Marketing creates a plan. It’s a great marketing plan and any dispassionate viewer would say it’s just a beautiful marketing plan, but it’s completely and utterly worthless.

If Marketing has a great plan but nobody else buys into it, then it’s a useless plan. I’m going to show you today, how to get buy in to the plan and the planning process.

In our research into alignment, we found that each department, if they own the planning process, they introduce different flaws. If Sales owns it, Marketing owns it, Finance, Operations etc. Each of them introduces a different flaw to the plan. And the only real answer is to get them to plan it together. In fact we found that if they do plan it together, then you can generate sixty percent more out of the marketing function, if all of those functions plan together.

The problem with joint planning is what we all know as group think. You know how it goes, you get a bunch of people together and the loudest person in the room influences things unreasonably and often unhelpfully. There was a book written in 1841 by Charles Mackay a Scottish Journalist ,”Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds” it basically describes what you and I now know as group think.

Well in 2004 there was a response to that book written by James Surowiecki. Surowiecki argued that there are certain occasions when the collective wisdom is better than the individual wisdom and he set out to find when are those occasions and how can you replicate them and that’s what we’re going to talk about today.

So when are ‘We’ smarter than ‘I’? When is the collective smarter than the individual? So in his book, ‘The Wisdom of Crowds’, Surowiecki looks for the answer to that question and what he basically concludes is this you need the aggregrate of genuinely independent thought. In other words take soundings, multiple soundings but independent soundings. Aggregate that view and then debate the collective view. It’s the aggregate of genuinely independent thought that we need. Your leadership team needs to choose the right problem and needs to do it together.

Well clearly buy in is key. I want to tell you a quick story about gaining buy in. We work for the client to build their Funnel Plan and in the process of building a Funnel Plan there’s a big moment where you choose what problem it is that you’re going to focus on and to get to that moment, we did some analysis using a bubble chart, in that bubble chart the problem that clearly was the best choice was coloured red. After they had made this big decision on what problem they were going to focus on again, what problem from the available options were they going to focus on. They did a couple really clever things, firstly the R&D department, you know the guys who make new stuff, the R&D department got renamed and they were renamed to the Red Dot Department. Why? Because everyday and every time they walked in that door they knew that their job was to find clever new ways to solve that problem, the one that they had chosen. Every day they were reminded that their job was to find clever new ways to solve that problem.

The second thing they did was having these events, like boardroom lunches and they called them internally, the Red Dot lunches Why? To remind everybody involved that the purpose of this lunch was to get their buyers troubled about that problem. Small little activities there but it gained significant buy in and reminders that this is why we’re doing what we do. So you need to choose it together and you need to commit to it.