Sponsored feature

Can marketers 'just be marketers' and still get to the top? The Marketing Society Forum

Brands are encouraging marketers to expand their skill sets if they want to lead in the boardroom.


Business-leaders set the direction and are ultimately accountable for results. Management guru Peter Drucker said: 'Only marketing and innovation generate results. Everything else is cost.'

Many marketers lead innovation, too. That's why we talk about bringing the voice of the customer into the organisation - to help develop propositions that customers value. So a good marketer collaborates with other functions all the time, as they are part of the system of creating and delivering value for all types of customer.

Marketers need to aim for a win-win for the business, its distributors and the consumer, otherwise they're not doing the whole job of marketing.


Marketing is a blend of art and science, but it is vital that marketers can demonstrate strong commercial and planning skills.

To be successful, marketers need to engage senior management as regards the role and scope of marketing and the contribution it makes to strategy, product development, pricing and corporate reputation. E-marketers need to work across all functions and, if the goal is to sit on the board, they will need to contribute to discussions on remuneration, finance and audit, and regulation, for example.

Working in other departments, countries and industries enables you to broaden your skills.


What makes marketers great marketers (consumer-obsessed, numerate, creative, ideas-centric, driven) are all characteristics any business would want in a leader. But ideas and energy get you only so far.

A business needs a clear direction; one that is challenging but achievable. That's the hard part for marketers - left to their own devices, they would take more risks or encourage more ideas than the business can really cope with, and lose the clear business direction.

A good leader knows how to motivate the business to go for growth, but with a healthy dose of reality built in.


Marketers can still get to the top, but marketing is still not seen as a classic route to the boardroom, compared with finance.

Last week, O2 chief executive Ronan Dunne said that O2 was a 'brand running a company' and not the other way round. While this was a crowd-pleaser, he also confessed he was an accountant by trade and that he had learned to consider 'customer experience' alongside margin.

Of course, that's what good marketers do instinctively, isn't it?


Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Brand Republic Jobs

subscribe now


John Lewis walks consumers through its history to celebrate 150 years of business
Waitrose boosts content strategy with 'Weekend Kitchen with Waitrose' C4 tie-up
Hottest virals: Cute puppies star in Pedigree ad, plus Idris Elba and Fruyo
Amnesty International burns candles to illuminate new hope
Toyota achieves the impossible by calming angry Roman drivers
Tom of Finland's 'homoerotic' drawings made into stamps
YouTube reveals user habits to appeal to 'older' marketers
Ex-M&S marketing chief Steven Sharp consulting at WPP
Wolff Olins reveals new CEO after Apple poaches Karl Heiselman
Glasgow offers £30,000 prize to best digital idea for 2014 Commonwealth Games
Google's revenues surge but shares drop as it grapples with transition to mobile
Facebook beats Twitter to most 'marketing friendly' social media site crown, says DMA
Fableists believe children like Finn should be outdoors enjoying life
Homebase, Baileys and Camelot join the line-up at Media360
MasterCard renews Rugby World Cup sponsorship to push cashless message
Lynx unleashes £9m 'Peace invasion' campaign
Social Brands 100 Youth: Pizza Hut most social youth brand in UK
Cheryl Cole is wild and arresting in new L'Oreal work
Morrisons told not to show alcohol ads during YouTube nursery rhymes
O2 head of brand Shadi Halliwell departs after 23 years at company in restructure
Tesco hit by further sales decline as it turns to digital Clubcard and social network
Branding guru Wally Olins dies aged 83
Duracell short film captures epic Transatlantic voyage
Ash runs Tinder experiment to show smokers are less desirable to opposite sex
British Airways teams up with Gerry Cottle Jnr for summer of rooftop film screenings
Arklu says 'girls can be superheroes too' with doll design competition
Coke enters squash market with Oasis Mighty Drops
Virgin Galactic signs up Land Rover as space flight sponsor
Motorola marketer Andrew Morley departs as Google gears up for sale to Lenovo
US Airways apologises after tweeting obscene image at a customer