Many senior marketers often confuse between doing marketing and leading marketing. Various global surveys found that the latter outperforms the former. Leadership as a marketing strategy plays a key role; in many cases it defines and narrates the future of an organisation. However, this is not the typical leadership here; it’s much more than just [...]

Business Times

How marketers should lead themselves and others


Many senior marketers often confuse between doing marketing and leading marketing. Various global surveys found that the latter outperforms the former. Leadership as a marketing strategy plays a key role; in many cases it defines and narrates the future of an organisation. However, this is not the typical leadership here; it’s much more than just building and leading a great team- it’s more about understanding and leading your boss and colleagues. For instance, if one has simply given up or given in, not persevering what he or she believes- to see the opportunity lying ahead and convincing the board and shareholders- many brands and organisations wouldn’t have existed today. Not just those who understand evolving needs of customers and has brilliant ideas and plans but rather to take in rejections and persevere, exerting a bold leadership internally especially when everyone else says the otherwise.

And I believe that marketers truly have the gift of this trait as naturally they are all about looking towards the future where much of it is uncertain. Successful marketers do not just know marketing well but also know how to convince people, change their perspectives and mindset, and build a solid case to be autonomous and continuously transform, by thinking and acting authentically. They also work with the rest of their colleagues across the business, resulting in a clearer picture as to what both sides expect, and go about to close all gaps that exist whether its powerplay, trust or skills. The skills to lead marketing can be learnt, and organisations need to identify and develop their marketers in this.

Focus on the purpose, not the requests

As marketers one could easily get attracted to all the fancy creative marketing campaigns, expansions or product launches, or a series of internal events and meetings, and be all about fulfilling requests from their bosses or colleagues. Whilst doing so, one should also be able to look back and learn the story behind the organisation and understand its true purpose, possibly more than its founders themselves. And go beyond than adding meaning to carry a more ‘meaningful purpose’ philosophy. Wisdom plays a key role and the ability and time to reflect now and then despite the busy schedules. Unfortunately, even some of the C-Suites cannot tell what their vision and mission is, and some say it with much thought and clutter.

Embrace the age of hyper-individualization, not personalisation

Customers today seek what is unique to them or a certain group they like to belong to. They expect quick solutions be delivered at the exact place and at the right time, whether it is some information or product they seek. Successful marketers, who are constantly learning about evolving technologies and its potential and impact, truly understand how customers are increasingly engaging with their brands on a highly personal level. They go onto interact with customers as individuals and have a knack to know about their interests and desires. This immensely helps, and mostly even defines the future of a brand, whether it’s heading in the right direction. This shows that you are actively and proactively listening to them, garnering trust and relevance. Loyalty is often a term that is being overlooked, and it is by far the single most important factor towards growth and survival.

Surroundings matter,
not circles

No matter the hundreds and thousands of circles you have as an outgoing marketer, your immediate and daily surroundings matter a lot. What I am about to say might sound out of a philosophical book, but it is probably the truest thing possible. Every authority on leadership, happiness, motivation and so on say these similar lines. Surround yourself with things and people beyond just interactions to that which will give you reminders about self-awareness, the ability to listen to understand more than just listening to respond and having a mindset that thinks progress and a win-win for every individual and situation you come across. Having a mindset that seeks knowledge and learning is crucial to succeed in its true essence. The moment you clock a know-it-all attitude, you are closing all doors. No matter how complex things are, there is always a simplification in everything we do or want to do.

Say it depends, do not make promises

Many marketers come onboard or take on tasks by giving themselves into the pre-determined goals or objectives of the department or organisation. And many get disappointed and simply quit if these are not achieved. Any successful marketer knows that the entire job discipline is based on a future-orientated approach, and those who take it otherwise really are dinosaurs. Past should only be to learn lessons, look for signals, and take calculative, proactive measures for the future. Not as something to be prideful for or confident to a degree that you have set your bar so high. Yes, as marketers we do like colourful appreciations and recognitions, but not at the cost of the aptitude for continuous learning and development. Keep learning, and making as much as insignificant trials and errors, and never be stagnated after having reached a certain level or status. Today, the environment is constantly changing more than ever before, and so is the shortening of time and space.

Be ethical, don’t give in

It is unfortunate that many marketers are not even aware of the code of ethics or code of conduct developed for their discipline by many organisations in this regard. The way you carry on yourself, your character and conduct, your intentions and interactions, your strategies and solutions, your plans and policies; all of these have a big impact on the future narratives not just from marketing or business aspect, but more so from a societal perspective. As responsible marketers we should indulge ourselves in the values and principles that promotes good and moderate human behaviour, and not exploiting their psyche or the infinite needs and desires. Knowing human psychology in view of the consumers and shareholders is part and parcel of a marketer’s knowledge and skills, but what really matters is how you use it in a world that is off balance with many noises and temptations.

(The writer is a professional marketing and strategy consultant and founder of Mark and Comm Ltd)

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