Yes, marketers are great CEO’s in the making. The level of success is dependent on the understanding of the complexity of the job and the steps that needs to be taken to get to the top.
Marketing is one of the most challenging, interesting and rewarding jobs!
The needs and attitude towards marketing is different from various perspectives; firstly the practitioner, who has taken the brunt of it, tasted the successes or licked their wounds, the practitioner’s boss, the CEO who calls the shots and the marketing consultant who brings a second opinion.
Let me speak from the vantage point of someone who has played all three roles. Firstly practicing marketing as the Marketing Director of Keells Foods & Keels Super and Pizza Hut in Sri Lanka. Secondly, in the capacity of the Managing Partner of Sensei Middle East and South Asia and the Chief Executive Officer of Rahimafrooz Superstores Ltd. Bangladesh. Finally, providing, strategy, marketing and leadership consultancy for companies in over 20 countries as a Management Consultant of Sensei International.
Marketing is challenging because the success of the organization depends on profitable sales growth and the marketer is responsible for it. After the marketer understands the value sought by the customer and have designed a strategy to deliver it, the rest of the organization needs to do their job, be it quality products, effective sales and distribution, inspiring customer service etc. etc.
The marketer also has to be aligned with the mission of the company which is formulated by the top team. In the event the CEO did not have the foresight of getting the marketer involved and listening to the customer through the marketer, there can be misalignment between the mission and the value sought by the customer.
Some company’s do hire consultants to get help with marketing strategy or to get a second opinion. If the consultant did not have a feel for the real ground situation, that the marketer would have, then the top management gets misguided making life even more challenging for the marketer.
The CEO of the company’s primary objective is profitability and they tend to turn to the head of finance for opinions to support his decisions. Now if the head of finance did not have a marketing orientation, the marketer is further challenged.
What all this means is that the marketer is fortunate to be able to be in this situation as it helps him/her to grow in maturity to be able to lead a company as a CEO. The marketer has two choices, does he whine about the situation and do the minimum just to save his job or does he use the opportunity to improve relationship skills ,communication skills, influencing skills, technical skills [of the products marketed by the company], human resource skills and most importantly finance skills.
A diamond is a piece of coal put under extreme pressure. Does the marketer choose to shine as a diamond at the top of the organization or live life like a boring piece of coal?
Read a series of articles I am writing on this topic; marketing mix-up at http://ranjandesilva.com/articles-newsletters/the-marketing-mix-up/