Today, companies are looking for a new breed of marketing leaders and the playing field has become more complex. The focus on branding is not the only thing in the game. Companies are looking for top marketing professionals who understand and are familiar with data science and performance marketing – these are critical skills in the current evolution of marketing and are essential to stay competitive. Being a great communicator, understanding how to differentiate the brand, and persuasiveness are also important. Companies don’t always promote internally and up to 30 percent of Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) have transitioned from one sector to another. Being an expert in a particular industry doesn’t necessarily mean you have to stick with it. The transition from one domain to another requires effort, however a rich background would bring valuable foundational skills from previous work experiences.
To be a versatile marketing leader, marketing executives need to keep abreast of several key aspects: know the latest trends, marketing tools, and project management principals. One way to learn about trends and game changers effectively is to meet with marketing agencies and find out about the latest in your industry. Agencies have exposure to a large number of customers in various markets and verticals and always keep a hand on the pulse to stay competitive and to recruit talent. Following thought leaders and analysts who specialize in marketing are also a good way to stay current.
Outstanding marketing professionals need to develop the ability to be agile, and understand both strategy and tactical programs quickly. Further, companies seek marketing leaders who are savvy marketers, but also have a good understanding of marketing technology (Martech) and good business sense overall.
The marketing universe today is quite complex. The domains of marketing, communications/PR, sales and customer care cross into each other. It includes Content marketing, personalization, automation tools, customer care (or service), advertising, mobile channels, search, social media, email marketing, commerce, cloud computing, big data concepts and analytics, management tools and operations, conversion optimization, and more. CMOs find that they need to do more and more. This reality reflects the startup approach, where strategizing, understanding performance marketing, knowing how to use marketing tools, and having a good understanding of tactics and execution challenges are great skills.
The greatest challenge marketing professionals face today is the proliferation of Martech, which is growing rapidly stronger. One way to retain talent is to allow opportunities to learn through involvement in new projects or expand into other functional areas in the company. This is true for all employees, at any level, and applies to CMOs, too. However, juggling resources and finding the time to get involved in other initiatives is a challenge.
How can top marketing professionals grow?
Here are several recommendations:
- Figure how you help your business accomplish its goals. Find what’s really important for your company performance and be tuned to that with everything you do.
- Silo mentality doesn’t work well any longer in today’s business environment. Delegating and mentoring others in the organization is a recommended step to allow CMOs time to learn other trends or business aspects.
- Rotation is another way to enhance the team members’ skills, help them grow, and hopefully give you some additional precious time to expand your horizons.
- Taking on new projects that aren’t per-say under your responsibility may be another effective step to broaden skills and expertise. There are always opportunities in the organization.