Marketing + Leadership: Challenge accepted.

As we often discuss in healthcare today, the power has shifted to healthcare consumers, making marketing’s job more complex. Additionally, around 45% of Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) claim that their time is spent on internal issues, with 27% being spent interacting with other executives throughout their organization₁. Add this to the time needed to do your own daily tasks, set strategies and vision, understand the consumer, market, competitors, effectively lead diverse teams, provide measurable results, etc., and the challenges of being a marketing leader can seem overwhelming.

I recently started an executive leadership development program with the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Institute. As a global forum, the CMO Institute is dedicated to helping enhance the effectiveness of marketing leaders as we increase our responsibilities in constantly changing landscapes. Since so many of our readers are marketing leaders or aspiring to be, I wanted to share some of our learnings throughout the coming months.

Marketing leaders, unlike other executives, must have the ability to befriend and influence their peers in order to accomplish their teams’ goals and the overall organizational vision. The “marketing of marketing” if you will, is crucial to success, and one of the CMOs biggest challenges. Having the ability to sell the power of marketing, what impact it can make, and educate throughout your organization on how marketing can not only help but is often a driving factor in the achievement of the organization’s strategy and goals is essential to a marketing leader’s success. As a side note, one of the best ways we have found on our team to champion marketing is by being energetic advocates for our company as a whole, recognizing individuals across departments for their contribution and hard work, and having a marketing leader who regularly gives department updates with accomplishments and results, including how those affect the organization and our customers.

Additionally, marketers are expected to have a wider array of skill sets both personally and on their greater team than other departments. As William Koleszar eloquently describes, “With primary or shared responsibility for areas such as strategy development and execution, sales management, product development, distribution channel management, public relations, marketing communications (including advertising and promotions), pricing, market research, and customer service, CMOs are faced with a diverse range of specialized disciplines in which they are forced to be knowledgeable.” From strategic minded to task oriented, and highly analytical to creative, marketers not only have to know enough to be dangerous in diverse skills but also be able to adjust their management styles to team members who are specialized in these disciplines with different personality types.

So with all this going on… what is an up-and-coming leader to do? One of the recommendations of growing in your leadership and marketing skills is to have a mentor who is experienced and willing to invest time in you. If you don’t have one… get involved in a marketing organization or reach out to a current or previous leader who has influenced you. Most great leaders find great pleasure and purpose in pouring into others, regardless of how busy they are. Don’t be shy… ask for help! Also, take time out of your week for personal and professional development. Whether that is blocking off an hour or two a week to listen to industry webinars, reading a marketing book, or taking an online or in-person class, we all need to avoid becoming too wrapped in our day-to-day duties and current job position so we can take time to learn and expand our skill set.

Have other thoughts on marketing, leadership, or the challenges that come with either? Shoot me an email! Otherwise, I look forward to sharing more soon.

Want more insight into the tools and skills successful healthcare marketing leaders need? Download our Healthcare Digital Marketing Toolkit.