Marketing Leadership

by Sasha Reid

Marketing Leadership

“The future of marketing is leadership” – Seth Godin

We’ve always believed that effective marketing acts as a propeller to drive business forward, a vital pathway towards long-term growth. The elevation of marketing to the C-suite also recognises that marketing has moved well beyond communications, advertising and promotions. To be strategically significant, an effective change agent and driver of growth, marketing must have a seat at the executive table.

According to a recent Forbes article, CMOs will increasingly step into CEO positions (traditionally not the case), and become “more of a general business leader than a creative expert”. In the same article, Bruce Rogers, the Chief Insights Officer of Forbes and leader of Forbes’ CMO Practice, argues that in order for a CMO to be transformational CEOs should “Hire for Uber Leadership Skills”. He says: “You want master orchestrators, not the best drummer. You want a team of conductors who can be knowledgeable about every aspect of the music but you don’t want individual virtuosos. The conductor hires and manages the virtuoso. This is a big issue, especially in marketing. You don’t want to make the mistake of putting your digital expert in as CMO. Do they know how to lead and develop analysts? Or creatives?… Typically the answer is no. You want a CMO who is facile enough to manage and lead the digital expert.”

Today’s CMO is a leader as much as a marketer. Someone who can work alongside the CEO in building a marketing-led business, who can conduct and integrate the marketing effort from strategy through to delivery, and who can use data and the analytical tools at their disposal to make marketing accountable and insight-driven.

Marketing leadership is still often a missing link and with more and more businesses recognising the need for it, we’re seeing a growing trend towards outsourcing the CMO position if hiring one full-time isn’t a viable option.

Why becoming a marketing-led business matters

Becoming marketing-led means your customer is the highest priority. Today’s marketplace may be uncertain; what is clear is that it is customer-driven. The most successful businesses thrive by focussing on their customers and putting them firmly at the heart of everything they do. Marketing becomes a strategic imperative, connecting customers to products and services to drive growth. Big brands such as Apple, IKEA and Amazon all do this well, so too fast-growing organisations such as Canva and Thank You. They know who they are speaking to and understand what’s important to them. They are then crystal clear on how they add value to those people’s lives, and in meeting and exceeding their needs and expectations.

Contrary to what you might think, being marketing-led in a customer-driven environment does not mean “appealing to everyone” – quite the opposite. Strong marketing leadership functions to ensure focus is on the right customer not any customer, and that alignment carries through to everyone in the business.

Stepping up

As Simon Sinek, bestselling author and TED Talk speaker, said “The joy of leadership comes from seeing someone on our team achieve more than they thought they were capable of”. Which might also be beyond what you thought possible too!

The reality of business now is that every single person in your organisation is part of your marketing engine – every email, every customer interaction, your internal culture, the conversations your team has when they are home with their families, at the pub with friends, on social media.

To become a successful marketing-led business, focussed on your customers, to drive sustainable business growth necessitates marketing leadership.

Marketing leadership in action

  • Raises marketing to the executive level and makes it accountable
  • Aligns marketing to business goals
  • Champions the customer relentlessly
  • Shifts marketing from ad hoc and reactive to structured, ongoing and strategic
  • Integrates marketing activities and leads implementation
  • Guides delivery teams and partners
  • Focusses effort and ensures follow-through
  • Tests and learns, feeding insights back into strategy to continuously improve

If you’re frustrated that marketing isn’t working in your business and are seeking marketing leadership and expertise, we invite you to get in touch. Bringing in marketing leadership that dovetails with your skills and strengths will allow you to focus on what you do best while becoming a marketing-led business. Call 02 9238 1969 or email

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Inspirational marketing is about being true to yourself, being aligned with your core values and doing something you truly believe in and are passionate about. It is about creating meaningful relationships with everyone you encounter. It is about thoughts from the heart.

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