We live and work in a region where there are still relatively few Marketers at Executive Board level. In fact, there are fewer Marketing Directors than HR Directors. This may reflect the perception that HR – in its traditional role of controlling the workforce – is more deserving of a seat at the top table than those charged with promoting the business. If so, both parts of that perception are wrong. Companies need HR leaders attuned to the company’s promise to the market, and able to recruit and develop staff to deliver it. But they also need senior marketers; able to represent the consumer point of view at Board level.
When I talk to Managing Directors in Africa, their biggest criticism of the Marketing fraternity seems to be a lack of commercial acumen. Marketers have a reputation of being good act activity, but not so hot on productivity. Happy to spend money; but not too keen to be held to account for it.
The issue is not local. Commenting on the global profession, Professor Mark Ritson of Melbourne Business School is forthright: “I remain convinced that most marketers don’t really understand gross margin and variable costs. They live in a bull***t bubble.”
So how can Marketers rise to greatness? What skills and attributes do they need to develop on the journey?
I must admit that looking for answers in Marketing Week’s ‘Anatomy of a Leader’ research study was unrewarding. Perhaps because 600 UK marketers were sampled; but no opinions sought from senior colleagues in other disciplines. Continue reading