John Ellett has written a great article on Texas CEO magazine about the qualities that make up leadership in the marketing function. What struck me is that so often in the MR industry it appears that many of the leaders of MR organizations do not evidence these qualities. Many of the leaders in MR are researchers, not marketers, and the skill sets and personal characteristics necessary for success in those two backgrounds are very different. As an industry, we have done a very poor job of marketing ourselves, and no wonder; it just doesn’t come naturally to many of us attracted to MR!
I won’t list all of John’s eight core qualities, but one bears repeating here:
Both-brained: Most great marketing leaders are both left-brained and right-brained, analytical and creative. They bring science and financial sense to the discipline as well as art and intuition. This allows them to be both rigorous about ROI and passionate about your brand.
If the MR industry has any hope of navigating the transformative period we are in successfully, we’ll need more people like this to make it happen. If we are not attracting them naturally, smart companies will have to go outside of the industry to find them, and build a culture that will keep them. I would posit that one of the central challenges the industry faces is to find new leaders to help us reinvent the industry. Companies that want to be here five to ten years from now better start looking for these folks now.