Are You Addicted To Managing Emergencies?
Meeting deadlines is crucial for any manager, and even more in the fields of marketing and communications. However, this requirement should not become addictive.
Marketers and communicators work with deadlines when launching a product or service, developing key messages and audience acquisition before a major event, preparing a management convention, building up a sales pipeline development program, planning a press conference, announcing a partnership or acquisition, reporting financial results, etc.
In addition, marketers and communicators deal on a daily basis with the reals pros of deadlines: Journalists. Indeed, what differentiates a journalist from any other writer? Their ability to write the exact number of words requested by their editor and to meet deadlines. When a reporter tells us that he needs our reaction at a precise time, we know that, if we are late by only a few minutes, the consequences for our company can be significant.
Incidentally, marketing and communications also affect other functions’ deadlines. For example, when a company is making an announcement to the media, it can no longer postpone the resolution of strategic and operational issues that have not yet been solved. Often, it only becomes obvious that they have to be solved when writing the press release and talking points related to the announcement.
However, with the explosion of digital technologies, the pressure of deadlines has become greater than ever. Journalists and (now) bloggers no longer think in days but in hours or minutes. Even weekly magazines want to publish breaking news in real-time on their websites in order to prevent another media from breaking the story before them. Moreover, every comment from consumers on social networks can now create a crisis that must be managed immediately.
I have always explained that what makes marketing and communications so interesting (among many other aspects) is their unpredictability – you never know, when arriving at the office in the morning, if your day will be relatively normal or frantic – and the diversity of subjects that you work on every day.
The above-mentioned changes make these characteristics more powerful than ever. Our jobs are therefore even more exciting – especially for those who, like me, enjoy a strong dose of adrenaline. However these changes also induce the risk of deadlines-driven work.
This calls for a double managerial vigilance: Preventing the development of a culture of artificial emergency – i.e. waiting until the last minute to work on a project – and monitoring the development of an inability to implement projects that don’t carry a deadline.