The Insights Blog

Marketers & agency execs need training in 5 areas now

Marketers & agency execs need training in 5 areas now


Great marketing efforts are a business multiplier.

Unfortunately, many marketers and agency execs are not prepared properly for the task of delivering marketing efforts that outperform the competition and drive brand success. They lack some of the basic skills needed to get every ounce of impact from the investments they are leading. Training budgets have been cut dramatically in the past twenty years and on the job training can vary dramatically in quality and effectiveness.

How can companies and agencies ensure that their teams are equipped to be the difference makers that deliver day in and out?

In our work we have seen limitations in the following areas that routinely have a negative impact on results. Focused training in these areas can have a dramatic improvement in skill and effectiveness.

Business Conversations
Many marketing and agency executives immediately dive into marketing strategies or tactics without a complete understanding of the business issues involved. A clear understanding of the company’s business issues should always be the starting point for any effort. Is the overall business issue sales related? Market share related? Is it about competition? In our experience, executives that can have more productive discussions regarding the firm’s business issues are more successful because they bring that understanding to their key projects. The ability to have these business conversations is an important skill for marketers and agency executives.

Strategic Insight Development
Marketers have never been uniformly fantastic at training strategy and insight identification. This is a big gap in many organizations as great strategy and insights are the partner for great creative and media plans. Together they are the magic multiplier of marketing effectiveness. An investment annually in training your team in the areas of insight identification and strategy can deliver a strong return on your investment.


Most marketers and agency execs would benefit from training in how to develop briefs that are more compelling and in how to conduct successful briefing sessions. While the client brief is not the same thing as the creative brief that the agency creates, both play a critical role in the success of an effort.

Better briefs and briefings yield a wide range of better outcomes, including better work, less rework, faster timing to market and lower marketing costs.

Creative & Media Evaluation Training
Very few marketers have been trained in the best practices of creative or media plan evaluation. As a result, much of the feedback the in-house or external agency receives is not based on the brief and is often personal taste related. Has your team been trained in how to evaluate creative or media plans?

Feedback Training

There is an art to delivering clear, concise, direct and effective feedback. This is true whether you are giving creative feedback, responding to a proposal or giving interpersonal feedback.

Feedback is a gift. Giving effective feedback is critical to better results. Does your team have a proven process for delivering feedback?

Steve Boehler, founder, and partner at Mercer Island Group has led consulting teams on behalf of clients as diverse as Ulta Beauty, Microsoft, UScellular, Nintendo, Kaiser Permanente, Holland America Line, Stop & Shop, Qualcomm, Brooks Running, and numerous others. He founded MIG after serving as a division president in a Fortune 100 when he was only 32. Earlier in his career, Steve Boehler cut his teeth with a decade in Brand Management at Procter & Gamble, leading brands like Tide, Pringles, and Jif.