Who is Sitting in the Marketing Chair? – A Quick Marketing Leadership Assessment

My partner, Myron Berg, and I were recently discussing how what we do at Fusion Marketing Partners benefits our clients. While we can always be depended on to produce results in terms of awareness, leads and revenue, it struck us that we also deliver an intangible with a huge benefit: peace of mind. After all, today’s CEO has a great many things to worry about, including product, personnel, systems, and finance. The list goes on.  Removing the marketing issue from his or her list of concerns is a good thing for all concerned. The CEO sleeps better, the Sales VP brings home the bacon (revenue)  and the Marketing VP has job security –truly a winning situation for everyone.

From the perspective of the CEO, how does your company stand in comparison to the following five scenarios? (Of course, if you are the senior marketing person in your organization, you may want to consider how your CEO would describe you and your contribution to revenue and the overall success of the organization.)

Scenario 1: If it ain’t broke…
The marketing seat is occupied by an experienced and capable marketing professional: CMO, VP or director. The solution here is that you don’t need a solution. Let the individual continue to do his or her job and enjoy the results.

Scenario 2: Underperforming or underreporting?
The marketing seat is occupied but you don’t know how the marketing department and its leader benefits your organization. This can be attributed either to lack of performance, an inability to quantify results, or both. The solution to the first problem is to refocus the leader, and if this doesn’t work, you may need to replace the individual, either by hiring someone new or by outsourcing the marketing effort. Problem two can be solved by instituting a system to measure how marketing contributes to awareness, leads and revenue.

Scenario 3: Lack of experience or micromanaging

In this scenario, the marketing seat is occupied, but demands too much of the time of the CEO, VP of Sales and other executives. This can be due to either the lack of expertise (or ineptitude) of the person in the marketing hot seat or micromanaging by the CEO. In the former case, you need to consider hiring a more experienced or competent marketing professional. In the latter case, you need to let the individual do his or her job and assist (not manage) only where needed.

Scenario 4: Nobody’s home
The marketing seat is unoccupied. In this case, the solution is simple (not to be confused with “easy”).  Find a really good marketing person and get your company moving. And if you can’t find the right person, consider outsourcing the marketing function. This can cost you less and even give you better results.

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Scenario 5: The two-headed monster

Marketing is managed by a combination sales and marketing person. I’ve seen this work on occasion, but usually the individual is really good at one function but not the other. Marketing and sales are two distinct disciplines requiring unique skill sets. The best solution is to have two different people in these roles, but if you can’t afford this, then supplement the weaker discipline with quality outsourcing.

Your team of executives is just as important to you as the Knights of the Round Table were to the realm of Camelot. When King Arthur looked across the table, he wanted to see Sir Lancelot in the chair, not Sir Know-It-Not. The importance of marketing to a successful company can’t be overestimated. Make sure the marketing chair is occupied by a strong and experienced
professional (or outside consultant) who has the tools, budget and authority to produce outstanding results.

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2 comments

  • Roxy Craigson June 8, 2011   Reply →

    Many companies suffer from the lack of a “Lancelot” in the Marketing Seat at their corporate Round Table. It is a good point that your marketing knight better also be good at creating and managing metrics which clearly demonstrate the marketing benefits to Camelot’s bottom line.

  • John Vigil June 8, 2011   Reply →

    Well said. I think the five scenarios you present here are an invaluable on-the-fly diagnosis for a C-level leader who needs to assess the effectiveness of his or her marketing leadership.

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