Magazine article CRM Magazine

Harnessing the 12 Powers of a Marketing Leader: Like It or Not, Marketing Leaders Must Prove Their Value

Magazine article CRM Magazine

Harnessing the 12 Powers of a Marketing Leader: Like It or Not, Marketing Leaders Must Prove Their Value

Article excerpt

The chief marketing officer is no stranger to many of the world's largest organizations, but the leadership aspect of this position has not yet been mastered by many professionals currently holding the title, argue authors Thomas Barta and Patrick Barwise in The 12 Powers of a Marketing Leader. Associate Editor Oren Smilansky recently chatted with Barta, who outlined a few steps marketers can take to gain backing from their CEOs.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

CRM: Why did you decide to write a book about marketing leadership?

Thomas Barta: I worked in marketing for a couple of years, at Kimberly-Clark and Kleenex, and I got increasingly frustrated with the fact that marketers, at least in my companies, were not always heard. That was why I joined McKinsey, where I was a partner for many years. I worked with CEOs on marketing strategy and helped them figure out what to do with their brands and companies as a whole. The discovery I made is that other people, outside of marketing, can be better at connecting with the top and getting their perspectives on the table. That was an interesting insight; it wasn't the C-suite not understanding the marketers but marketers needed to change the game in companies.

What sort of research did you do for the book?

We profiled 1,200 chief marketing officers and also looked at the profiles of more than 68,000 leaders, and compared marketers with the people and operations to see how they fit.

The aim is to find ways to step up the game in companies. Ultimately, if marketers are successful, the companies will be successful, because marketers typically have great insights.

What are some of the greatest challenges CMOs face?

It's sometimes hard to believe what we say, because you can look at numbers from last year, and if you talk to finance, they're so much more credible. We almost have that credibility gap in companies. Even if we're really good, we can't prove that the future will happen, though we believe it will.

Secondly, if you want a great customer experience (which is what many marketers look for), so many people have to make it happen, and most of those people just don't report to marketing. …

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