Dear wise and illustrious CMO,

We know you’re busy. You’re rushing from meeting to meeting all day every day making sure that everything we do drives the strategic messaging of our company forward. You’re our fearless leader and we’re lucky to have you. But if you have a minute, there are a here’s some advice anyone on marketing leadership could use.

1. Talking to All Stakeholders before Making Organizational Changes Makes Us Feel Valued

We don’t expect to be consulted before every structural change, but no one likes finding out they have a new boss via Slack. Giving us a heads up on your thought processes allows us the chance to voice concerns and ask questions before the decision is set in stone.

Even if our opinions don’t sway your thinking—or if we think it’s a great idea to begin with—being in the loop builds our trust and makes us feel more secure in our jobs. No one wants to feel like the rug could be pulled out from under them at any moment.

Keeping us informed and asking for our feedback makes us confident that our needs are being considered—and that we’ll never be blindsided by sudden, top-down decisions.

2. Requests without Context Can Seem Like Busy Work

With so many balls in the air, we’re obsessive about time management. We do our best to plan every part of our workday to make sure we hit our deadlines and produce great final products. We’re proud of the work we do and like to understand how it benefits the company as a whole.

That’s why ad hoc requests are the quickest way to burn us out.

Even a seemingly small request can throw a major wrench into our plans for weeks to come. When a new assignment is handed down from above, we have to find room for it in our already busy schedules. Since your needs usually take priority, we often have to push off other projects, derailing the schedules of our collaborators and throwing strategic calendars out of whack.

What’s more, ad hoc requests often arrive with no additional insight into how they fit into a larger picture. You may have an excellent, strategic reason to ask us to produce an unplanned piece of content on the fly, but if we aren’t clued into how our work will advance a major goal, we might question whether our time is being used wisely.

A little bit of context can go a long way. Giving us an idea of how our contribution will serve as a building block for a C-level priority makes us feel like an integral part of the team—not just a worker bee.

3. Unrealistic Goals Can Lead to Unhealthy Practices

No one knows the work level we can handle better than we do. When aligning us with new goals, we appreciate the chance to tell you up-front about their feasibility. If there’s no room for dialog, one of two things is at risk of happening:

  1. We’ll drive ourselves crazy working overtime to get the job done on top of our other obligations, increasing our risk of burn out.
  2. We’ll spend our time in denial, hoping that somehow, some way, we’ll be able to get it done. By the time we realize there’s no way to finish everything, it will be too late to adjust priorities and manage the situation ahead of time.

Make sure that we as stakeholders feel confident in our ability to achieve the goals you’ve set for us. We’ll do our best work if our goals allow us to be challenged without being completely overwhelmed. Not to mention, we’ll feel much more inclined to stick around in the organization if we feel that our time is valued and that we can do great work without losing our minds.

4. We Appreciate When You Enforce Proper Change Management Practices and Documentation

Change is inevitable. In fact, we’re often the ones who want it the most. But the only thing worse than stagnation is change that is poorly managed.

If you do decide to make a shift—to a new technology, production process, etc.—we only ask that you commit. Document the new processes and hold people accountable for sticking to them. Having one foot in a new system and one in the old leaves us with the worst of both worlds.

We’re willing to embrace a new way of doing things, but only if we know you’re all in.

5. We Think of Content Operations as Content Marketing’s Older, Wiser Sibling

Over the past several years, marketers have jumped into content marketing with enthusiasm. We’ve seen the need for compelling, targeted material that guides leads from prospect to happily renewing customer. But the time has come to evolve.

Today, what we need to be successful is a content operation—that is, a set of people, processes, and tools that will enable us to strategically plan, produce, distribute, and analyze our content. A content operation will allow us to vastly improve the experience of our customers, no matter which channel or department they’re interacting with.

We know that investing the time and resources into implementing a content operation won’t be as simple as flipping a switch, but we also know that doing so is necessary if we want to keep up with—and beat—the competition.

If you want to understand the full business case for a content operation, check out the complete guide: Building a Business Case for a Content Operation. It’s everything your team would tell you if they only had the time.

Paralee Walls

About Paralee Walls

An educator at heart, Paralee is dedicated to building a marketing operation that matters. That means designing digital experiences for every customer that engage, delight, and inform with the right content at right time. She is a guest lecturer for the Digital Creative Institute and General Assembly and contributor to Forbes, CMI, and Kapost's own Marketeer.