Successful marketing leaders all have something in common: they enable their companies to connect their customers’ needs with their own needs as a business. Finding this overlap, by ensuring that the marketing team focuses on what matters to the CEO as well as on what matters to customers, is the first step to successful marketing leadership.
The ’12 Powers’ fall into four sub-groups.
MOBILISE YOUR BOSS
Power #1: Tackle only big issues
Work inside the V-Zone on big issues that matter for both customers and the company (as judged by the CEO). Put a price tag on your work, so people see why what you’re doing matters.
Power #2: Deliver returns, no matter what
Financial returns should be your priority. Being seen as an effective investor will also help your standing at the top, and ultimately, make more resources available to you.
Power #3: Surround yourself with the best
MOBILISE YOUR COLLEAGUES
Power #4: Hit the head and heart
You can’t mobilise colleagues if they don’t listen to you. Tell them a real-life story that offers hope. Get in to their hearts as well as their heads.
Power #5: Walk the halls
As a marketer, you won’t change the world by sitting at your desk. You have to go out and engage people, including your non-marketing colleagues, to make things happen. This is one of the most important of the 12 powers.
Power #6: You go first
Aim to lead from the front. Be the change you want to see. Act as a role model for others.
MOBILIZE YOUR TEAM
Power #7: Get the mix right
Build a team with the right mix of creative, analytical and leadership skills. Align the team closely around a common goal.
Power #8: Cover them in trust
To enlarge the V-Zone, you need a team where people have the trust and confidence to ask for forgiveness if things go wrong, not for permission before they do anything.
Power #9: Let the outcomes speak
Love it or hate it, as team leader you are also the judge. You must set standards, weigh performance and ensure consequences when needed.
Barta and Barwise have a name for the place where customer needs and company needs meet: the value creation zone, or ‘V-Zone’, for short. “Marketing leadership is ultimately about helping the company maximise the V-Zone,” says Professor Barwise.
Power #10: Fall in love with your world
As a marketing leader, you need to know your stuff, not only about customers and the market but also about the company’s products and how they are supplied.
Power #11: Know how you inspire
Inspiration is a marketing leader’s biggest weapon. The more you understand why and how you inspire people today, the more you can build on these abilities to mobilize others – and stop doing things that have the opposite effect.
Power #12: Aim higher
The road ahead will sometimes be bumpy. Successful marketing leaders aim high and hang on to their dream to make big things happen – even against the odds.
Marketing leaders face special challenges because, even more that other functional leaders, they have to bridge three distinct gaps:
A trust gap: Most marketing work is around future ‘known unknowns’ like projected income. So people may be reluctant to trust what you say.
A power gap: Most of the people you rely on to deliver the customer experience work in other functions and don’t report to you. You have to work by engagement and persuasion.
A skills gap: Marketing is changing fast. It is impossible to keep up with it all. That is not your fault, but a challenge nonetheless, and may distract you from developing your wider business and leadership skills.