Marketing Leadership gets Results

If marketing investment is to be productive, it requires efficient and effective management. “Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.” Said Peter Drucker, but what does efficient and effective management require in the “marketing” context?

Every successful manager has also to be a “leader”. Much has been written about leadership, but the essential requirements of a leader is to be able to balance the respective needs of the task to be achieved, the team to carry it out, and the individuals of that team.

The chief marketing officer (CMO) is frequently responsible for writing the marketing plan that is to achieve the objectives of the overall business programme. Writing a good marketing plan and successfully implementing it to achieve the desired goals, are plainly two different things. How many marketing plans which are well thought out on strategy and accepted by the company, fail when it comes to achieving the stated objectives?

There are many books and courses available to the marketer, to improve his or her skills in marketing strategy and planning. But the art of successful marketing lies not just in writing good marketing strategies, but in enacting those plans and achieving the planned objectives.

To be successful as a marketing manager, the CMO must display the necessary qualities of leadership in the workplace to achieve and maintain results, but how should this be achieved?

The job of the CMO or Marketing manager is to maximize profitable revenue, while minimizing the costs involved and the assets used. To do this, the CMO must be good at resource management with good leadership abilities, not only looking after his marketing team needs, but also be a good motivator to look after the needs of the team individuals. The CMO’s business is essentially that of knowledge. That knowledge must be gleaned from all sources, especially the business employees.

The CMO must know about the market, the customers, market trends, products, the competition and many other things. In addition he or she must understand all the activities involved in getting and maintaining business. As a manager, he or she must ask difficult and searching questions, avoid assumptions, and seek quantifiable proof of performance, but as a leader, he must also know and understand the requirements of the marketing team and especially the individuals involved.

For the CMO, the source of most of this knowledge will be based on the process of the Marketing Audit, to provide answers to the marketing questions. The continuous measurement of marketing performance together with the regular use of the Marketing Audit provide the CMO with the most important structured management tools, which deal with the marketing process. However neither of these tools deals with the managing, leading and motivating the marketing employees who are entrusted with the actions that get the results for the marketing plan.

Amongst the many marketing performance indicators, those relating to the selling organization have the most direct bearing on management and leadership. Performance indicators in the sales area can show an immediate response on the sales performance, providing clues to motivation, training, market trends and essentially the fulfilment of sales and revenue targets.

The successful sales manager must be seen to demonstrate leadership to the sales organization, in order to maximize and maintain the necessary performance in reaching sales targets, minimizing costs, while maintaining the motivation and enthusiasm of the sales team.

By contrast, the CMO by definition is further removed from both the sales organization and other marketing executives, as he needs to take an “overview” of the marketing organization. Demonstrating the necessary leadership of the whole marketing organization is a more difficult prospect for the CMO, requiring the additional ability to be a good listener and communicator.

The continuous measuring of marketing performance is essential if management objectives are to be met. But marketing measurements are only indicators of performance, highlighting success, failure and identifying problems. However, it is down to the CMO to use his skills as an effective manager to ensure that problems are identified and overcome, so that the marketing and business objectives can be met.

Leadership in marketing management is not about simply hitting goals and targets. Achieving business and marketing objectives can be met by “driving “the organization and its staff. However, experience shows that such methods are ultimately counter productive, and may cause the most important asset, the experienced marketing staff “to vote with their feet”.

Effective leadership should inspire and motivate the marketing staff to rise to the challenge and achieve the required objectives. With a good marketing plan, a well led marketing team, managed resources, and well motivated individuals, the CMO has the best chance of successfully implementing the marketing plan and achieving its goals.

Readers who would like to know more about effective leadership in marketing management, and management generally would do well to read “Leadership” by Dr James B. Rieley, published by The Daily Telegraph and Hodder Arnold.

© N.C.Watkis, Contract Marketing Service 20 Jul 06
Contract Marketing Service, (Specialists in Measuring Marketing Performance and Return on Marketing Investment.) CMC- InsightExec 20 Jul 06

July 20, 2006   Posted in: marketing management

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