What 100+ Marketing Leaders Have to Say About Marketing and Career Success

October 10, 2019

Career Advice from Marketing Leaders

Here is the answer. People.

It’s all about creating meaningful value-based connections with the people you wish to influence into an action. It is equally critical on the inside of an organization as it is on the outside, engaging people on your team, across the organization and in the marketplace.

We tend to forget about that when we talk about marketing, as easily distracted by lots of new shiny objects, technology, data, massive production of iterative content for every possible channel configuration. But “in the end, it all comes down to people and values," as Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, said.

I have had the immense privilege to work with hundreds of CMOs in various formats, through CMO Moves Podcast, Top of Mind videos, CMO Playbooks, deep dives into specific topics, like purpose, culture, leadership, skill development and more. Despite every CMO role being unique to their respective organization, the one consistent theme I see is that the role of the CMO is becoming increasingly focused on people-centricity. In particular, I recently penned an article on Linkedin called the “Three People-Centric Shifts Evolving the Role of the CMO”. 

Here are those shifts in the context of questions to ask yourself as a leader:

  1. Champion Diversity and Inclusion: Are you championing diverse talent — diversity of all types: age, gender, sexual orientation, ethnical backgrounds, experience, beliefs, etc.?  Are you ensuring that everyone has a respected and welcomed voice at the table so you can hear their unique perspectives and ensure they feel secure in bringing their best selves forward?  Are you bridging gaps across your organization and with partners to ensure collaboration, innovation and productivity?  
  2. Invest in Talent Development:  Are you investing in your teams? Are you giving them the tools and opportunities to be successful? Are you mindful of the implications of AI / ML and building a future vision for your team, equipping them to evolve their roles and continue to be meaningful contributors? Are you looking inside and out to help mentor young leaders or future leaders? Are you equally allowing yourself to be reverse-mentored to keep in tune with what’s important at all levels of your organization and the (declining) marketing talent pool?
  3. Embrace the Creator Revolution:  Are you truly listening to your consumers and customers? Are you paying attention to what’s happening in Gen Z and “Gen Alpha,” aka, the children of Millennials arriving in droves? Are you noticing that consumers are the new creators and many of the new marketing tools in the landscape are being created by them or for them to create even more content? How are you thinking about your teams’ skills going from creators to enablers of these new creators? How are you working with your agency partners to ensure their best thinking can still be part of the equation as they will need to bring forth that new market perspective unlike ever before?

So let’s come back to the headline. Who are these 100+ marketing leaders? They are the ones who came together last Friday to officially launch a new Executive Mentor program to help the next generation of leaders. 

All 100+ volunteered their time to be a Mentor as CMOs, CBOs, CEOs, Industry Leaders from the world’s most iconic brands: Adobe, Airbnb, Anheuser-Busch, Burger King, Citi, Deloitte, Denny’s, Facebook, Gap, GE, General Mills, Google, L’Oreal, Marriott, Mastercard, Nestlé, NFL, NHL, Pandora, Petco, Spotify, Target, Uber, Verizon, Viacom, Visa, Walgreens, Walmart and more.

They know the future is all about fueling and empowering the next generation of leaders. Their success, and the industry’s success, is dependent on fostering an inclusive environment that brings forward diverse thought and unites communities. They recognize that influence comes from authentic leadership, upholding values and ensuring equity for each individual. It is truly a circle for growth all based on people.

Still on the fence? I leave you with my favorite quote of all time, building from the snippet quoted above.

In the end, it all comes down to people and values. We need to shape a future that works for all of us by putting people first and empowering them. In its most pessimistic, dehumanized form, the Fourth Industrial Revolution may indeed have the potential to “robotize” humanity and thus to deprive us of our heart and soul. But as a complement to the best parts of human nature — creativity, empathy, stewardship — it can also lift humanity into a new collective and moral consciousness based on a shared sense of destiny. It is incumbent on us all to make sure the latter prevails.” — Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman, The World Economic Forum

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