The cracks within marketing leadership

It’s no big secret that digital transformation is a big consideration for many marketing functions and those in marketing leadership positions. The pace of change and technology available to shape digital strategy within an organisation is pushing firmly at the heels of those leading the business. But when it comes to marketing, customer data and customer engagement, the question is: Who and how should digital change be lead, implemented and managed?

The changemakers in marketing leadership

It’s easy for digital strategy to fall between the cracks. It takes deep knowledge, experience and bravery to tackle full scale change, particularly when elements firmly in the remit of the marketing function are likely to change how the business operates and reports. The change needed in marketing leadership is significant and often down to the challenge of people.

There are those who are digital natives, and those who are not. Each has their part to play and each brings a challenge:

Digital natives at the bottom of hierarchies aren’t equipped to influence change

Digital natives are now a constant flow into the workplace, which is hugely positive. These people are bright, young thinkers; are digital savvy, able to master social platforms and pick up marketing technology with ease. What these natives lack, however, is the experience or knowledge to think about digital from a holistic, strategic point of view.

Those in the middle are getting on the with the ‘doing’ but are too reactive

In middle management, you will often find competent, hard-working digital marketers who have been ‘pigeon-holed’ as digital experts. There is little opportunity to do anything apart from respond reactively to requests and they lack the time and experience to deliver an overarching marketing strategy in the way that traditional marketers have done in the past.

Senior marketers have the strategy, but not the knowledge to embed digital

Traditional, senior marketers see the broader marketing picture and what it’s trying to achieve to support business strategy, which is great. What they lack though, are the management skills and knowledge specific to digital. They find digital difficult to fully understand and embed into the marketing function or strategy for long term performance.

How to lead digital change

So, marketing leaders need skills from all three groups in order to really drive a sustainable digital strategy. They need the technical knowledge, the hands-on ability to know how it all works and the strategic mind and gravitas to push things forward.

Leaders can do this by educating themselves, alongside empowering and supporting peers and marketeers around them to learn and offer their own solutions for digital change within the business.

Digital change won’t happen overnight…

But with the support of a well-informed team, those in marketing leadership positions can look to deliver a holistic marketing strategy that embodies digital across marketing operations, demand generation, sales and right through to every customer touchpoint.

As a marketing leader, do you know the traits you need to deliver digital change within your organisation? In this guide, we examine what makes a digital leader, the challenges faced and explore methods to overcome them. Download the guide now.

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