Walking a mile in another’s shoes

Last week I had the opportunity to travel to Mexico for work (a huge tick off the travel wish list). It was also my first time as onsite lead for one of our events – Mexico’s Customer Festival. Changing my viewpoint from focusing just on marketing to overseeing everything from communicating with the venue to ensuring the sponsors were happy was challenging. There was a lot to juggle. I found myself waking up in the middle of night remembering something else to check on the next day!

As marketers, we understand the importance of walking in our customers shoes to ensure that we meet their needs. But what about walking a mile in the shoes of our internal stakeholders or team mates?

It is very easy to judge another or have an opinion on someone else’s job. I am sure that everyone can think of an occasion when they have judged the work or the process of another employee – or an occasion when someone else has judged marketing’s work or processes. Understanding the roles and needs of team mates is just as important as¬†understanding our customer’s needs. Walking a mile in our stakeholders shoes is one way we can better understand their objectives and roles. Mexico’s Customer Festival was my opportunity to do just that. It has helped me to better understand the importance behind each team members’ role. Not only that but also how each role interplays. This emphasised to me once again that we need to walk a mile in our stakeholder’s shoes.

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Why is stakeholder marketing so important?

Marketers work with every department – Production, Sales, Finance, IT…the list goes on. The difficultly with this is managing the needs and expectations of each department whilst balancing our own objectives. This is made harder when you consider how different each department’s objectives are.

  • Finance – focus on costs
  • Sales – focus on the next sale
  • Production – focus on the product itself

Marketing brings these focuses together and asks what the customer needs or wants. We often act as mediators – putting us in the middle. This is why stakeholder marketing is so important. Effective communication or promotion of department goals, objectives and deadlines to other internal stakeholders ensures that each team member understands how they can impact another team member.

Marketing focuses on the needs of the customer – internal stakeholders are also our customers.