I absolutely loved reading this article and it got me reflecting on the numerous marketing leadership roles I have successfully worked on.
In most of these cases my brief has been to find a director who can revolutionise the manufacturers approach. Often these are "game changing" investments for the business.
Through these assignments, I have observed various issues and areas that clients are not altogether aware of. By and large this is due to building products (and the wider built environment) clients driving investment into a strategic leader that they have not had before. They, therefore, often do not fully appreciate what "good" looks like. These include:
- Does the client genuinely know what they are looking for? Marketing is a broad discipline and a strong Marketing Director will influence many areas of the business. Discuss this with a trusted source ahead of drawing up a brief - you will miss core skills off or transversely have a wish list leading to utopia - this, rather inevitably, will result in wasted time and disappointment
- As Lauren outlines in the below article, why does your marketing leader have to come from the industry? I appreciate an understanding of the supply chain nuances does help but sourcing from wider industries leads to great innovation and adoption of best practice, not always observed from within the sector
- What is the boardrooms genuine hunger for change and what is the likely reaction from the company's departments. This person will want change. S/he will need resource and the authority to lead change from the boardroom. Have these areas for change been loosely formulated prior to moving forward with a search?
- A newly employed marketing leader will have to be a strong people person. This is often a second thought for MD's and HR Directors. Given our industry, this person will inevitably come up against resistance from employees they need to get onside with. This is especially true within sales and technical; two departments this marketer will have to work closely with in changing their approaches to what the customer / market wants. Intelligence from sales and the recording of it in an ordinarily fashion is often an area this person will want to change imminently upon joining. Both of these departments are often littered with longstanding, respected employees who simply do not understand the positive impact a fresh marketing strategy can bring
- Numerous times I have taken a brief from a client wishing to revolutionise their digital marketing initiatives. Why? Is it because that is what thought leaders tell us to do. What is your digital strategy? What ROI do you expect to achieve from this push? Are there distinct platforms you need this person to be a guru in?
- This one is a classic. MD's and HR Directors who have honed in on one of two interviewees but after second interview stage feel the candidate's personality will not necessarily mix with the senior teams. I may get lambasted for this but marketing people are often gregarious, animated, colourful individuals (after all, a portion of their work is creative). The building material market place is, by and large, made up of grounded, personable, black and white people (heck, that is part of the reason I like it so much). Boards need to accept marketers can and are often slightly different in their approach
“We are aware you come from a retail marketing background. We have seen your work, entertaining and adventurous.” There is a slight pause and a sign of concern. “We sell wood. It is quite bland. Why are you interviewing for a contract with us?”