As Marketers manage their Career, they assess your skills, behaviors, and experiences, to figure out where the gaps that you should address. Marketers must build their capability around key skill areas strategy, analytics, positioning, planning, and execution. The best marketers must exhibit leadership behaviors that take ownership and inspire others. And, they run their business as an owner. They can exhibit broad leadership across the entire organization. Finally, many of the more complicated areas of marketing take experience. Over the years, I found myself saying “you almost screw up the first five times, you…” And, I started to realize, that message fit with advertising, managing others, brand planning, launching new brands, and leading beyond your own team.
Nail the obvious
Let me start with the expected behaviors for success at any level of Marketing. Trust me, if you do not hit these, you will likely annoy someone enough to get rid of you. These are non-negotiable and if you miss continuously, they could become potentially career-limiting moves.
Never look out of control or sloppy. Marketers have enough to do, that if you begin to miss deadlines, things will just stockpile on each other. Do not try to constantly negotiate extensions. There are no extensions, just missed opportunities.
Know your business:
Avoid getting caught off-guard with questions that you cannot answer, such as P&L (sales, growth, margins, spend) market share (latest 52, 12, 4 weeks for your brand all major competitors) and your sales forecasts. Make sure you are asking the questions and carrying forward the knowledge.
Be open with communication:
There should be no surprises, especially with your boss. Keep everyone aware of what’s going on. When you communicate upwards, always have the situation, implications, options and then quickly followed by an action plan of what to do with it.
Listen and then decide:
It is crucial that you seek to understand to the experts surrounding you before you make a decision. Early in your career, use your subject matter experts to teach you. As you hit director or VP, use them as an advisor or a sounding board to issues/ideas. They do want you to lead them, so it is important that you listen and then give direction or push them towards the end path.
Take control of your destiny:
We run the brands, they do not run us. Be slightly ahead of the game, not chasing your work to completion. Proactively look for opportunities in the market, and work quickly to take advantage. When you don’t know something, speak in an “asking way”, but when you know, speak in a “telling way”.
Able to use regular feedback for growth:
Always seek out and accept feedback, good or bad, as a lesson for you. Do not think of it as a personal attack or setback. Identify gaps you can close, never think of them as weaknesses that hold you back. You should be constantly striving to get better.
The crucial marketing skills
At Beloved Brands, we use a 360-degree view, where you need to be able to analyze, think, define, plan and then execute. And then repeat.
1. Analyze performance
- Digs deep into data and draws comparisons to build out a story toward the business conclusion
- Able to lead a best-in-class 360-degree deep-dive business review for the brand
- Understands all sources of brand data—share, brand funnel, consumption, financials
- Writes analytical performance reports that outline the strategic implications
2. Think Strategically
- Thinks strategically, by asking the right interruptive questions before reaching for solutions
- 360-degree strategic thinking: core strength, consumers, competitors, situation, engagement
- Able to lead a well-thought strategic discussion across the organization
- Makes smart strategic decisions based on vision, focus, opportunity, early win, and leverage
3. Define the brand
- Defines ideal consumer target, framed with need states, insights and enemies
- Consumer-centric approach to turn brand features into functional and emotional benefits
- Finds winning brand positioning space that is own-able and motivates consumers
- Develops a big idea for the brand that can lead every consumer touchpoint
4. Create Brand Plans
- Leads all elements of a smart brand plan; vision, purpose, goals, issues, strategies, tactics.
- Turns strategic thinking into smart strategic objective statements for the brand plan
- Strong in presenting brand plans to senior management and across the organization
- Develops smart execution plans that deliver against the brand strategies
5. Inspire creative execution
- Writes strategic, focused and thorough creative briefs to inspire great work from experts
- Can lead all marketing projects on brand communication, innovation, selling or experience
- Able to inspire greatness from teams of experts at agencies or throughout the organization
- Makes smart marketing execution decisions that tighten the bond with consumers
Taking this a step further, you can use the assessment tool to identify gaps in your team.
The leader behaviors Marketers need
1. Accountable for results
- Holds everyone accountable to the goals of their tasks
- Makes it happen, get things done, don’t let details/timeline slip
- Stays on strategy, eliminates ideas that are not focused against vision/strategy.
- Works the system behind the brand, from sales to finance to operations to HR
2. People leadership
- Manages core team: focus, communication, solutions, results, let others shine.
- Interested in their people’s development and career development
- Coaches, teaches, guides the team for higher performance.
- Provides honest assessments to their people and upwards.
3. Broad influence
- Active listener, seeks opinions, makes decisions, owns strategy.
- Controls brand strategy, yet flexible to new ideas on the execution.
- Carries influence throughout organization.
- Thinks of others beyond themselves, empathy to pressures/challenges others are facing.
4. Authentic style
- Aware of their impact on others within and beyond their team.
- Exhibits leadership under pressure: results, ambiguity, change, deadlines.
- Consistency in leadership in how they show up.
- Flexibility in leadership: admits mistakes, challenges self, adjusts to new ways.
5. Runs business like an owner
- Acts like a ‘Brand CEO’ accountable to the long-range health and profits of the business.
- Makes smart decisions that adds to the health of brand, not their career or personal wealth.
- Makes the right choices, good for the company, consumers, customers, market, society.
- Lives and breathes the culture of those who work behind the scenes of the brand.
The necessary experiences for Marketers
Many of the hardest experiences a Marketer must go through almost takes 3-5 opportunities for the Brand Leader to really nail. I remember how challenging it was for me the first time I launched a new advertising campaign. Can I confess now that it was a complete disaster? I had no clue what the major steps were and no one on my side who could teach me. I was lucky that my client service person helped me through every step. Over the years, I would get better and better, learning something new each time. I then struggled the first time I managed a person for the first time. Then I struggled to launch a new brand. It is starting to sound like I was a disaster at everything. Well, I might be over-exaggerating, but I can tell you that i got better each time. And you will as well.
The experiences that Marketers need to learn at each stage of the way include:
Write Brand Plans:
Writing a brand plan takes experience. I recommend you should learn some of the same skills through writing brand recommendations, writing a brand review or writing a section of the brand plan.
Leading a Brand Turnaround:
When the results are not meetings the expectations of the business, the pressure goes up exponentially and the scrutiny intensifies. If there is a hint of concern, senior leaders will roll up their sleeves and get involved.
Launching new advertising:
Launching a big new campaign from scratch involves a lot of crucial steps to manage while dealing with the ambiguity of what makes a great creative and smart media choices. On top of that, it is essential to keep the agency motivated while keeping your boss aligned.
Managing a team:
Managing can be such a challenge that when I worked at J&J, when we promoted someone to Brand Manager, we usually tried to avoid giving them a direct report. Most people mess up their first direct report. A similar pattern happens: excited to have someone do the little stuff they hate doing, then the person struggles so the manager does it themselves and gets mad at the person who can’t do it, then begins to think their direct report is incompetent. On the other hand, the direct report thinks their boss refuses to train them, gives them little feedback and is a control freak.
Firing a Marketer:
This sounds like a strange experience to put on the list, but it is one of the most difficult decisions you will have to make. I wish you never would have to fire one, but the reality is that you will. To make sure you are making the right decision, you really need to understand the role and be able to measure that person against the criteria for what they can and cannot do.
Launching a new brand:
While managing a brand is difficult enough, creating a brand from scratch involves every element of marketing from the concept to the product to naming to production, selling, shipping, advertising, displaying, promoting, and analyzing the performance. You better be great at Marketing before taking on a launch from scratch.
Leading across the organization:
As you move into more senior leadership roles, a great way to extend your breadth across the organization is to take on more cross-functional roles, whether special projects or moving into a cross-functional role. This allows you to begin seeing every corner of the organization through the eyes of other team players in sales, HR, operations, and finance.
Here is a tool to track your experiences from an entry-level up to a senior role. I tell Marketers that you should try to have a good balance as you move up, so you can avoid having any experience gaps when you hit a senior level.
To learn more about this type of thinking, Marketers 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 email@example.com 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.