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How the service sector can better leverage a Marketing Head

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If you have your Marketing Head in place, you’re already aware of the different energy they add to the leadership mix. While the function is increasingly vital to organisational success, I am sympathetic to the challenges the role may pose to businesses when Marketing isn't the core function.

As a Marketing Search & Talent specialist with more years’ experience than I sometimes care to admit, my intention here is to provide a guide that broadly characterises today’s Marketers and within that context, advises how business leaders can get the best out of these innovative, creative and involved professionals.

The service sector is one of the fastest growing sectors in Australia. The investment and therefore the expectations customers have of you as service providers continue to rise.

Today, the best service providers are focused on something called Intangible Capital

Intangible Capital captures three key elements; the first is the overall strategy for the business; the second is the brand and marketing strategy for the business; the third is people (attraction, retention, development). If we can agree that building your Intangible Capital produces great business outcomes, then knowing how you motivate and develop the person heading up your brand and marketing is essential.

Understand the type

As a product of the role and as a function of their nature, Marketers are resourceful individuals. In my experience, they’re not precious but will hold exacting standards, they’re unafraid to roll up their sleeves in the name of innovation and they’re capable of switching between a wide variety of tasks. They think outside the box and, for better or worse, they’re inherently non-hierarchical.

They think differently which, in the interests of thought diversification and institutional value, is one of the reasons I advocate for their seat at the table. 

They challenged the status quo and it’s fair to say that this drive to constantly move the dial on the brand can be challenging. But this is a good thing. They’re not going to stand still because the customer is not standing still. The customer is forever evolving, and this is what fires their jets. Like a prey after its quarry, this is the chase they are born to give. Strategically, operationally and functionally speaking, you don’t want them to stand still!

How to unleash the best

  • They need to understand the overall strategic direction of the business. If your Marketing Head is not involved in shaping that business strategy you're missing an opportunity and you need to change this.
  • They need your time. They need time to talk strategically and to provide updates on what they're executing. Considering the multi-dimensional nature of the role, they possibly need more of your time than anyone else.
  • Demonstrating ROI for Marketeers can be tricky, so they need a framework. While understanding the business strategy is a fundamental, on a campaign basis they need your collaborative input to create this framework.
  • Marketing professionals flourish with structured support and it’s important they continue to get outside of sector influence. The best way to achieve this is through mentoring. If you don't know where to start a recommendation, organisations such as The Marketing Academy or the Australian Marketing Institute can guide you. They also offer a fantastic variety of professional development seminars, courses and accreditations.

I hope what I’ve outlined here gives you some insight on how to charge-up the relationship you have with what I believe is fast becoming one of the most important direct reports for any Business leader intent on meeting customer demands in one of the fastest growing sectors in Australia. 

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