Cultivating Diversity, Agility and Growth — Best Practices and Insight for Chief Marketing Officers and Leaders

  • July 17, 2023

In an increasingly competitive business landscape, cultivating a culture of diversity and growth is essential for any organization looking to stay ahead.

At the recent Momentum ITSMA Marketing Leadership Forum for IT services marketers, we explored this topic in detail, and I had the privilege of sharing my thoughts on how marketing leaders can:

  • Do more with less.
  • Manage constant disruption and competitive pressures.
  • Create a growth-oriented culture that’s agile and diverse.

We explored how marketing leaders can motivate their teams to embrace resilience and grow through difficulty. For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, we had to respond quickly. For me, three tenets were crucial to foster organizational resilience and maintain business growth.

1: Connection is protection
At NTT DATA, we doubled down on communications to provide frequent connections to all team members using multiple channels. Overnight, marketing team members began working from home. We knew we needed different ways to connect. Standard channels included weekly staff meetings with directs, agile project “stand ups” and departmental town halls — all conducted virtually. But some people only felt comfortable in one-to-one settings — so we made sure to provide that opportunity. We reinforced the idea that the foundation of authentic connections that protect company culture requires leaders who know their team members on a personal level. This helped foster a sense of wellbeing for the entire team.

2: Be prepared to pivot
Talent gaps are a perennial challenge. This fact is amplified by the accelerated rate of change sweeping across all industries. To keep up with stakeholder expectations and unexpected disruptions, leaders and teams must be prepared to pivot quickly. This could mean taking advantage of upskilling programs, such as virtual marketing courses. At NTT DATA, we refocused our events marketing team members on website and marketing technologies during the pandemic. In doing so, we filled the rising demand for virtual marketing, and team members learned new skills. Investing in people rather than processes means building an organization with the knowledge required for accomplishing both short-term objectives and sustainable long-term growth — something every leader should strive for if they want their business to succeed. Preparing team members for constant change and investing in their skills is both table stakes for leaders and the right thing to do for team members.

3: Prioritize ruthlessly
Prioritization is always front and center in agile marketing, and that means companies must prioritize their marketing strategies to make sure they're directly linked to the company's mission, business goals and sales targets. It’s great to try a new and bold marketing tactic, but if it doesn’t deliver, organizations must be ready to fail fast and move on quickly so you can reorient funds to tactics that work. It's important to map out how your budget and funding directly support business objectives and outcomes. This helps you to identify areas where you may need to reallocate funds to increase efficiency or redirect resources towards more effective tactics. Doing this will also help create a culture of growth within the organization – one that rewards innovation and experimentation while still maintaining an overall focus on achieving results.

It’s also important to keep in mind that agility doesn’t only apply to marketing strategies — it applies across all aspects of the business. For example, if new technology is introduced into the workplace, employees should be encouraged to experiment with it to gain a greater understanding of its capabilities and how it can be used most effectively.

By encouraging employees to take risks, organizations can discover untapped potential, which can lead to innovative solutions as well as increased employee morale. By encouraging staff members at all levels of the organization — from senior management down through the ranks — to embrace change and make mistakes without fear of repercussion, companies can foster an environment where everyone feels comfortable taking calculated risks.

And finally, by prioritizing both of these elements, organizations can ensure their teams are constantly striving for excellence while remaining agile enough, respond rapidly when market conditions change or new opportunities arise — helping them stay ahead in today's competitive landscape.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) has increasingly become a focal point for many organizations. Now more than ever, as marketing leaders, we hold the key to change. We have the collective responsibility of driving authenticity and inclusion in our teams and organizations at large. Embracing and fostering inclusivity must be ingrained in our values to create an environment where every voice isn't just heard but celebrated. To unlock the full potential of team members, it's our responsibility as leaders to engage in conversations that challenge the status quo and pave the way for meaningful change.

To catch the full DE&I conversation, listen to ITSMA’s Breaking the Bias Podcast.

For over 25 years, Momentum ITSMA has led the way in defining, building, and inspiring B2B marketing excellence, with a dedicated focus on services and solutions. They're passionate about helping organizations and marketing leaders outperform the market, using evidence-based frameworks and assessments. NTT DATA Services is proud to have a long-standing relationship with global like-minded industry leaders. Momentum ITSMA recently launched a Growth Hub with unlimited access to a wealth of knowledge, respected experts, and peer-to-peer learning. Our Chief Marketing Officer, Mona Charif caught up with the team and other industry leaders in Napa Valley.

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Mona Charif

Mona Charif is chief marketing officer for NTT DATA, Inc.. She leads marketing, communications, and corporate social responsibility, and is executive sponsor of the Women Inspire NTT DATA (WIN) employee resource group. Mona has more than 20 years of success in supporting brand awareness and growth objectives of Fortune 100 companies including Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Lucent Technologies and EDS. She holds a Master of Business Administration from the Naveen Jindal School of Management at the University of Texas-Dallas and a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Texas-Austin.


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