Marketing Leadership: What is it, and why do you need it?

There’s been many things said about leadership. If you spend 5 minutes on LinkedIn, you will notice a plethora of posts that are, one way or another, alluding to the fact that leadership is the most important thing in an organization. Leaders make things move in a company, set the direction for the team, and keep the ship going where it needs to go to achieve shared goals.

But what is marketing leadership?

Marketing leadership plays a similar role to the one that is commonly understood as far as leadership goes. What is different about a marketing leadership job is that it solves a specific problem in a specific area.

Why is this important for you to know as a marketing or business manager?

Just like a company without a strong leader can lose the direction of where everyone should be moving, marketing leadership ensures that all marketing activities are going exactly where they should be – supporting the most important areas of the business growth.

The problem with the lack of marketing leadership is often seen when a business has too many marketing problems or the inability to pinpoint which marketing problem is the one causing your marketing ship to go in the wrong direction.

Another reason why marketing leadership is important is that when you find yourself at the crossroads of marketing, you may think that your individual marketing tactics are not working. You might change your approach or your marketing team – be it in an in-house marketing assistant or an external marketing agency – but the result doesn’t change. You are still not happy about the results your marketing budget is producing. The problem here might not be in the marketing tactics themselves but in the lack of marketing leadership that often helps you discern the trends, concerns and opportunities around your marketing.

Here are the three signs that might help you identify your marketing gaps and clarify what needs to be tweaked – your marketing tactics or marketing leadership.

1. You are following trends and worrying if you are being left behind

After being in business for 14 years, I’ve seen many trends come and go. Some stick, while some disappear the moment people jump on them. There were some trends we tried over the years that I don’t even remember their names now. Those platforms sounded cool and did offer unique opportunities to increase brand visibility and reach for companies, but the fact that they are not around and I don’t remember their names say something about following trends, doesn’t it? I remember how much effort we took to implement those tools. It was spent internally with client discussions and on the implementation and analysis. Long story short, 9 out of 10 times, when we jumped on a super fresh trend, it didn’t workout. Since then, we have had a rule at Cucumber – watch the trends, but don’t feel compelled to implement them immediately.

A friend of mine is an Apple consultant, and I remember his advice on upgrading to new software when it’s released. He said, wait for a little. Watch what happens; wait until early adopters test it and Apple implements the first rounds of fixes. Then it is safe to install it.

Marketing Leadership Tip:

Unless your business is about trends (like fashion or the entertainment industry), you shouldn’t be concerned about trends too much. Pay attention to them, but don’t let them sidetrack you from what you are already doing.

Not sure if this tip applies to you? Book a free marketing consultation with me here. I would love to help you gain clarity!

2. You don’t have enough data, or you have too much data

Do you know how many people come to your website monthly? Do you know how your conversions are tracked? Do you know how your customers navigate your website? If you can’t answer on the spot, then do you have a monthly report you can look at and answer these questions?

If you can’t answer these basic marketing questions, most likely, you don’t have enough marketing data. The problem with that is that you are shooting in the dark when you are facing marketing decisions. It’s important to have a handful of KPIs that will help you navigate your marketing journey, revelating trends, concerns and opportunities you should pay attention to in your company.

If you noticed, I said “handful of KPIs”, not “bucketful.” It is equally dangerous to have too many numbers to look at. As our client’s marketing team at Cucumber, we are their marketing advisors; we are storytellers. Our reports tell a story, not spill the numbers on their lap, expecting them to be impressed with those. Ironically, even the numbers that seem to be improving and growing might not be a good thing, as this may not be the right number to look at.

Marketing Leadership Tip:

Read between the lines, and don’t look for one specific number. Look for a comprehensive story that will explain the state of your marketing. Just like the profit and loss bank statement tells a story about your financial situation (not just one number, but all of them together, explain what’s happening) – similar to marketing. Pay attention to the story, not the scale.

Not sure if this tip applies to you? Book a free marketing consultation with me here. I would love to help you gain clarity!

3. You are doing a lot of different things, but there’s no coherent strategy

This point ties the two previous points together. You might have the right trends and be looking at the right number, but you will be in trouble if there’s no coherent strategy strictly aligned with the company’s needs.

And vice versa, most likely, if you don’t have one marketing strategy that pulls everything together, you will jump from one trend to another, spinning your wheels and not knowing what number to look at.

Marketing Leadership Tip:

Do not skip the strategy stage! As we often say at Cucumber – your daily activities are the trees, and your monthly strategies are the forest. Don’t forget to look at the forest, not just the trees, to know if you are heading in the right direction.

In conclusion

Marketing leadership is not about getting things done right; it’s about doing the right thing.

Did this blog post resonate with what’s happening in your company? Give us a shout, or visit our marketing agency in downtown Vancouver; we would love to chat.

You can also book a free marketing consultation with me here.

P.S. We always have chocolate.

Digital Marketing Vancouver - Helen Stepchuk, CEO - Cucumber Marketing Inc Vancouver
Helen Stepchuk, CEO at Cucumber Marketing Inc.