The Anatomy of a Leader

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Andy Raymond.



Modern marketing leaders are refocusing their energy on sales and commerciality, building on fundamental functional skills to drive tangible business success.

What defines a modern marketing leader? Received wisdom suggests they need to be strategic and empathetic visionaries, natural storytellers with an endless curiosity and insatiable desire to learn. Not a lot to ask! The combination of being a data wizard who is likely to be sitting on a mountain of it, to a customer champion and motivator of diverse and inclusive teams, marketing leaders are also required to deliver stellar results across an ever-expanding list of channels.

In order to discover the attributes, responsibilities, and core skills most important to being a leader in the field of marketing – and in business more widely. Andy Raymond, Redline Executive Director looks at both the qualitative and quantitative attributes of the anatomy of a leader.

“The high turnover of Chief Marketing Officer’s (CMO’s) compared to their C-suite colleagues is symptomatic of confusion over what a marketing leader’s key attributes and areas of experience need to be,” says Andy. “As a result, marketing leaders are in danger of suffering a crisis of identity. The CMO today has many characters to act as on a daily basis. They have to handle different stakeholders, different demands, and different skill sets in an ever-changing environment.”

Andy continues: “Given the shrinking length of a Chief Marketing Officer’s tenure, marketing leaders need to ensure their impact is felt on a business faster than ever. With the average Chief Marketing Officer job role being less than two years, impact needs to be made quickly in order to be successful. Associated with that, CMO’s need to be resilient, as they are at the forefront of change which is pushing against a time machine.”

Redefining the key responsibilities of the CMO

The Chief Marketing Officer represents the bridge between the business and its customers. They are continuously at risk of being tugged in a number of directions in their pursuit for success. However, it may be time marketers refocused their priorities, according to Marketing Week’s study on the ‘Anatomy of a Leader’.

Customer experience, often owned by the CMO, will gain mounting importance in a world where little differentiates products other than the experiences and services wrapped around them. Customer experience is the perception your customers have of your brand, and there is no other officer that plays a greater role in shaping that customer’s perception than the CMO.

The survey of more than 600 marketers divided sets of skills into ‘responsibilities’ and ‘attributes’, finding that sales and commercial awareness (74%) is considered the most important responsibility marketers must master to become leaders. This was followed by knowledge of campaign planning and strategy (64%), market research (51%), innovation and new product development (45%), and financial reporting (38%).

Andy continues: “The gap between sales and marketing is now almost non-existent. The traditional method of developing the perfect mix of the four P’s (product, price, promotion, and place) and then delivering it to the sales team is dead. With the presence of real-time optimisation, fast-paced competitive markets, and spiralling amounts of consumer insight, the funnel from awareness to action is powerfully in the control of the marketing leader. Having the ability to deliver exceptional innovation whilst leading through an organisation entails a multitude of skills that stretch the core capabilities of the organisation. The CMO’S ability to imagine, inspire, and align teams of people are key in today’s sales and marketing arena.”

“The CMO needs to understand they can no longer operate with a VP Marketing mentality. The CMO needs to be a captain, responsible for steering the direction of the company from a high level. In the modern business world lines blur faster and faster. A telecom provider is now an entertainment company (AT&T). A movie rental company is now a content production company (Netflix).”

“The research also indicates a clear shift away from the functional aspects of the Chief Marketing Officer job role as the further marketers climb up the career ladder. The technical skills a modern marketer needs are more about interpretation, direction setting and opportunity identification. The marketing leader should determine the who, why, where and when, and the execution of duties (the and how) can be placed in the hands of professionals with those specific skills”, says Andy.

For a confidential discussion on CMO job opportunities, please call Andy Raymond – Director on +44 (0)1582 450054 or send an email to ARaymond@RedlineExecutive.com 

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