There’s nothing worse than a leader who runs a company or marketing department by committee. I’m all about input, feedback and advice. But when you are the ultimate decision maker of marketing, own it.
Do you think the IT Director, who you let choose the web site development company, will sympathize when your new web site isn’t working right and your online sales tank? How about the person who works in the food and beverage department that you let pick your latest print advertisement design – how’d that go?
I’ve seen this movie before. Managers who make decisions by “bake sale committee” shouldn’t be in a leadership role, especially when marketing and bottom line are at stake for a company. I’m all for input and ideas. In fact, one of the best promotion ideas when I ran a casino marketing department came from a finance manager (never thought I’d say that.) But when the numbers go up, you don’t want to be sharing the credit, because it will certainly be your fault if sales are down. And, that’s the main point. You earned your job as the marketing decision maker. Take advice, engage others, but make the tough decisions – the buck stops with you.
Another quality of great marketing leaders is to challenge the norm. Don’t let your team or company get complacent. If anyone ever says, “well that’s how we’ve always done it,” you should not be too happy. Lead with marketing that always looks for new ways to reach your target audiences.
Many companies find value in continuing education of their marketing professionals. Conferences and online webinars can keep marketing staff on the cutting edge with the latest strategies.
Organizations with multiple marketing professionals should challenge them to bring new marketing methods to discussions. At my agency, we ask one team member each month to research a new marketing technology and present it at a staff meeting. Often times, we’ll then bring these innovations to clients to consider. When you stand still in marketing, it won’t take long for technology to pass you by.
Finally, when it comes to leading in marketing, inspire others. I feel so lucky every day to be in this industry. If it’s just a job to you, it will be to everyone else. If you care about the success of your company and want to make a name for yourself in marketing, others around it will see it and feel it.
Leading in marketing may be about making decisions, but never allow the norm to stay the norm and love what you do.
By Josh Sommers