The role of marketing is to “create brand loyalty.” We’ve made this our mantra. We hope you will make it yours too! There’s a lot contained within these three words.
- Create means bring a customer into existence. It’s about generating sales, incremental sales.
- The brand goes beyond the physical product to encompass a constellation of values and experiences to distinguish its unique value versus competition that leads to establishing a bond with customers.
- Loyalty is the customer’s unswerving devotion to the brand. It’s more, far more than a simple sales transaction. Loyalty demands that we transform customers into devotees and evangelists. The result is the creation of a franchise or tribe.
While this role is the same for all marketers, regardless of sector, category or country, some are more successful at it than others. We may analyze and credit decisions the marketers made and the actions they took to pinpoint success factors for a given case study. However, little, if anything is spoken about those qualities these successful marketers share. It’s the inner qualities of marketers that are at the foundation of their decisions and actions. It is these qualities that allow them to generate and replicate success.
Qualifications for marketing positions don’t capture them. Demands for X-number of years in marketing or experience in a specific category do not necessarily correlate with success. One marketer may have 20-years of experience or 1-year of experience repeated over 20-years. Additionally, a marketer with 10-years of experience may be more successful in creating brand loyalty than one with 20-years!
So, if we were building a marketing team, we’d hire based on “qualities,” not a plethora of arbitrary “qualifications” designed to rule people out for a position and are neither meaningful nor relevant to success. What are these winning qualities that will lead to creating brand loyalty? Here is our take:
- Creative Intelligence – This is the ability to see many possibilities and identify many options. They can connect the proverbial dots and see things other marketers may miss. However, it doesn’t stop there! It also includes assessing each against appropriate criteria to select the most effective option for a given situation. Moreover, their findings from their analyses are technically sound, and their conclusions are consistent with those findings.
- Curiosity – These marketers want to know and understand more about their business, target customers, marketing, psychology and sociology, fads versus trends – anything and everything that might apply to market their enterprise more successfully. So, they turn over every stone. They also keep their eyes and ears open to the world around them. Importantly, they go beyond the “what” to understand the “why” that defines target-customer attitudes and impacts their behaviors. In understanding the “why” they can discover legitimate and productive customer insights (others cannot) that they can capitalize upon to favorably impact incremental sales growth.
- Crystallization – They get to the heart of the matter, any matter. These marketers can “tell you short and tell you clear” their findings and conclusions from a SWOT or any analysis. Importantly, they communicate effectively to help senior managers and support staff to understand critical brand success factors that must be addressed and how to address them best.
- Collaborators – These marketers appreciate that their “N” of one has limited perspective despite their creative intelligence. Accordingly, they create and lead a team of managers from diverse functions (e.g., finance, marketing research, ad agency personnel, manufacturing, sales force, etc.). They recognize that each of these managers has a piece of the puzzle and, therefore, seek to capture the collective wisdom of the team. They do not manage by consensus but collaboration. They do not shirk accountability and decision-making responsibility. Aware that they have an active and powerful “board of directors,” represented by their senior managers, they collaborate not only across but up (and, even, down) the hierarchical ladder.
- Consistent – They employ proven principles, best practices and quality processes. These marketers take a disciplined approach to marketing, not unlike successful coaches who build dynasties. Moreover, their marketing is consistent; going from strategies through execution and assessment in addressing objectives.
- Courageous – While they work very well with others, they don’t “go along to get along.” They are on the prowl for evidence. If something runs afoul of evidence, they will speak up and challenge it. They handle matters in the here and now. They do not allow problems to worsen nor opportunities to lie unaddressed. Moreover, they do not shy away from immediately alerting top management of bad news – both after the fact and in the making. Nor do they refrain from engaging in tough conversations with team members.
- Coach – Importantly, these managers engage in coaching versus evaluating others and their work. They even coach themselves. This quality identifies what is wrong but provides positive direction to make others and their work more productive. They communicate clearly, in a way that is incapable of being misunderstood, what they need to see (directional versus prescriptive) to enhance performance. And, they undertake professional self-development to shore up weaknesses and build on strengths.
- Contrarians – They abhor and challenge the conventional wisdom and the status quo. These marketers want to prove themselves and establish their personal brand. They are not contrarians for the sake of being contrary. Instead, they are objectives oriented and believe there may be a better way to achieve their goals. Additionally, they believe in true versus blind obedience. Blind obedience requires that one follow prescriptive direction as if they were orders. True obedience is faithful to the fundamental objectives and attempts to address them with creative intelligence to achieve each objective efficiently and effectively. One more note, contrarians work hard to stay ahead of the pack. They know they can and need to build their skills. They engage in professional self-development!
We’ve kept this to eight C’s. You may choose different words to highlight qualities. So be it. Hopefully, this will be a good start. However, please don’t fall into the trap of those who establish qualifications for marketing positions by listing more and more criteria that may be nice to have but do not correlate with success, and neither you nor anyone else possesses.
How would we screen for these qualities in a marketer? Two questions:
- First, we job ask candidates to describe a success that they had that if they had not participated, it would not have been achieved.
- Second, we then follow-up, asking them what they did that made the difference.
Addressing these two questions (with in-depth follow-up questions) will enable the interviewer or team leader to determine if the marketing candidate has the requisite inner qualities for success.
Best wishes in channeling your qualities in making a difference in the success of your brand,
Richard Czerniawski and Mike Maloney