours ago) 2017 Wisdom of Crowds® Business Intelligence Market Study by Dresner Advisory Services.

Many variables went into creating this—Dresner Advisory Services employs a trademark 33-criteria vendor performance management system and deploys thousands of surveys to its own research community of over 4,500 organizations, as well as reaching out to vendor customer communities.

We like studies like this because they give us a fresh perspective on the experience and value we’re creating for customers.

As you know, it can be easy to get lost in the experience you’re trying to create for a customer when you’re knee deep in the product and all the content that surrounds it. The danger is that such an inside-out perspective might not translate to creating the customer experience you were hoping for. Studies like this help validate that what we’re doing is translating.

Aside from a clean bill of health on the state of Klipfolio, this study is jam packed with info on other vendors in the BI space and with in-depth industry and BI user analysis.

The 2016 study is $895, but if you send me a tweet @CameronConaway I'd be happy to get you a free PDF copy of this one.

The advice: Seek outside, independent perspectives whenever possible. It's always possible.