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  • Writer's pictureDominic Cincotta

The Danger of Group Think in the Marketing Department

Updated: Apr 1, 2021

We all agree! Isn't that great? Nope, not at all...

I find myself being marveled by some of the choices marketers make that make me question everything about my career. The phrase, "How did that get approval in to meet the public eye?" goes through my head at least once a week.

Then I do some self-reflection, as we all should do every so often as the creators of brand personalities. I think about some of the marketing teams in which I've been involved. From the brand side, to the agency side... from grassroots to broad mass media marketing... I like to think I've seen a lot. And of course, I realize I've been in the teams that have produced some of these horrible campaigns. If you have never taken and "L" as a marketer, I question your ambition.

Over the course of the past 15 years, I've noticed five things that make a marketing team boring, uninspired, but constantly patting itself on the back before launch. These 5 things create one of the worst scenarios that I can think of impacting a creative team... Group Think.

Those 5 traits are:

  1. Implicit agreement- Everyone goes along to get along or to appease a big ego in the room.

  2. Cookie cutter teams- Everyone from the same background, influence, and basically represent a junior version of the person in charge? Yup, cookie cutter.

  3. Insulated marketing department- Everything is a big secret outside of the department. There is a sense of fear of sharing concepts before the big "launch."

  4. Hurried agreement- Deadlines are deadlines, right? And early is best! Teams get to a solution and stop and head right to execution before asking if it is the right solution.

  5. Fear of failure- No one steps up to the plate because failure means loss of a sense of worth, a loss of the company faith, or worst of all, loss of a job.

So, here are five things to do to mitigate group think in the marketing brainstorm

  1. Create a place where creative conflicts are common and welcomed.

  2. Create a diversity across the team within backgrounds, ideals, and experiences.

  3. Reach outside of your circle and vet your ideas in at least 3 other departments before launch.

  4. Always create more than one solution to every one problem.

  5. Set learning as the ultimate goal and a form of winning.

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