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How are they Driving the Modern Marketing Organization?

When we started our column, “Driving the Modern Marketing Organization,” our goal was simple: to showcase how leading chief marketing officers were approaching the critical tasks of team organization and talent development, all while facing digital disruption and demands for rapid business growth.

It was clear that to drive growth amid this disruption, top marketers must rethink how they build their marketing organizations to inspire their teams and deliver great customer experiences.

What we found

Not only are CMOs reorganizing, but they are redefining talent to fill critical gaps left by customers moving faster than marketers. Top marketers are also inspiring team cultures of innovation, risk-taking, influence and inclusion to mirror the customer landscape.

What used to be a search for the best talent with the right hard skills has become a careful orchestration of a team dynamic that is only successful with the right blend of soft and hard skills. CMOs are looking for the “best athletes” with Agility, Aptitude and Attitude.

What used to be a straightforward career ladder has evolved into a career tree with many branches that give rising marketers a broader understanding of their customers. Instead of specialists staying in a single lane, the most valued marketer is more of a generalist who understands how to best engage their customers across the full customer journey.

What used to be a focus on promotions, products and sales has radically changed into a focus on education, personalization and relationships to earn the trust of customers and employees. According to Stan Slap, culture and brand expert, even trust is sometimes not enough today. “A brand promise is a company saying, ‘You will know us by our intention.’ That intention has to be represented by your employee culture to others with its own good name, while your customer culture has to ignore its well-earned cynicism about these kinds of enterprise statements, as well as a lot of other seductive, logical buying options.

“Since there is no way for either culture to be absolutely certain of the integrity of such a company claim, both of these groups can’t just give you trust. They have to give you the deepest level of trust possible. They have to give you faith — ‘I believe but I don’t know.’ A culture exists to protect itself and doesn’t even like to trust, fearing it could be vulnerable. To give unfounded trust is a culture’s rarest gift.”

Top-performing marketing teams are coalescing into agile marketing engines under the right leadership and within supportive cultures. A quick clarification on culture: You cannot simply “change a culture.” Great leaders understand how to connect to and inspire cultures that exist to drive results, which is one of the most important leadership muscles to build. Marketers who misfire here risk getting left behind as their finicky customers find better solutions for their needs and their fidgety employees seek greener pastures.

As you build out your marketing organization, consider how you can evolve from what was then to what is now. Here’s a summary guide, based on insights from the leading CMOs we’ve profiled:

Looking for inspiration?

Here’s the one-word summary for the approach that each of the featured CMOs has taken to re-imagine their organization. Think of it as your cheat sheet on how to inspire your organization:

Agility — Kieran Hannon, CMO, Belkin International

Aptitude — Barbara Messing, CMO, TripAdvisor

Attitude — Charlie Cole, CDO Tumi and Global eCommerce Officer, Samsonite

Authenticity — Rob Lynch, CMO, Arby’s

Credibility — Justin Steinman, former CMO, GE Healthcare IT

Inclusion — Lara Hood Balazs, CMO, Visa North America

Influence — Rashmy Chatterjee, CMO, IBM North America

Innovation — Barbara Martin Coppola, CMO, Grubhub

Instruction — Cory Treffiletti, CMO, Oracle Data Cloud

Passion — Geraldine Calpin, CMO, Hilton Worldwide

Transformation ––Jeff Reid, EVP Digital Center of Excellence, Humana

Looking forward, remember you are not alone. There is a collective marketing industry effort underway to address the required evolution of marketing teams and talent, the Association of National Advertisers’ CMO Talent Challenge.

The ANA CMO Talent Challenge was born from a number of leading CMOs agreeing that the industry needed to rally — CMOs in particular — to help develop the marketing talent of today and tomorrow. Two key Playbooks will be released next month to support marketing leaders everywhere — how to mentor your teams and talent, and how to market marketing to future marketers.

Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.

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