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Successful Careers in Marketing  FREE DOWNLOAD
Successful Careers in Marketing  FREE DOWNLOAD
Successful Careers in Marketing  FREE DOWNLOAD
Successful Careers in Marketing  FREE DOWNLOAD
Successful Careers in Marketing  FREE DOWNLOAD
Successful Careers in Marketing  FREE DOWNLOAD
Successful Careers in Marketing  FREE DOWNLOAD
Successful Careers in Marketing  FREE DOWNLOAD
Successful Careers in Marketing  FREE DOWNLOAD
Successful Careers in Marketing  FREE DOWNLOAD
Successful Careers in Marketing  FREE DOWNLOAD
Successful Careers in Marketing  FREE DOWNLOAD
Successful Careers in Marketing  FREE DOWNLOAD
Successful Careers in Marketing  FREE DOWNLOAD
Successful Careers in Marketing  FREE DOWNLOAD
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Successful Careers in Marketing FREE DOWNLOAD

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18 page description of the classic roles of marketing that range from Assistant Brand Manager, Brand Manager, Director and VP of Marketing

18 page description of the classic roles of marketing that range from Assistant Brand Manager, Brand Manager, Director and VP of Marketing

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  • 1. Graham Robertson | President of Beloved Brands Inc. WHITE PAPER HELPING YOUR TEAM HAVE A SUCCESSFUL CAREER IN MARKETING
  • 2. The more loved the Brand, the More Valuable the Brand Visit the blog at beloved-brands.com Having a Successful Career in Marketing At every level you have to adjust to the new role. Brand Managers fail when they keep acting like ABMs and Directors fail when they keep acting like Brand Managers and VPs fail when they don’t know what to do. In a classic marketing team, the four key roles are Assistant Brand Manager up to Brand Manager then up to Marketing Director and on to the VP Marketing role. In simple terms of the roles: Assistant Brand Manager:It’s about doing; analyzing and sending signals you have leadership skills for the future. It’s not an easy job and only 50% get promoted to Brand Manager. Brand Manager:It becomes about ownership and strategic thinking within your brand plan. Most Brand Managers are honestly a disaster with their first direct report, and get better around the fifth report. The good ones let the ABM do theirjob; the bad ones jump in too much, frustrated and impatient rather than acting as a teacher. Marketing Director:It’s more about managing and leading than it does about thinking and doing. Your role is to set the standard and then hold everyone to that standard. To be great, you need to motivate the greatness from your team and let your best players to do their absolute best. Let your best people shine, grow and push you. VP Marketing:It’s about leadership, vision and getting the most from people. If you are good at it, you won’t need to do any marketing, other than challenging and guiding your people to do their best work. You have to deliver the results, and very few figure out the equation that the better the people means the better the work and in the end the better the results. Invest in training as a way to motivate your team and keep them engaged. Use teaching moments to share your wisdom. One thing to keep in mind is the Idiot Curve which shows up at every level. The basic rule of the Idiot Curve is: You get dumber before you get smarter. When you first land the ABM job, there's just so much to learn, it's like drinking from a fire hose. I find it takes 3 months to get back to being just as smart as you were on the first day. It's over-whelming at first, and yet you see all these other ABMs doing it so that's even more intimidating. But the idiot curve is inevitable. It just shows up differently for each person. No matter how hard you fight it, you have to ride the curve. (But, please fight through the curve; you have to for your survival) The Idiot Curve normally lasts up to 3 months, and then things just start to click. And you’ll experience it in a new and exciting way you can’t even predict. But the Idiot Curve shows up again in the first few months of each level. In the first few months as a Brand Manager, they keep doing the ABM role because that’s what they know. They frustrate the hell out of their ABM. They keep
  • 3. The more loved the Brand, the More Valuable the Brand Visit the blog at beloved-brands.com recommending and acting small rather than start deciding and stepping up to the leadership role. At the Director role, they continue to be the Brand Manager. They get nervous where they shouldn’t, whether it’s with senior people in other functions or even within marketing. They prefer to keep doing, and in those moment there is nothing ―to do‖, they walk around and start doing other people’s jobs. At the VP level,the first few months are lonely as you no longer have peers you can bounce ideas off. Your peers assume you can do the job, and they don`t want to hear your problems. At each level, you secretly feel like an Idiot. You don’t want it to show, but in a way, you should use it to your advantage. There are core marketing values you should instill and use throughout your career: 1. Be Consumer Focused: Everything Starts and Ends With the Consumer in Mind. Put yourself in the shoes of the consumer and think like them. Steve Jobs said he never needed research, but he must have been amazing at listening, observing and anticipating how the consumer would react. I'd still recommend you do research, but go beyond the statistics of the research and learn how your consumer thinks. Whenever I go to focus groups, I watch their faces. And when the research results come back you always have to ask "so now what do we do". The research helps you, but never gives you the exact answer.Match up the needs of the consumer to your brand assets to figure out your ideal brand positioning. The best marketers represent the consumer to the brand, NOT the brand to the consumer. I always believe that consumers are selfish and deservedly so because they have money to spend. As a consumer, I don't care what you do until you care about what I need. Focus on them, not on you. 2. Follow Your Instincts: Gut Feel of Marketing:Listen to your inner thoughts, they are in there. Too many times people fail because ―they went along with it even though they didn't like it‖. The problem is that sometimes your instincts are hidden away. You get confused, you feel the pressure to get things done and you've got everyone telling you to go for it. You get scared because you're worried about getting promoted and want to do the 'right thing'. But your gut is telling you it's just not right. My rule is simple: if you don't love the work, how do you expect the consumer to love your brand. The worst type of marketer is someone who says "I never liked the brief" or "I never liked the ad". If you blame your agency or team after the fact, I have a word for people like you: "useless". 3. Revel in Ambiguity: Be Patient with Ideas. Never be afraid of an idea and never kill it quickly. Watch the signals you send that make suck the creativity out of your team. If you become too predictable to your team, then your work in the market will also become predictable. Ambiguity and time pressure usually work against each other. Don't ever settle for "ok" just because of a deadline. Always push for great. What I have found is the longer I can stay comfortable in the ―ambiguity zone‖ the better the ideas get whether it’s the time pressure that forces our thinking to be simpler or whether it’s the performance pressure forces us to push for our best idea, I always say, the longer I can hold my breath, the better the work gets. 4. You Run the Brand, Don't Let the Brand Run You: Be thoroughly organized, well planned and know the pulse of your business. Every six months, I would find a quiet time to answer five key questions that would help me stay aware: 1) Where are we? 2) Why are we here? 3) Where could we be? 4) How can we get there? and 5) What do we have to do to get started? In an odd way, the more planning you do, the more agile you’ll be, because you’ll know when it’s ok to ―go off plan‖Stay in Control: Hit the Deadlines, don't give the appearance that you're not in control. We have enough to do, that things will just stockpile on each other. Know Your Business and don't get caught off-guard. Make sure you are asking the questions and carrying forward the knowledge. Enjoy doing the monthly report because it makes you the most knowledgeable about the brand. Stay conceptual;avoid getting stuck in the pennies or decimals.Process should enable us, not hinder us: A good process can force your thinking towards a solution. If it restricts
  • 4. The more loved the Brand, the More Valuable the Brand Visit the blog at beloved-brands.com your thinking, it’s not a good process. But if it means, you free up your time for strategic thinking, instead of format thinking, we’ll move much faster. 5. Be the Brand Leader not the Follower: The more you keep your boss informed the more rope they may give you. If they don't know what you're doing, they may clamp down and micro-manage you. . Ensure a policy of open communication with no surprises: Make sure you keep your team informed and involved. Keep senior management informed.You must be the champion of the brand. The best ideas are those that erupt out from the brand team--not from a top down perspective. You have to be a self-starter that pushes your idea through the system, in the face of resistance or doubt. And you will meet resistance from so many people in the system. All the best work I ever did met a large degree of resistance. You have to anticipate this and work through it.One subtlety to ownership is your tone. When you don’t know something, speak in an ―asking way‖ and openly seek out the wisdom and advice of your agency, your manager or your peers. Put your ego aside and listen. But equally, when you do know the answer, speak in a "telling way" that gets others to follow you, including senior management. 6. Speed, Simplicity and Self Confidence: a) Speed: We don’t do things fast for the sake of it; we do things fast so we can take advantage of opportunities that have a window. If you recognize an opportunity, realize that others are also recognizing the same opportunity. So speed to market can enable you to win before they get there. Also, doing things fast does not mean sloppy.b) Simplicity: I’ve always said, ―If you have a complex answer to something, odds are you are wrong‖. Keep it simple enough to explain, and so that the people who need to execute our ideas can really execute them.c)Self Confidence: As the brand leader, speak your mind. After all, we are all just walking opinions. Find a way within your leadership style to engage your team, agency or your boss in a debate to get to better answers. How to be a Successful Assistant Brand Manager In my 20 years of CPG marketing, I must have interviewed 1,000s of potential Assistant Brand Managers. I was lucky to have hired some of the best, who have gone on to have very strong marketing careers. I became notorious for asking some of the toughest questions, some even bizarre. I always asked an analytical question to see if they could piece together lots of data and tell a story that made sense. I'd ask a creative question to see if they had a certain flare and pride in the output. I'd ask a problem solving question, some very hard, no real right answer, but I wanted to see how they actually think. And finally, I wanted to know that they had done something at a very high level--it didn't matter what--but I wanted to know they could make it happen, whatever it was in. Getting that first ABM job is NOT EASY! I had many failed interviews over the years that I began to wonder if it would ever happen. I remember one interview ended after about 8 minutes when she found out I didn't have any experience. Thank god, I stuck with it. But even after gruelling interviews, only about 50% of Assistant Brand Managers get promoted to Brand Manager. So what separates the ok ABM from the great ABM that gets promoted? There are two factors that I have seen in a consistent manner: #1: They get what they need and #2: What they need is the right thing to do. Very simply put, great ABMs get both. The rest either fail on #1 or #2.
  • 5. The more loved the Brand, the More Valuable the Brand Visit the blog at beloved-brands.com The Five Factors that Separate Ok ABMs from the Great ABMs are: 1. A great ABM is able to tell stories, where others just see data: There is tons of data all over—share results, tracking, test scores, etc. One of the most critical skills an ABM can work on is developing stories with the data. It’s one thing to have the data point, but another to have thought it through and know what it means, and what action you will take on this data. When you come across data, the best thing you can do is look for patterns or data breaks, try to twist the data in different ways to see if you keep getting the same story, ask questions to find back up, start putting together stories and challenge the stories. Never give a data point without a story or action. You risk letting someone else take your data and run with it. Never fear bad data, as long as you have an action plan. Never twist the data to tell a story, because if it’s challenged, the whole story crumbles with it. This skill is one that you carry with you as you move upwards in marketing. In fact, the more practice you have, the faster you’ll become. 2. A great ABM takes action and moves before being asked: Most of the projects are already set for an ABM, so many times; it’s comfortable to wait, ask the right questions and proceed. That’s good for learning, but a bit too cautious. Some of the best ideas come with a fresh set of eyes. We need a continual influx of new ideas and even new ways of seeing things. You need to push your ideas into the system. While it’s still key to communicate to the right stakeholders, you should be pushing your ideas into the system, which almost creates new projects. Don’t get into the mode of waiting or figuring that’s not within your job scope. 3. A great ABM can get what they want: It’s obvious that project management is a big part of being an ABM. But, instead of just functionally managing the steps of the project, you need to make it happen, faster, bigger and better. In terms of speed, you need to understand what the important milestones that need to be hit are. Always think in terms of key bottle necks. Bottle necks are simply the task that has the longest completion time, which then impacts the entire project. If you let this slip, the entire project slips. This has to be managed in detail, but also many times with an inflexible fist to getting it done. Bigger means you want to do more than is required. Make the work zing, find the wow factor, and make it have a bigger impact then was expected. Better means you have to take the same people and get them to give their best ideas or their best effort or their best work. Guaranteed you will meet many points of resistance. Every project will. Solving these and still getting the most you can, is the separation of good from great. 4. A great ABM puts their strategic thoughts forward. All great ideas must flow upwards. Most people tend to think they are ―strategic‖…and they tell me that all the time. After all these years, I’m still not even sure what that means. But I do know there is a big difference between thinking strategically, and contributing strategically. You need to be in the frame to challenge thinking, whether it comes from your agency, cross functional peers or me. It’s important that you speak up and represent your thinking. Standing up for your thoughts shows that you are in the game, that you are thinking, and that you believe in your strategic thoughts. If you don’t stand up for your thoughts, then it doesn’t really matter does it? Also, it’s so easy to get lost in the daily executions, but you have to be constantly thinking. Keeping things aligned to the strategic is just as important as being strategic. 5. A great ABM is accountable in the ownership of their work: Accountability is the stepping stone to ownership. And ownership is what being a Brand Manager is all about. You cannot let things slip or miss. Many times, the devil is in the details. You have to stay on top of the timelines and lead those on your project teams. If you have to step in, and work hand in hand with an expert then jump in. You have to be action oriented, and solution focused. You can never allow your team to get stuck. They will be looking to you for the ingenuity to help solve the problem. Maintain the composure, ask questions and learn to revel in the ambiguity. You have to be the hub of communication to all team members, and to key stakeholders, including upwards.
  • 6. The more loved the Brand, the More Valuable the Brand Visit the blog at beloved-brands.com If you can do those better than your peers, then you'll get promoted. Conversely, if you're missing any one of these, you might not get there. I hope your boss gives you a quarterly review because I believe ABMs can grow so fast that you need those regular check-ins. If you just get an annual review, you won't go as fast. Ask for feedback, cherish it, and use the next 90 days to build on a strength or eliminate a gap. Here are the top 10 reasons why ABMs fail: 1. They can't do the analytical story tell. They fail to turn monthly share reports into stories that can travel up the organization. Their deep dive analysis is either too complicated that no one can follow the story or too shallow that they only do the "surface cleaning" type analysis that never really finds the real insight, just what we already know. 2. They struggle to deal with the ambiguity of marketing. The ambiguity boxes them in where they can't think differently about a problem or it causes them personal stress. They come up with solutions to get out of ambiguity rather than reveling in the ambiguity to find the best solution. I once asked a candidate "how do you deal with ambiguity". Her answer was "I try to organize it because no one likes ambiguity". She asked me how I deal with ambiguity and I said "I revel in it. I love it. I struggle with it. And let the ambiguity eat away at me until I find that great answer, not just settling for an answer because it gets me out of the ambiguity faster." 3. They are slow at moving projects through. They struggle to make it happen: could be that they are indecisive, not productive, disorganized or can't work through others. They are frustratingly slow for others. They keep missing the small milestones causing the team to miss the deadlines. In some cases, it's not whether you are slow or fast, but really are you slower than your peers? 4. They selfishly think about themselves. This becomes the leadership derailer. It's about ego, gossip, over-stepping their role, going above heads politically. Highly political, but not really politically astute. Not a team player with peers or cross functional players. The system has a way of isolating these people. This raises a red flag for future leadership roles. 5. They don't work well through others. Conflicts, teamwork issues, communication. The odd thing about an ABM is you must work through a group of subject matter experts (SME's) who know what they are doing, and you're relying on these same people to teach you how to be a good ABM. Your supply manager will teach you about forecasting, packaging approvals and even design tricks. Your finance manager can teach you about accounting and the key indicators management looks for. Your promo manager or trade marketers will teach you about customers, sales people etc. If you don't use these people to enhance your skill, you'll eventually crash and burn. The collection of SME's will likely teach you more about marketing than your boss will. And if they can't work with you, they'll also be the first to destroy your career. 6. They miss answers by not being flexible. They fail to find the balance between what the head thinks, what your heart feels or even what the gut tells you. When an ABM is questioned, a senior manager can tell if they have struggled enough with a problem to get to the rich solution or whether they just did the adequate thinking to get to an "ok" solution. The style of a good senior manager's questions is not always information gathering but rather designed to poke holes in the story to see that the deep rich thinking and even the appropriate struggling has gone on. 7. They fall for tactical programs that are off strategy. This becomes a tell-tale sign that they won't make it to Brand Manager, where you will own the strategy. They deviate from the strategy to choose the coolest tactic that has nothing to do with the goals or strategy. You become the great executor, but not the thinker needed. Marketing is a balance of strategy and execution.
  • 7. The more loved the Brand, the More Valuable the Brand Visit the blog at beloved-brands.com 8. They hold back from making contributions to the team strategy. Just a do-er. They don't proactively provide a point of view on strategy. They don't show the ownership needed to become a brand manager and people start to wonder if it's in there or not. 9. They settle for "good" rather than pushing for "great". While ABM jobs are executional, if there becomes a pattern where they just take the "ok" ideas, it begins to look as they don't care enough. If they aren't passionate enough to push back, will they be able to do so later in their career. 10. They are poor communicators, with manager, senior management or partners. They fail to adequately warn their boss when there’s a potential problem. They leave their manager in the dark. They confuse partners because they don't keep them aware of what's going on. The big question is what you do about it. On day 1, everyone has all ten of these de-railers, some that you can easily over-come but others will take the full two to three years to really fix. What really separates "great" from the "ok" is what you're willing to do with these. Those who seek out feedback, welcome it and act on it will be the successful ones. I hope that your company has a process of giving feedback or that you get lucky to have a manager that cares about your career and is willing to give you the tough feedback. But if not, seek it. Be honest with yourself and try to fix one of these per quarter. And grow into the role of Brand Manager before you get promoted. How to be a Successful Brand Manager What separates many Brand Managers is the inability and even refusal of some Brand Managers to actually rely on their instincts, instead of just the textbook answer. They get stiff and boring. And it would force me to wonder if I only promoted because they were a really good ABM. At the BM level, you tend to get so busy, so deadline focused, so scared to make a mistake that you forget to think in a confused state of ambiguity. It's not easy to sit there without the answer, but sometimes if you just wait a bit longer and keep pushing for an even better answer, it will come to you. My challenge to you: Revel in ambiguity. Enjoy the uncertainty and find the answers to the unknown. The Five Factors that Separate Good from Great are: 1. A great BM takes ownership of the brand. I’ve seen many BMs struggle with the transition from being a helper to being the owner. As you move into the job, you have to get away from the idea of having someone hand you a project list. Not only do you have to make the project list, you have to come up with the strategies from which the projects fall out of. A good owner talks in ideas in a telling sense, rather than an asking sense. It’s great to be asking questions as feelers, but realize that most are going to be looking to you for the answers. They’ll be recommending and you’ll be deciding. When managing upwards be careful of asking questions—try to stick to solutions. ―I think we should build a big bridge‖ instead of ―any ideas for how we can get over the water‖. You just gave up your ownership. I’d rather have you tell me what you want to do, and we debate from there, rather than you ask me what we should do. I’ll be better able to judge your logic, your passion and your vision. You run the brand, don't let it run you. 2. A great BM provides the vision & strategies to match up to. Vision is sometimes a hard thing to articulate. It’s sometimes easy to see times when there is a lack of vision. You have to let everyone know where you want to go. The strategy that matches becomes the road map for how to get there. As the brand owner, you become the steward of the vision and strategy. Everything that is off strategy has to be rejected and your role is to find ways to steer them back on track. It’s easy to get side-tracked by exciting programs or cool ideas, but if they are off-strategy then you've got to park that excitement. The expression of the strategy through ideas is a key skill--just as important as the strategy itself. Learn to
  • 8. The more loved the Brand, the More Valuable the Brand Visit the blog at beloved-brands.com talk in strategic stories that can frame your direction. Learn to think in terms of pillars and force your hand around 3 different areas to help achieve your strategy. Having pillars constantly grounds you back in your strategy, and is an easy way for communicating with the various functions—the people you're dealing with may only have 1 strategic pillar that matters to them personally, but seeing the other parts makes them feel as though their work is worth it. 3. A great BM spends the effort to make their ABM as good as can be. If you make your ABM better, then it reflects back on you. Too many brand managers struggle to shift from ―do-er‖ to ―coach". They think they can do it faster than their ABM, so they may as well do it and they do. The ABM really hates this. But, they think their ABM will learn the hard way, just like they did. They struggle to share the spot light, so it becomes hard to showcase the ABM. They are too busy trying to prove themselves. Keep in mind that the work of your ABM reflects 100% of who you are. This challenge forces your hand on helping to develop your ABM. Sometimes it can feel more motivating to just talk the positive stuff. But if the ABM job is a learning position, then you have to provide areas for improvement. Intuitively, you’d think the BM/ABM relationship would be constant ―negative feedback‖, but I see too many BMs afraid of going ―negative‖. You need the balance. My question is, that if you were coaching a gymnast and their ―toes weren’t straight, wouldn’t they want to know?‖ Then why are you not working on a relationship where you can get to that point. Share with them better ways for doing things—which you have learned. Spend some time teaching from your experience. 4. A great BM gets what they need. The organization is filled with groups, layers, external agencies, with everyone carrying a different set of goals and motivations. Working the system entails taking what you have learned about ownership one step further. You understand the organizational components, and then you go get what you need. Again communication becomes key—you can’t let missed communications cause angst or concerns. Also, it’s crucial that you get the best from everyone. I have found it useful upfront to ask everyone for their best work. It’s a strange step, but I have found it useful. But you have to promise them you'll support their best work. If you really have someone that’s good, you know they’ll respond to this. The good news is that only 0.1% of people ask them, so it’s not like they’ve heard it that many times. And let them know if they are or aren't there yet. 5. A Great BM Can Handle Pressure. Ambiguity is one of the hardest. This is where patience and composure come into play as you sort through the issues. The consequence of not remaining composed is you will likely make a bad decision. If the Results don’t come in, it can be frustrating. Reach for your logic as you re-group. Force yourself to course correct, rather than continuing to repeat and repeat and repeat. Relationships. Be pro-active in making the first move. Try to figure out what motivates as well as what annoys them. Most times, the common ground is not that far away. Time Pressure. It’s similar to the ambiguity. Be organized, disciplined and work the system so it doesn’t get in your way. Be calm, so you continue to make the right decisions. Love the Magic of Marketing--let it breathe and let it come to life.Don't just do the job, do it with all your passion. Love it please so we can love the work that comes from your passion. Or else just become an actuary and let someone else take your spot please.
  • 9. The more loved the Brand, the More Valuable the Brand Visit the blog at beloved-brands.com How to be a Successful Marketing Director Most people are promoted up to Brand Manager because they are really smart and have a knack for getting things done. From my experience, they get stuck at the Brand Manager level if they are bad at managing people, or can’t get along with the sales force. Promoting them up to Marketing Director just becomes too risky to the organization–they can’t afford to lose key talent, and they can’t afford to lose touch with the sales team. And most Marketing Directors fail because they can’t stop acting like a Brand Manager: too hands on, makes all the decisions, smoothers the team and never lets them have their day in the sun. The five areas that can turn a pretty good marketing director into a great one are: 1. Hold your team to a consistently high standard of work: Rather than being the leader by example, I’d rather see you establish a standard and hold everyone and yourself to that standard. . For a new director, this is one of the harder areas—how to balance the freedom you give with the standard you demand. The key is to be more process orientation than you might have been when you were Brand Manager. You need to organize the team and build in processes in a way that produces consistent output, your team hits all deadlines, stays focused and keeps things moving. But it can also show up in the quality of brand plans, execution and interactions with everyone specifically sales. Be the control point of the team, and not let slips, errors or delays show beyond the team. Delegate so you motivate your stars, but never abdicate ownership of how your team shows up. 2. Consistency in Strategic Thinking: Usually a marketing director has many brands, and isn’t necessarily writing the actual brand plans. But, it will be the director that hears from the VP, the sales and the agency what each thinks they have the solution to the plan. And yet, your brand manager has thoughts of how to make this brand better. It’s easy to spin out of control, trying to please everyone–as the director is caught among everyone. But it is actually the director who has to ground everyone, establish the brand’s direction, back up the choices it’s making and be the consistent voice of reason among the many wanting to influence the brand. Learn to challenge the strategy–let them write it–but make sure it’s put through the test before it moves beyond your desk. 3. Consistent People Leadership and Management: Newly appointed directors have to stop acting like a ―Senior Senior Brand Manager‖ and take on more leadership roles. You have to let your team breathe and grow. There are likely future super stars within the ranks. We know you can write a brand plan, roll out a promotion super-fast and make snap decisions on creative. But can you inspire your team to do the same? Junior marketers have high ambitions–constantly wanting praise, but equally seeking out advice for how to get better. Brand Managers are still learning to be brand owners, many times younger than they should be. It becomes the director’s role to manage the talent–giving equal praise and challenges for how to get better. A great Marketing Director should be meeting quarterly with each team member one on one to take them through a quarterly performance review. Waiting for year-end is just not enough. Be passionate about people’s careers–anything less they’ll see it as merely a duty you are fulfilling. Find energy in their energy. These young marketers are hungry for improvement–and if you give them quarterly feedback, they are more able to make the adjustments and grow. While the number one goal of a director is to make the year, the close #2 goal is to make the great people even better. Identify the great ones, motivate, challenge and push them. Also, be the step up when some individuals are not working out. The marketing team relies on this. 4. Consistently Showup to the Sales Team: While it’s not really acceptable for the ABMs and BMs to struggle with the sales team, it is kind of expected. But at the director level, they have to be seen as one who is willing to listen. Great sales people challenge marketers to make sure their account wins. I’ve seen many sales teams destroy the Marketing Director because they don’t listen, and they stubbornly
  • 10. The more loved the Brand, the More Valuable the Brand Visit the blog at beloved-brands.com put forward their plan without sales input. Great Marketing Directors should informally meet with all key senior sales people on a quarterly basis, to get to know them and let them know you are listening to their problems. With this forum, you’ll get more of the bubbling up of problems–not just waiting for problems to explode. If a sales people feel they’ve been heard, they are more apt to follow the director’s vision and direction. Many times, the debate can be healthy and help the sales people frame the story they need to tell with their accounts. Be the one director that consistently reaches out and listens. They’ll be in shock, and stand behind your business. 5. Consistently Deliver: A great Marketing Director hits the numbers and yet when they don’t hit them, they are the first to own it and put forward a recovery plan before being asked. They have an entrepreneurial spirit of ownership, rather than just being a corporate pencil pusher. Proactive communication upwards and with your own team. Reach out for help across the organization. Know your business and let everyone know what you know. Be the leader that makes everything perfectly transparent–everyone will follow you. So what makes a great Marketing Director? You’ll notice one word that I purposefully put in each of the 5 areas: Stay Consistent. That’s a trait I would encourage every director to take: show up with consistency in standards for your team, strategy, people management, dealings with sales and owning the numbers. With a bigger group of people, with a broader array of interactions across the organization and with a bigger business line on the P&L, anything less than consistent can really rattle the system. Your team will dread inconsistency and won’t know which leader will show up. They’ll mock your mood swings in the cafeteria. You’ll become famous but for the wrong reasons. The sales team won’t be able to rely on your word–and to them, that’s everything. Senior Leaders will struggle with you–won’t want to put you on the big important business because it just feels risky. So if you can take all your talent, all the experience you’ve gained and find that consistency in approach and leadership, and you’ll be a successful Marketing Director. How to be a Successful VP/CMO of Marketing Quintessentially, rule #1 is you have to make the Numbers. As the VP, your main role is to create demand for your brands. What’s expected of you is to gain share and drive sales growth to help drive profit for the company. The results come from making the right strategic choices, executing at a level beyond the competitors and motivating your team to do great work. But how you do it, and the balances you place in key areas are choices you need to make. Making the numbers gives you more freedom on how you wish to run things. Without the numbers, the rest might not matter. When I was an ABM, I had to write the dreaded monthly share and sales report. Many times, I’d be writing that up to 1am. At that time, I said I can’t wait till I get promoted so I never have to write this again. At the Brand Manager level, I edited my ABM’s report. But when I moved up to Director, I started to feel out of touch so I decided I would write my own monthly report–digging into the sales and share to tell the story. I kept doing it, even when I moved up to VP, and really feel I benefited from this practice. No one asked me to do it, but it sure helped me to own the results. Might feel like a small point, but it wasn’t for me. To me, it was a competitive advantage.
  • 11. The more loved the Brand, the More Valuable the Brand Visit the blog at beloved-brands.com Here’s my six points of advice on How to be Successful VP of Marketing. 1. While your people run the brands and the execution, you should run the P&L and essentially run all the marketing processes. You have to run the P&L and make investment choices. Bring an ROI and ROE (Return on Investment and Effort) mind set to those decisions. These choices will be one of the essentials to making the numbers and gaining more freedom in how you do the job. In terms of process, it’s always been my belief that great processes in place—brand planning, advertising, creative briefs—is not restrictive but rather provides the right freedom to your people. I’d rather my people drive all their creative energy into great work that gets in the marketplace, not trying to figure out what slide looks really cool in the brand plan presentation. I’ve worked as a Brand Manager in a marketing team without process and it was total chaos, not fun at all. 2. Focus on the People and the Results will come: The formula is simple: the better the people, the better the work and in turn the better the results. You should have a regular review of the talent with your directors. I’d encourage you to ensure there’s a systemic way to get feedback to everyone on the team, preferably on a quarterly basis. Waiting for the annual review is way too late and almost negligent as a leader. Your people have the potential to grow with feedback. But without feedback, they’ll be confused and even frustrated. You should invest in training and development. Marketing Training is not just on the job, but also in the classroom to challenge their thinking and give them added skills to be better in their jobs. Marketing fundamentals matter. And the classic fundamentals are falling, whether it is strategic thinking, writing a brand plan, writing a creative brief or judging great advertising. People are NOT getting the same development they did in prior generations. Investing in training, not only makes them better, but it is also motivating for them to know that you are investing in them. And that helps drive retention and commitment into producing great work and driving results. 3. Be consistent: People have to know how to act around you. You have to set up an avenue where they are comfortable enough to approach you, and be able to communicate the good and bad. A scary leader discourages people from sharing the bad results, leaving you in the dark. On the other hand, open dialogue helps you be more knowledgeable of what’s really going on, so you can run the business. Also, they have to be able to challenge you and push forward new thinking into the system. This helps your brands to stay modern, push new ideas and connect with consumers. If you push your ideas too far, you could be pushing ideas from a generation too late. Be consistent in how you think, how you act in meetings and how you approve. Inconsistent behaviour by a leader does not ―keep them on their toes‖ and create an atmosphere of ―creativity‖. It inhibits creativity, and creates tension that adds no value to the brands. People forget that leadership assumes ―followership‖ from your team. Creating a good atmosphere on the team will make people want to go the extra mile for you. Be a good listener and you’ll be surprised on what people tell you—how honest they’ll be, how much they’ll tell you. Knowledge makes you a great leader, and it starts with listening. 4. Let them own it and let them Shine: Remember when you were a Brand Manager and the passion you put into that job—the greatness you sought–drove you even harder. Now it’s time, for you to step back and let them have that same passion to do amazing work and drive the results. It has to be about them, not you. At the VP level, I used to walk into every meeting knowing that ―I knew less about the issue on the table, than anyone in the room‖. I looked for ways to support and encourage great thinking, while challenging them to reach for even better. It’s not easy to balance giving them to freedom and yet knowing when to step in and make a decision. When I was a Brand Manager, my VP once said to me ―every time I make a decision, I weaken myself‖. Honestly, I thought he was certifiably crazy, until I was in the VP role. And then it made sense. By making all the decisions, you bring yourself down a level or two and you take over their job. They’ll start to look to you to make EVERY decision and that just makes you the ―Super-Duper Brand Manager‖. Instead, knowing how to ask good questions of your team to
  • 12. The more loved the Brand, the More Valuable the Brand Visit the blog at beloved-brands.com challenge or push them into a certain direction without them knowing you’re pushing them is more enlightening than coming up with statements of direction. But on the other hand, when they put their great work up for approval, and it’s fundamentally sound, approve it. Don’t do the constant spin of pushing for better, because then you look indecisive. 5. You are the Mayor of Marketing: Bring a vision to the role. I tried to use vision statements to rally the team, almost like campaign statements. I used: ‖Everything starts and ends with the Consumer in Mind‖ to push my team to be more consumer focused. And I used: ‖If we each get better, we all get better‖ to bring a re-commitment to training and development. Look at what needs fixing on your team, and create your own vision statements that relevant to your situation. Bring a human side to the role. Get up, walk around and engage with everyone on your team. It will make someone’s day. Your role is to motivate and encourage them to do great work. Challenge them and recognize the great work. It might be my own thing, but I never said ―thank you‖ because I never thought they were doing it for me. Instead I said ―you should be proud‖ because I knew they were doing it for themselves. Influence behind the scenes to help clear some of the roadblocks in the way of their success. Know when you need to back them up, whether it’s an internal struggle they are having, selling the work into your boss or with a conflict with an agency they are struggling with. 6. It’s a rather lonely job: I remember when I first took the job as VP, I found it surprisingly a bit lonely. Everyone in marketing tries to be ―on‖ whenever you are around. And you don’t always experience the ―real‖ side of the people on your team. That’s ok. Just be ready for it. Also, the distance from your new peers (the head of sales, HR, operations or finance) is far greater than you’re used to. And it might feel daunting at first. Your peers expect you to run marketing and let them run their own functional area. And the specific problems you face, they might not appreciate or even understand the subtleties of the role. Your boss also gives you a lot of rope (good and bad) and there’s usually less coaching than you might be used to. It’s important for you to have a good mentor or even an executive coach to give you someone to talk with that understands what you’re going through. As you are coming up through the marketing roles, observe great leaders and equally watch bad leaders. I learned equally from watching both. It will help frame how you will do the job. Keep a checklist of ―when I’m in the VP role‖. Bring those into the role, and look to improve upon what your predecessor left for you. I was lucky in that my predecessor did a great job in turning around the business, giving me freedom to bring energy and passion into the role. Performance Reviews As we come up to the year-end, when we nervously sit down with our bosses and find out how the year went. For most of us, it’s one of the most dreaded parts of the job, for both those delivering and receiving the news. But helping to grow our people is one of the most essential parts of the Leader. No matter how good your strategy or product is, without the greatness of your people you’ll never achieve the results you want. We all have gaps and we should all be working on closing those gaps. Performance Feedback is an essential role in the growth of our people. But without pointing those gaps out and coming up with a plan, then the person will never really improve. A challenge to you: if there are any surprises during the meeting, then you as a leader are not doing your job. As the head of Marketing at Johnson and Johnson, I had one-on-one quarterly performance check ins with all my direct reports. And I made the Quarterly Review process mandatory for everyone on the marketing team. It’s my belief that marketers can grow faster than we think–but they can only grow with timely feedback. Those quarterly meetings were honest and informal discussions–which made the year-end review
  • 13. The more loved the Brand, the More Valuable the Brand Visit the blog at beloved-brands.com very easy. I also emailed out the written review document 48 hours ahead of time, giving people the chance to digest all the thoughts and to come prepared ready to discuss each point. As a Marketing Leadership Team, we spent our greatest efforts around managing the people. We talked people performance in every one of our weekly meetings. The directors were encouraged to bring up people examples of those who were shining and those who were struggling. If one of the other leaders were not familiar with those that were shining, we’d set up a process or special project where they could become more aware. We ranked everyone on the team once a year plus a mid-year check in on the rankings. You have to be diligent in managing your team. Skills, Behaviors and Experiences Marketing Skills:Brand Leaders should be measured on the Core Marketing Skills. Below, I’ve outlined a Checklist of 30 Core Skills for a Brand Leader that can be used to highlight potential gaps that some of our Brand Leaders may have. These 30 core skills fall under the areas of:Analytics Brand Planning Briefs Advertising New Products & Claims Go-To-Market Leadership Management You can use this checklist in a few different ways: 1) to see if someone is meeting the needs of the current job–it could be used to set someone up for a performance improvement plan or as a motivation to push themselves 2) for someone who is close to ready for promotion, but you want to close on a few specific areas before the promotion or 3) for your personal assessment to see what you want to work on. The rating should compare against their peers. It helps to highlight skill gaps where people should focus their attention. Any scores in the 1 or 2 are concerning and need an action plan. The gap could arise because it’s outside of their natural skills or it could just be because it’s been outside of their experience they’ve had. It’s tough to be good at advertising until you’ve worked on a brand with advertising.
  • 14. The more loved the Brand, the More Valuable the Brand Visit the blog at beloved-brands.com Leadership Skills: Below, I’ve outlined a Checklist of 12 Leader Behaviors of Brand Leaders that can be used to highlight potential gaps that some of our Brand Leaders may have. These 12 leader behaviors fall under the areas of: Accountability to Results People Leadership Strategic Thinker Broad Influence Authentic Style In the Leader Behavior space, we all have blind sides that we just can’t see. This is where the 360 degree feedback can help people to see how they are showing up. I know that as a Director, I was a Driver-Driver that caused me to have behavior gaps around Influence and Style. I had the attitude of ―it’s my way or the highway‖ and I wasn’t getting what I needed from the strategy and accountability I was hoping for. Once I was able to identify it and work on it, I was able to see a big improvement in my performance and the results started to pay off as well. Without closing that gap when I was a director, I would not have been promoted and would have honestly been unable to lead the entire marketing team. Experience: Many of our gaps as Brand Leaders comes from not having the experience. When managing others, expect quite a few mistakes in the first few and you might not get fully there until your 5th direct report. When sitting in the hot seat of advertising, you’ll start to realize just how complex it can be–you’ve got to stay on brief, keep the creative team motivated, make judgment calls at every stage of the process and keep your own management on side. And at every level, you’ll start to notice that the pressure gets higher–whether it’s push for results, the ambiguity or meeting deadlines through your team. Each of these takes experience. With your best people, make sure you identify the experience gaps they have and be fair to them with the next assignment. It’s far too easy to keep relying on a person’s strengths but it’s more important that you round out that person’s experience. If they advance too far without covering off those gaps, they may find themselves struggling later in the job. I’ve known newly promoted directors who had very little advertising experience coming up that all of a sudden found themselves on a desk with lots of advertising. Their team even had more experience than they did. Regular people reviews can really help identify the experience gaps that people might have.
  • 15. The more loved the Brand, the More Valuable the Brand Visit the blog at beloved-brands.com About Beloved Brands Graham Robertson is the voice of the modern Brand Leader. He started Beloved Brands, knowing he could “Make Brands better and Brand Leaders better™”. His Beloved Brands blog has 2 million views, and his public speaking appearances inspire Brand Leaders to love what they do. 
 
 The idea behind Beloved Brands is the more love you can generate with your consumers, the more power you have in the market which drives higher growth and profits for your brand. As a brand coach, Graham helps to find growth where others couldn’t, creating Brand ideas consumers love and Brand Plans everyone can follow. 
 
 For Brand Leaders wanting to reach their full potential The Brand Leadership Center offers workshops on strategic thinking, analytics, planning, positioning, creative briefs, judging advertising and media. 
 
 Graham spent 20 years leading some of the world’s most beloved brands at Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer, General Mills and Coke, rising through the ranks up to VP Marketing. Graham played a major role in helping Pfizer win Marketing Magazine’s Marketer of the Year award. 
 
 Specialties: 
 Brand Strategy & Planning
 Brand Training & Personal Coaching
 Advertising Creative Advisor
 Marketing Execution, Creativity/Brainstorms
 Turnaround Specialist, Change Management
 Executive Leadership Team Facilitation
 Brand Audits, Analysis, Research Webinar/Video Training
 Motivational Speaking To contact Beloved Brands Graham Robertson 416 885 3911 graham@beloved-brands.com

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