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What makes a good marketing leader?

By Andrew Dalglish -

There are two universal truths about all marketing plans. One, no matter how smart the plan might be, it’s worthless unless well executed. And two, no plan has ever executed itself – people make it happen.

Here’s another observation. Two marketing teams with identical skills and resources, both looking to achieve the same goals, can achieve very different results. That’s down to leadership – the ability to get the best out of people and make 1 + 1 = 3.

The latest B2B Marketing Leaders Report, produced in conjunction with Circle Research, explores how to lead well. It’s based on a survey of dozens of B2B marketing teams (76 to be precise) which explored what motivates them at work and what they look for in a leader.

They gave clear guidance.

When asked to rank 15 different aspects of their job in order of contribution to overall job satisfaction, one factor was ahead of all others by a country mile. More than one half (53%) placed ‘stimulating’ in their top three requirements. Alongside this, four other factors often topped the list. People also want their job to be enjoyable (28% place in top three), to be well led (25%), to feel valued (37%) and to have a good work-life balance (33%).

However, people sometimes lack full insight into their own motivations so as well as asking what motivates them at work we deduced it by identifying links between unusually high job satisfaction and high ratings of that job’s performance on these 15 factors. This reveals that three of the ‘conscious’ motivators matter most – a stimulating, enjoyable job with high quality leadership. It also reveals one ‘unconscious’ motivator which people may not explicitly recognise. There is a very strong correlation between supporting an employer’s vision and job satisfaction.

So the recipe for team motivation is clear. One question remains though – what exactly do they mean by ‘good leadership’?

We asked them to elaborate and five attributes of good leadership emerged time and again. They told us that a good leader inspires them, shares a clear vision for marketing, builds them (coaches, teaches and gives opportunities), supports them (is open, listens well and shows empathy) and fights marketing’s corner internally.

Sound like you?

The full 2015 B2B Marketing Leaders Report can be found here.

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