Appreciating the Marketing Pivot

Updated: Aug 3, 2018

Authored by Guest Blogger, Carrie Majewski

I remember the first time I heard the word “pivot” used in a professional context. As a life-long dancer, the term has always been in my vocabulary but typically used as a step in a sequence of choreography.

I was at the Massachusetts Conference for Women (I highly recommend if you have never been) sitting in a breakout session led by best-selling business author Jenny Blake. In her book “Pivot: The Only Move that Matters is Your Next Move,” Jenny explores the fact that no career is perfectly linear; no business ever-static; no role a constant. Rather, our professional and personal worlds are in a constant state of flux, beckoning us to become more agile and versatile in the way we approach our careers and lives.

In her breakout, Jenny encouraged us all to strengthen our ability to pivot, specifically in our careers—from taking small risks to running experiments to identifying new opportunities. She asked us to get better at embracing change, recognizing that we can always pivot if need be.

Leaving the session, I was anxious to walk into my marketing department that Monday, talk with my team and see how we could more intentionally subscribe to the notion of pivoting.

How could we create an environment in which we experimented more freely, dreamed more loftily and course corrected more regularly? How could we evolve our marketing team to celebrate the beauty of the pivot, instead of feeling like it was a mark of failure?

One of the first things we did is revisited our Marketing Plan and strategic documents for each of our content marketing vehicles to identify the short- and long-term strategies we wanted to try. They were against the backdrop of the concept “pivot.” If the strategies worked, GREAT! If not, that would be OK too. At least it meant we tried.

To us, the term “pivot” meant to try. To welcome a new tactic, strategy or idea without fear of failure. To appreciate that any compelling marketing strategy requires constant innovation, adjustment and evolution. To recognize that to pivot means to expand in thought, purpose and intent. And so we started to pivot a lot and regularly.

Think about your own marketing strategy for a moment and ask yourself the following:

  • When was the last time you experimented with a new marketing tactic—e.g. podcasting, Facebook Live, Vidyard, etc.?

  • Are you creating safe space for your team to throw out wild ideas to see what sticks?

  • Are you effectively measuring the impact of your marketing channels? If so, are you doing anything different when the metrics reveal a trend?

Depending on your answers to these questions, you may be in need of a pivot. It may be time to take a swing at something new—like that Google AdWords campaign you keep putting off, or that white paper that you are unsure will drive net-new lead acquisition. Or, it may be time to stop placing your efforts with an avenue that is not really serving your brand.

When evaluating how you can pivot meaningfully within your marketing department, consider employing the Start, Stay, Stop mentality:

  • Start: Identify one tactic you want to start trying tomorrow—e.g. moving from an email marketing platform to a demand generation platform, leveraging video more strategically, performing an SEO audit, etc.

  • Stay: Identify one tactic that is working well for your brand and double down on innovating and evolving this area. That could mean introducing new blog types on your successful blog platform. Or, perhaps increasing the frequency of email sends since your open rates are sky high.

  • Stop: Identify one tactic that is no longer serving your marketing needs and stop focusing energy there. Maybe your white papers are going largely un-downloaded? Perhaps your Instagram account is generating little-to-no traffic. Stop exerting energy across these channels.

The pivot can be a beautifully powerful tool as a marketing leader. You just have to appreciate its art.

Carrie Majewski is committed to affecting change. As Founder of the Women in Leadership Nexus, Carrie is fueled by a desire to create safe space for female luminaries to convene to redefine the notion of leadership. She has forged a career around strategic writing and storytelling, having led a digital marketing agency for almost three years and today working as Marketing Principal for Trilix Tech. Carrie is a 2017 Rhode Island “40 Under 40” honoree and a 2016 Rhode Island Tech10 Winner. In her spare time you’ll find her trying out a local hip-hop class, exploring parks with her rescue dog Tori, and sipping coffee with other powerhouse women.