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Executive Perspective: 5 Traits of Today’s Marketing Leaders

The modern-day marketing leader’s job description is changing. Just look at the facts:

By 2017, the CMO will Spend More on IT Than the CIO. (Gartner) tweetbutton

90% of business buyers say when they’re ready to buy, they’ll find you. (DemandGen Report) tweetbutton

 70% of the buying process is now complete by the time a prospect is ready to engage with sales. (SiriusDecisions) tweetbutton

And the CMO’s role isn’t the only thing that’s changing: so are the traits that today’s marketing leader’s need to possess to be successful. So what are these traits, and what can marketers do to make sure they’re staying on top of the latest marketing trends? Let’s take a look at five of them below:

1. Customer-involved.

As we’ve been discussing on our blog this month, the customer should be at the center of everything you do. But while the customer is king, no one really owns the customer journey. It’s time for marketing to lead the charge on the customer experience and take complete ownership of the entire customer lifecycle. Gone are the Mad Men days where marketing was only responsible for the awareness stage of the funnel. Now, with so many marketing technologies and an increasing amount of budget being devoted to IT, the CMO finally has the tools to show that they really understand the customer — not just by driving awareness through ads, but also by showing how the customer interacts with their brand and product. It’s no longer about the click-to-close mentality, but about creating customer evangelists that will drive your success.

2. Pipeline Crusader.

Driving pipeline should be one of the top priorities for today’s marketing leaders. The ability to show growth and momentum is the cornerstone of modern business, and a determining factor in getting marketing a seat at the decision-making table. The first step to becoming a “pipeline crusader” is understanding how pipeline is measured and what role marketing plays in generating and measuring pipe (take a look at a previous Executive Perspective post I wrote to see a few different ways that marketers can look at measuring pipeline). This will bring the CMO, CEO, CFO, and CSO together, helping to drive synergy between them.

3. Sales Champion.

You read that right! Marketing success now depends on becoming BFFs with your sales teams. It’s no longer about sales versus marketing, but about joint efforts, campaigns, offers, and results. The race has to be won — but it can’t be if sales and marketing are not aligned at the very top.

4. Customer Advocate.

If marketers are doing a good job controlling the customer experience, then customer advocacy is the next logical step. If you know your customers, you should be representing them in everything that you do. There should be a “seat” reserved for your customers at every meeting and every conversation, and as a marketing leader, it’s your job to make sure your team never forgets what’s right for the customer. Remember: money can buy you all the leads in the world, but it can’t buy you customers.

5. Culture Evangelist.

The most successful companies have a culture that defines who they are and what they do. In fact, culture is often a competitive advantage for these companies. It starts at the top and has an immeasurable impact on everything the company does. As a marketing leader, it’s your job to turn culture into two things: a differentiator for your customers, and an internal morale-booster for your own team.

Are there any other essential traits that you think are important for today’s marketing leaders? Let us know in the comments!