Why Marketing Leadership Must Drive Change

We’re working on the analysis of our most recent survey, “The Marketing Leadership Survey,” and the big takeaways are starting to coalesce for me. The biggest one so far is this: The marketing leader must drive change in the company. This is now an important part of marketing strategy, and if you don’t take on that responsibility, your marketing department will suffer.

UPDATE: The results of “The Marketing Leadership Survey” have been release. Click here to download the complete report, “How to Drive a Successful Marketing Strategy in 2018: 4 factors reshaping marketing management, and what effective marketing leaders must do to be successful today.”

We’re working on the analysis of our most recent survey, “The Marketing Leadership Survey,” and the big takeaways are starting to coalesce for me. The biggest one so far is this: The CMO or other top marketing management must drive change in the company. This is now an important part of marketing strategy, and if you don’t take on that responsibility, your marketing department will suffer.

Why Change Is the Marketer’s Job

There are a lot of aspects of the research that point to this conclusion, but the most important ones are these:

  1. No other department in the company is as exposed to changes in consumer behavior and consumer technology as marketing.
  2. The marketing department has the most to lose if the company does no have access to the latest technology and data capabilities.
  3. The marketing department, and marketing leaders personally, have the most to gain from the opportunities that come with that change.

We’ve been crunching the data here, and I’ve had the opportunity to discuss it with Patrick McLean, CMO of TD Bank, as we prepared for the midday Fireside Chat on Marketing Leadership at #AADM18 (that’s our virtual show on June 28). And the picture that’s emerging is that change is the marketing department’s friend.

How to Embrace Change to Achieve Your Marketing Goals

Far from being victimized by change, marketing leaders who can use change to make the marketing department more effective — by changing the marketing vision and scope of responsibilities, changing the technology stack, changing the roles on the team, changing the metrics they use to better prove effectiveness against company goals —  are able to deliver a more concrete contribution to the company’s goals. And when you can do that, the marketing department can write its own ticket.

Marketing leaders who drive change are able to win the arguments for budget and buy-in because the bottom line is on their side. Marketers who don’t drive change and have it forced upon them are never more than beggars in the C-suite.

Doing this requires more than just a vision. Successful marketing leaders today must establish strong relationships with the leadership team and other departments so they have crystal clear understanding of what marketing can do to help those other entities succeed.

Then the leader must be able to shift team composition, tools and data to be able to re-orient the department to exceed those expectations. And while that’s happening, you need to develop the reporting capability and metrics that allows you to prove the effectiveness of these efforts and the ROI on the investments the company is going to make in them.

Metrics and Measurement Are Your Tools for Making This Happen

That’s why metrics are super important. When we look at answers from marketers who say their departments are under respected and underfunded, they’re expressing a lot of frustration around what the C-suite and other departments aren’t allowing marketing to do. They can’t get the budget they need, can’t hire the people, can’t buy the tools to empower modern marketing strategies.

At heart, all of those problems are trust and communication issues. And when we look at marketers who say their departments are respected and funded well, they’re focused more on how to prove ROI to the C-suite. they know how to show their strategies will help reach the company’s goals and prove they did once the deeds are done. Measurement and metrics are the tools these marketers use to build those interdepartmental relationships and earn trust.

That’s a sliver of the findings coming out of the research. I can’t wait to show you the rest. You’ll be able to download the full report on our site June 28, the same day as the All About Direct Marketing virtual conference.

What do you think of these findings so far? Do those takeaways make sense with the marketing realities you’ve seen? Let me know in the comments below, and you just might make it into the report.