While so much emphasis has been placed on the importance of CMOs managing big data, measuring marketing outcomes, and adapting to new responsibilities, there has been little discussion regarding the critical behind-the-scenes resources that can enable a CMO to more effectively manage their job performance, career progression and overall success. In a conversation with Dave Minifie, a prior executive from Procter and Gamble and the current EVP, CMO and Business Integration Officer for Centene Corporation, a $10B multi-line health care enterprise, we identified 5 key resources that every CMO – and future CMO — needs to navigate both their career and jobs effectively.
KEY CAREER RESOURCES
Executive Recruiter: As Dave suggested after having spent 12 years at Procter & Gamble, people approach executive recruiters differently. Some tend to cultivate relationships and on the other end, others consider them a problem. Of course, executive recruiters are only a problem until the CMO needs to find a new job. I’ve found over the years that having a strong relationship with a handful of recruiters in executive search is critical. These individuals can provide information regarding the marketplace, specific industries, a particular company, and even insight on individuals. They spend all of their professional time creating successful firm-candidate matches and therefore have a unique bird’s eye view of marketing jobs. As a result, they can provide critical insight that can help a marketer more successfully navigate their career.
I asked Leanne Fesenmeyer, who led Talent Management for Heidrick & Struggles’ CMO Practice and was a marketer prior to becoming an executive recruiter, to provide some specific advice. She suggested the following. “Cultivating a relationship with a recruiter involves a combination of sincere outreach and meaningful introductions from individuals who are respected by that particular recruiter. In conducting this outreach, it is critical to remember that it is never about you … it’s about them”. Leanne went on to suggest that it’s best to apply a version of the golden rule: “Don’t ask … give, don’t boast … compliment, tell … but don’t dwell”. A clever tactic is to ask what other searches they are working on so that you can suggest potential candidates. Not only is this a great way to get in their “good graces” but it gives you valuable insight as to what opportunities exist in the market.
Mentor / Coach: This resource is obvious. However, it is amazing how many people don’t have somebody that they can turn who is more experienced, knowledgeable, and on their side. Career and business challenges can arise and it’s critical to have somebody, especially outside of your firm, to talk with. Dave indicates: “I’m fortunate to have a few key mentors who have provided critical counsel when I needed it.” When asked how he cultivated these relationships, he indicated: “Like most relationships in our lives, ‘fit’ is the most important aspect of any mentoring relationship – either up or down. I tend to mentor people that have worked for me, and want to continue that relationship. Likewise, my best mentors have been people with whom I have crossed paths. Some have been reporting relationships, while others I have met through community involvement. Regardless, the relationship needs to be on-going and salient to both parties to be worthwhile.”
Social Media Manager: At some point, it will be beneficial to create a social media imprint. Many CEOs / boards are looking for marketers who can demonstrate some social media / digital savvy. While twitter followers are not necessarily a good proxy, they can convince senior executives that at least you are engaged in the social universe. One option is to manage this yourself. However, you can also outsource this for a very reasonable fee with firms likeSocial Media Guardian, who charge a few hundred dollars a month to create and implement a strategic plan.
KEY JOB RESOURCES
Presentation Expert: At some point on the ladder, marketers start pulling together internal, external, and board-level presentations. Once this occurs, the need to escalate from satisfactory presentation (i.e., powerpoint) skills to expert skills becomes critical for success. Identifying an external expert who can turn work around on a dime and has the requisite ability to turn a conceptual vision into a spectacular visual reality is quite difficult – yet critical for presentation success.
To identify such a person, I turned to LeAnne Fesenmeyer who always seems to know how to find the best external support resources. She suggested talking with Derrick Waylen who is the founder and CEO of Right Aligned, a firm that specializes in creating C-level presentations that sell ideas. Derrick suggested: “It is amazing that there aren’t more services focused on helping managers create superior presentations. We’ve seen a significant increase over the past 5 years in the need for exceptional presentation skills. We are fortunate in that we tend to work with large, global firms who require a certain quality of presentation, even for internal meetings. It has enabled us to retain a top class team that can provide around the clock services to meet needs anywhere in the world.”
The reality is that even managers who are proficient with powerpoint can take a lot of time to polish a presentation. That time would likely be spent better on their primary job. The key is to find a trustworthy and competent expert.
Speechwriter: At some point, senior level managers have to present. They may present to the organization, to the board of directors, to analysts, or at industry conferences. And yet, not many managers are natural speechwriters, comedians, or storytellers. To help compliment the presentation support, it’s great to have somebody who can help craft a great script. To find a ghostwriter for a book, I went to the association of ghostwriters (link here) to find somebody with the right experience. Leanne Fesenmeyer suggests: “I hired Armin Brott to ghostwrite books and Andy Montgomery to write speeches. Both were great, but the key is to find an expert who understands your industry, subject matter, and preferred style.”
In a world where marketers are increasingly asked to take on broader responsibility, it’s critical to export projects that can be easily outsourced…especially when the quality and results will be much higher. If you have any thoughts on additional resources that marketers must have, please add a comment or join the discussion (@kimwhitler).
Join the Discussion: @kimwhitler
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