Marketing executive positions are more critical to a company’s success, than ever before. Marketing VP’s can do tremendous damage by investing their budget in misguided efforts. Naturally they can also dramatically strengthen a company with a solid, well developed marketing strategy, and plan that drives the tactics into revenue generating realities. Why then, do we still encounter senior marketing executives who are fixated on marketing as an ethereal art-form, rather than a science?
Last week I was approached by an executive recruiter about an opportunity. As we discussed my background, he expressed an interesting observation. For an marketing executive my background tenure and experience – is highly tuned to marketing strategy. Yet, he perceived me as strong at the tactics of digital marketing, too. Strategy without action, is merely a daydream. Hence the importance of having a solid grounding in both. It also means having a willingness to get your fingers in, to run some of the tactics. It is part of staying sharp, and on your game. Yet, this successful recruiter did not encounter many executives with a profile or shown willingness to dive into the details of the work.
My perspective was quite clear. I have developed marketing strategy for most of my 21 year career. Yet, the only way to develop solid and sound strategies that work, is to also have the experience of actually ‘doing the work’. That means you need to be savvy to doing working on the social marketing plan, running automation, analytics and so on. Learning by driving Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, and blog attention – is irreplaceable. Knowing your way around Google Analytics, and understanding what it all means to conversion… is important. The only way to truly get a deep appreciation for the nuances of Digital Marketing work, is to do some of this work yourself. Armed with this experience, your executive strategies can only grow stronger.
Four Elemencts for Marketing Executives
Four elements to which modern Marketing Executives must be savvy include:
- Observing trends: Industry wide & in Digital Marketing
- Being savvy to SEM / SEO / SMO techniques. Try it to REALLY understand it
- Understanding your marketing analytics (KPI’s), their drivers and your team’s capabilities. This includes deeply understanding Google Analytics. Know what it means, what it tells you about your prospects and customers, and understand how to influence conversion.
- Budgeting and Forecasting: This is among your most important tasks. Also be aware of your Market Share, awareness levels, and market presence among prospects.
Don’t Be Afraid to get your Fingers Dirty
Gone are the days that a firm can afford a David McEgo, VP of Marketing – who did not really know what they were doing. Old paradigms had David sitting on the 36th floor of the ivory tower, while the team toiled, many floors below. Today’s VP’s cannot have their eyes gloss over when discussing the latest analytics, trends and budget impacts. Overshooting a yearly budget by 35% is just not acceptable anymore, if it ever was.
Soapboxing with an impassioned speech about the company directions is important. Rally the troops and getting them excited about your mission. However, make sure that you are also there with them, at the grass roots level. This is where today’s executives will start to understand digital and integrated marketing at the details level. Failing to have depth in digital marketing means you will miss the nuances which are important to creating impactful strategies. Strategy development means understanding the nuances of the tools used at different selling stages. Most of all, be willing to get your fingers dirty. Try some of the digital marketing tactics yourself. Work out a twitter monthly plan. Sit in on an inbound follow-up call. Make that call yourself! Toy with your marketing automation system.
Learning, like growing, starts at the roots. Take that first step. Roll up your sleeves. Get started!
About the Author:
Charles Dimov is Director of Strategy D, a Digital, Content & Product Marketing consultancy (www.StrategyD.org). He has 20 years of experience in High Technology, with 15+ years in Product Marketing functions – having successfully introduced over 80+ new product to global markets. Charles has a MASc.(MBA), BASc.(Eng), and a BA.(Econ), and loves Photography, Marketing Strategy, and rolling up his sleeves to drive market success. Reached Charles: Charles@DimovStrat.com