Tiffany Quinn

March 29, 2024

Do You Know What You Don't Know?

The Dunning-Kruger effect is a cognitive bias where people with limited knowledge of an area overestimate their abilities. They don't know what they don't know.

In Architecture, Engineering, Construction, and Commercial Real Estate, leadership teams are the north stars in their organisations, leading with strategic objectives and flexing in response to market fluctuations.

However, often the leadership team comprises of people who are VERY good at the thing that made the company successful in the first place -  architecture, engineering, or construction - or selling them. The Dunning-Kruger effect can sometimes disrupt the upward trajectory of the business, because the leadership team has not hired people who will challenge them in areas they don't know about - such as strategy-led content marketing.

The Dunning-Kruger Effect Unveiled

Dunning-Kruger Effect in B2B Marketing

At its core, the Dunning-Kruger effect is a cognitive bias where individuals with limited knowledge of an area overestimate their abilities in this area (eg strategy-led content marketing) and direct people based on assumptions rather than expertise. For example, just because you use YouTube doesn't mean you can devise/implement a strategic plan for an employer brand YouTube campaign to attract more site managers home from Australia.

The Pitfalls of Misguided Management

When leaders, perhaps unknowingly affected by the Dunning-Kruger effect, attempt to oversee experts like CMOs without acknowledging their own gaps in understanding, it can result in slowing up the process. As trust diminishes, so does the speed and efficiency of executing marketing strategies, ultimately impeding the ability of the CMO to achieve your objectives.

In the fast-paced world of procuring, designing, planning, constructing and maintaining commercial property, relationships and trust are crucial. You will need to trust your CMO. Data-driven insights, story brands, an authentic tone of voice, messaging, and strategy can be hindered if you insist on getting in their way.  

Trusting the Experts: A Path to Success

The remedy to this situation is both simple and profound: trust. Hire yourself a CMO - a fractional if you don't have the resources for the big salary, and TRUST! Trust in the knowledge, skills, and expertise that your fractional CMO brings to the table. Satisfy yourself that they have the required understanding of marketing strategies that work specifically for your industry. And let them do the work.

This doesn't mean abdicating all oversight or input but rather engaging in a collaborative exchange where each party respects the other's expertise. It's about setting clear objectives, communicating openly, and then allowing your fractional CMO the autonomy to execute their strategies effectively.

Building a Foundation of Trust...

Creating a relationship grounded in trust with your fractional CMO begins with acknowledging the expertise they offer. Here are a few strategies to foster this trust:

**Active Listening** Engage in discussions with an open mind and a willingness to absorb new information. Your fractional CMO's insights are gold mines of strategic value.

 **Clear Communication** Ensure that both parties are aligned on goals, expectations, and timelines. Transparency is key to mutual understanding and respect.

 **Empowerment** Empower your fractional CMO to take the reins on marketing initiatives. Trust that their decisions are informed by years of specialised experience and a deep understanding of your industry.

**Feedback Loop** Establish a robust feedback mechanism that allows for constructive critique and mutual growth. Remember, feedback is a two-way street.

...and Getting out of the Way

In the world of B2B marketing for architecture, engineering, construction, and commercial real estate firms, the synergy between business leaders and fractional CMOs will unleash unparalleled growth and innovation. Overcoming the Dunning-Kruger effect by fostering a culture of trust and respect for expertise is not just beneficial; it's necessary.

As we draft a playbook for the changing landscape of our specialist industries, let's remember that the play will be smoother when each player's expertise is trusted, valued, and they can play to their strengths. Your fractional CMO is not just a guide but a team player in crafting a narrative of success. Work with them and trust in their expertise, allow them to ensure that your strategies remain innovative and effective and watch your business grow.

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