In a world of customer centricity, in which the customer lens is unequivocal, organisations must still innovate and source new opportunities, new products, new ways of going to market, and pivot to meet new customer needs in the market. The subtle shift between leading and managing a Marketing team dictates the level of success the organisation achieves. Managing consists of controlling a group to accomplish a goal; Leadership is about an individual’s ability to influence, inspire and enable their team to contribute to achieving goals. Leading by example and enabling people are typical hallmarks of visionary Customer and Marketing leaders who can prime and influence their customers (as well as their teams) via opportunities, products and service levels. Controlling is short term. Leading sets them up for the future. True leaders possess an innate ability to separate the truth from the story in determining both the abilities of their team, and how to drive a customer centric, authentic brand. Customer led leaders scan the environment, see opportunities, build a vision for the company’s future and create a strategy for achieving these goals. A multitude of factors go into running a well-oiled machine, but it’s this ability to motivate and inspire which drives teams to achieve authentic engagement and greatness.
The consumer test
Consumers naturally gravitate towards brands they trust – most are able to see past the age-old advertising lens and use their personal customer experiences and touch points as a measure of trust. Consumers are naturally attracted to human stories, to real marketing which lives up to expectation and delivers reliable, good quality service or products, time and time again. The retail space in Australia has demonstrated that retail can thrive even in a pandemic, with many consumer, grocery and telecommunications brands flourishing during one of the most challenging periods we’ve ever seen. Some surprising brands have emerged unexpectedly triumphant, thanks to their robust storytelling about their products and services and their ability to fulfil their customers’ needs.
See through those who “sound good”
Great Marketing talent exists within Australia, but beware – many Marketers are very good at marketing themselves, too. As such, finding the best dynamic leader requires a robust assessment and Search process to consider cultural, behavioural and motivational fit. Experience alone, whilst a strong indicator on paper, only formulates a portion of the Search analysis required before hiring your next brand guardian. True leaders of Marketing functions need to be insight and data led, to be truly accountable for their team’s contribution towards achieving strategic goals. Wholly accountable for the outcomes, this super-powered band of leaders differentiates themselves from Managers via their strategic data-backed decisions in a modern digital environment. With the customer lens remaining critical, a genuine modern Customer leader will develop the strategy in the digital ecosystem, embrace the creativity needed, and inspire the team to achieve more than they thought possible. It’s a dark art indeed.
Using Marketing as an agent of change, to drive the Customer agenda is a powerful vehicle to increase performance. In differentiating between leadership and management, great Marketing leaders ensure team members achieve extraordinary results. It’s all about transforming the way a team is inspired, enabled and supported, and this in itself is all about hiring a true leader, to realise value across an organisation’s human, commercial and customer capital.
If you would like to understand more about how to assess and hire your next leader, please contact Damian.