Webster defines an expert as “having or showing special skill or knowledge because of what you have been taught or what you have experienced.” There are a number of people that fit this description. People that have numerous years of marketing experience; scholars that have examined the subject of marketing for years and continue to produce thought leadership; and those that have done both.
But I have known and seen a number of so-called marketing experts that have failed to deliver empirical marketing excellence. Individuals that are Chief Marketing Officers, Chief Strategy Officers, Marketing Executives, Professors, and talking heads on conference circuits. And think of your company. Would you rather have a ”marketing expert” or a marketer that consistently delivers marketing excellence?
It is a rhetorical question. So what separates the two?
With this question in mind, consider what the great Peter Drucker said about marketing. “The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well that the product or service fits him and sells itself.” The customer is continually evolving. And their behaviors and actions have recently taken dramatic change due mainly to technological advancements. The primary technology change has been digital – the Internet, mobile, and social media. The combination of these three digital elements allowed the consumer to:
1) have a loud voice directly affecting brand position and reputation,
2) have access to trusted data that identifies product/service strengths and weaknesses,
3) compare products and pricing during real-time shopping scenarios,
4) not worry about geographical limitations to purchase goods/services, and
5) establish their own reputation and degree of influence in a particular area or vertical, even against well-established giants.
If our focus as a marketer is on our customer (B2B or B2C) it is easy to see that living on laurels of expertise is not sufficient. The target audience is changing dramatically and in order to be the marketer that delivers consistent excellence, you must be an adaptable marketer.
So when you are looking for marketing leadership at your company, make sure you find someone that not only has expertise but also is adaptable. Make sure they have participated in new technologies your target audience uses. Knowledge of the new technologies is not enough. If you really want to “know and understand the customer” (as Drucker suggests) you have to swim in their waters.
I have seen far too many marketing executives dictate brand strategy without having been active in the technologies and platforms they recommend. This is a mistake.
Marketing success will come from leaders that are 1) experts, 2) experienced, 3) adaptable, and 4) participative. All four are required. Being an expert with substantial experience is only 50% of the requirement. A marketing leader must be adaptable and participative to ensure the delivery of marketing excellence.
Make It Happen,