To succeed in your career, you have to realize everyone brings a core strength as a marketing leader. What is your strength? Running a business, marketing execution, strategic thinking or passion for people. While marketers are usually trained as a generalist, maybe it’s time to make a decision around your one true, core strength. And then, go build a new career around that core strength.
Here’s a tough career question for most marketers to answer
What is your core strength? Pick only #1 strength as a marketer from these four potential choices:
- You like running the business and managing products
- You have a passion for marketing execution
- Strategic thinker writes strong Brand Plans
- As a leader of leaders, you can get the best out of others
I know it must be a tough question because everyone refuses to pick just one. Even if you are well-rounded, explore what might rise or fall based on skills, feedback, success, passion, or interest. Be honest with yourself.
Let’s take it a step further. Here’s a game you can play to force your thinking. Look below at the diagram. You have four chips. You have to put one on the highest strength, two at medium and force one to be at the lowest.
If you still say, “I’m pretty good at all 4” then push yourself, I might not believe you. No one is equally great at all four. You have to know your strength. As you make your next move, each choice may lead you to 4 different career choices.
If you like running the business, your career choices could be product management, private equity or new industries. If you are into the marketing execution, explore switching to an Agency role. It could be a brainstorming ideation leader or become a subject matter expert. And, if you are a strategic thinker, you could move into becoming a consultant, professor or go into a global role. Finally, if you feel your strength is on the people leadership side, you can keep moving up to GM, explore the entrepreneur world or become a personal coach.
When your strength is running the business
You are naturally a business leader, who enjoys the thrill of hitting the numbers–financial or share goals. In Myers Briggs, you might be an ENTJ/INTJ (introvert/extrovert, intuition, thinking, judgment) the “field general” who brings the intuitive logic and quick judgment to make decisions quickly to capitalize on the business opportunity.
You like product innovation side more than advertising and you are fundamentally sound in the core elements of running a business—forecasting, analytics, finance, distribution. You can work with each functional areas to the benefit of the products. Moreover, you may have gaps in creativity or people leadership, but you are comfortable giving freedom to your agencies or team to handle the creative execution.
My recommendation is to stay within Product Management as long as you can. If you find roadblocks in your current industry, consider new verticals before you venture into new career choices. You should consider running businesses on behalf of Private Equity firms or venture into entrepreneurship, where you can leverage your core strength of running a business.
When your biggest strength is marketing execution
When you are the type of Brand Leader, who is highly creative and connects more to ideas and insights than strict facts and tight business decisions. You believe facts can guide you but never decide for you. And, you are high on perception, allowing ambiguous ideas to breathe before closing down on them. Moreover, you respect the creative process and creative people. You are intuitive in deciding what a good or bad idea is. You may have gaps in the areas of organizational leadership or strategy development that hurts you from becoming a senior leader. And, you likely see answers before questions and frustrated by delays.
Staying in the Marketing area, you may end up limited in moving beyond an execution role. You may be frustrated in positions that would limit your creativity. Stepping into a Director level role could set you up for failure. Look to grab a subject-matter-expert role in internal advertising, media, innovation role or merchandising.
Going forward beyond Marketing, consider switching to the Agency side or Consult on subject-matter expertise (Innovation, Marketing Communication or Public Relations) to build on your strengths.
When you are naturally a strategic thinker
You enjoy the planning more than the execution. You might fall into the INTP, where you’re still using logic and intuition, stronger at the thinking that helps frame the key issues and strategies than making the business decisions. The introvert side would also suggest that your energy comes from what’s going on in your brain, than externally. An honest assessment would indicate that managing and directing the work of others is likely not be a strength.
If you stay within the marketing industry, you would be very strong in a Global Brand role, General Management or even a Strategic Planning role. You need to either partner with someone who is strong at Marketing Execution or builds a strong team of business leaders beneath you.
Going outside, you would enjoy Consulting and thought leadership which could turn into either an academic or professional development type roles. Continue building your thought leadership to carve out a specific perspective or reputation where you can monetize.
When your biggest strength is leading people
You find a natural strength in leading others. This would be when you are skilled in getting the most from someone’s potential and you are good at conflict resolution, providing feedback, inspiring/motivation and career management of others. Moreover, you are a natural extrovert and get your energy from seeing others on your team succeed. As you move up, you should surround yourself with people who counter your gaps–whether that is on strategy or Marketing Execution.
If you find yourself better at Management than Marketing, and you should pursue a General Management role where you become a leader of leaders. You would benefit from a cross-functional shift in sales or operations to gain various perspectives of the business enable you to take on a general management role in the future.
After you hit your peak within the corporate world, consider careers such as Executive Coaching where the focus remains on guiding people.
Focus on what you are best at doing, and what you love.
To learn more about this type of thinking, you should explore my new book, Beloved Brands.
With Beloved Brands, you will learn everything you need to know so you can build a brand that your consumers will love.
You will learn how to think strategically, define your brand with a positioning statement and a brand idea, write a brand plan everyone can follow, inspire smart and creative marketing execution and analyze the performance of your brand through a deep-dive business review.
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Beloved Brands: Who are we?
At Beloved Brands, our purpose is to help brands find a new pathway to growth. We believe that the more love your brand can generate with your most cherished consumers, the more power, growth, and profitability you will realize in the future.
We think the best solutions are likely inside you already, but struggle to come out. Our unique playbook tools are the backbone of our workshops. We bring our challenging voice to help you make decisions and refine every potential idea.
We start by defining a brand positioning statement, outlining the desired target, consumer benefits and support points the brand will stand behind. And then, we build a brand idea that is simple and unique enough to stand out in the clutter of the market, motivating enough to get consumers to engage, buy and build a loyal following with your brand.
We will help you write a strategic brand plan for the future, to get everyone in your organization to follow. It starts with an inspiring vision that pushes your team to imagine a brighter future. We use our strategic thinking tools to help you make strategic choices on where to allocate your brand’s limited resources.
Our brand playbook methodology will challenge you to unlock future growth for your brand
- Our deep-dive assessment process will give you the knowledge of the issues facing your brand, so you can build a smart plan to unleash future growth.
- Find a winning brand positioning statement that motivates consumers to buy, and gives you a competitive advantage to drive future growth.
- Create a brand idea to capture the minds and hearts of consumers, while inspiring and focusing your team to deliver greatness on the brand’s behalf.
- Build a brand plan to help you make smart focused decisions, so you can organize, steer, and inspire your team towards higher growth.
- Advise on advertising, to find creative that drives branded breakthrough and use a motivating messaging to set up long-term brand growth.
- Our brand training program will make your brand leaders smarter, so you have added confidence in their performance to drive brand growth.
To learn more about our coaching, click on this link: Beloved Brands Strategic Coaching
To learn more about our training programs, click on this link: Beloved Brands Training
If you need our help, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 416 885 3911
You have my personal promise to help you solve your brand building challenges. I will give you new thinking, so you can unlock future growth for your brand.
Founder and CMO, Beloved Brands Inc.