Trying to help your team keep up with the incredible rate of marketing change? And keep on top of your daily work, and keep your brain open to thinking in new ways, and model continuous learning, and get the amount of sleep recommended for optimal brain performance? It’s tempting to say: “Good luck with that.” But the reality is there are known strategies and resources that work for high performers across sectors and in businesses of all sizes. Let’s look at core strategies and a few top choices for resources.
While each member of your team will have their own list based on interests and topical expertise, here are four core strategies for everyone to include:
- Go beyond marketing for context
- Think select few
- Vary media formats (reading, listening, viewing)
- Move your brain in new ways
Go beyond marketing for context
The more you restrict your reading to one field, the greater your risk of losing perspective, or succumbing to tunnel vision. Reading multiple sections and writers in the classic management and leadership journals is a helpful preventive and broad reach, cross-sector publishers are the key to expanding your worldview beyond marketing communication. Think The Economist, Harvard Business Review, Forbes, Inc. Magazine, Entrepreneur, Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, The Atlantic — you get the idea. McKinsey Quarterly is an often overlooked resource that I find useful for emerging issues and trends (often well in advance of anyone else).
The few, the select
More channels, more segments, more technologies, more disruption, more competitors, more to keep up on. It’s impossible to keep up on everything, so it makes sense that if everyone on your team is reading the same sources and the same articles, your collective learning will be less. Be selective. For example, while you want to have at least one of the broad reach media outlets on your list, not all of them need to be. Divide and conquer the list across your team, and share only those pieces that warrant special attention from everyone. Two of my favorite resources for primary research studies of interest to marketers include the Pew Center for Research on the Internet and American Life and the Journalist’s Resource from the Shorenstein Center at the Harvard Kennedy School.
Vary media formats
Neuroscientists have discovered our brains are engaged differently by reading an article in hard copy versus reading online versus listening to a podcast or watching a video. It can quickly become mind-numbing to absorb all your information in any one medium. Thankfully, many popular outlets, writings and visuals are available simultaneously in whatever format is most convenient for you today. For example valuable marketing resources from a solo specialist like Christopher S. Penn are available as the Awaken Your Superhero daily blog post, or a podcast, or my personal favorite, his “Almost Timely” weekly newsletter. Similarly, you can follow Scott Monty’s This Week in Digital News Round-up via email, RSS feed, Twitter, Facebook, or Flipboard.
Move your brain in new ways
To dramatically expand your thinking and opinions, you want to explore completely new-to-you (or contrary) ideas and perspectives. Here are two of my favorite resources and a recent study on using Twitter as a resource.
Brain Pickings by Maria Popova
Quora, question-and-answer website
How Twitter Users Can Generate Better Ideas | MIT Sloan Management Review
How do you help your team keep up with marketing change?
To summarize the best strategies to keep up and keep your brains sharp — read aggressively, mix it up for sources as well as formats, and have fun!