Daily deliverables murdered strategy

Daily Deliverables vs. Long-Term Strategy

I’ve never really believed that business leaders truly understand the difference between “strategy” (long-term vision) and “operations” (daily processes), but I suppose what I — a rank-and-file marketing staff member — think about strategy vs. operations is neither here nor there. I read Forrester a lot recently, and I came across this post and it made me think of something. The whole post is about how CMOs need to embrace messaging at a wider level, and not just respond to situations as they crop up (which I think is commonly called “putting out fires”). Here’s the paragraph that got me thinking:

In our discussions with CMOs and marketing leaders across industries and business models, we find that many senior marketing executives still struggle with bringing a disciplined approach to the creation and execution of messaging. Rather, we see messages developed in an ad hoc way to solve the need of the moment, giving little thought to alignment from the customer’s view across touchpoints.

Bunch of buzzwords in there, and somewhat hard to read, sure. Sounds a little bullshit-y. But that part about “struggle with bringing a disciplined approach…” makes me think that, well, they probably can’t. They don’t have the time. They’re busy. They’re in constant meetings. They’re tethered to their e-mail.

With all those demands on your time, right … you start to wonder: have deliverables basically killed strategy?

I mean — who can think long-term about an overall picture when there’s so much to do in the day-to-day, right? Isn’t that the whole attitude these days?

Think about it like this: a CFO protects the finances of an org, right? A CEO protects the overall purpose and profitability. A CTO protects the technological infrastructure and usage of it. A COO protects the operational standards and keeps the costs down and effectiveness up. (This is all “generally-speaking.”)

A CMO does a lot of things, but at core functionality, a CMO protects the brand and messaging and makes sure that stuff stays on point. That’s a boiled-down essence version of what a CMO does.

So you have Forrester, which is a fairly-respected think tank/etc. among CMO-types, basically saying that they’re talking to CMOs … and CMOs can’t really do one of their core responsibilities that effectively, and instead they do it in a really “ad hoc” fashion.

The only logical reason I can think for that is because they’re running from meeting to e-mail to conference call to meeting, chasing their daily deliverables and not chasing the big picture.

I kind of view this idea as akin to “headcount” potentially murdering “innovation” too, just because of how people conceptualize and respond to “open headcount.”

What do you think? Did an over-focus on the now now now and daily stuff overwhelm the possibility of people thinking longer-term or bigger-picture? (Do we need “stop and think” periods, eh?)

Ted Bauer

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