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Leadership vs seniority — advice for grooming yourself or others for advancement within marketing September 14, 2011

Posted by Mike Gospe in Integrated Marketing, Just for Campaign Managers, The Marketing High Ground.

As an executive leader, I’ve always expected and valued my “senior” staff to think beyond the boundaries of their job description. The more senior a marketer becomes, the more imperative it is that he or she be able to help unite the organization with an integrated marketing plan, to help get everyone on the same page. That means learning how to manage internal politics to align the organization (both within the marketing organization, and with sales). It also means that they have the confidence and character to ask the tough questions, like:

  • How well do we really understand our target markets? Do we have a clear and focused persona – or set of personas – or are we trying to be “all things to all people”?
  • Do we have a common understanding of our positioning in the market against the nearest competitive alternatives? Is there a positioning statement everyone can rally behind? Or, are we making it up every time we launch an email?
  • Do we have a story to engage prospects and customers in a meaningful dialog,using content that they care about? How well does our content map to the customer’s BUYING PROCESS?

I believe that marketers at every level (from the seasoned webmaster to the new social media recruit to the evangelizing product launch boss) should be able to ask these questions and participate in the finding of the answers. I wrote about several techniques and best practices in the book, The Marketing High Ground.

Leadership is not seniority. Leadership comes with the ability to ask these and other questions that help the organization rise to the next level of their performance. But it doesn’t mean the marketer has to know all the answers. Often, their value is in knowing the right questions to ask and asking them in a way that invites team members to tackle them together. This is the type of senior people I surrounded myself with when I led marketing operations and VP of marketing roles.


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