4 Qualities of the Best Marketing Leaders

By Heike Young

There are marketers, and then there are transformative marketing leaders.

Which category are you in? Even better, which category would you like to be in?

Tim Kopp is clearly the latter. Tim is the former CMO of ExactTarget (now Salesforce Marketing Cloud). During his time at ExactTarget, Tim played a key role in growing the business to be the largest marketing SaaS IPO of its time and ultimately acquired by Salesforce for $2.7B. Previously, Tim was VP of Worldwide Digital Marketing for Coca-Cola and Interactive Marketing Leader at P&G. Nowadays, Tim is Venture Partner at Hyde Park Venture Partners, and he advises entrepreneurs and growing companies.

On this week’s episode of the Marketing Cloudcast — the marketing podcast from Salesforce — Tim draws on these experiences to share the characteristics and skills that he believes today’s marketers need to become true leaders.

This also happens to be our 50th episode of the Marketing Cloudcast, and we couldn’t think of a better guest for the milestone than Tim.

If you’re not yet a subscriber, check out the Marketing Cloudcast on iTunes, Google Play Music, or Stitcher.

Take a listen here:

According to Tim, there’s never been a better time to be a marketer. He told us, “Where else would you want to be right now than in marketing? It’s fluid, it’s dynamic, it’s strategic — it’s just awesome.” Joel and I agree. Subscribe for the full episode, and for a sneak preview of the conversation, here are four qualities of the best and most transformative marketing leaders from Tim.

1. They’ve developed both right and left brains.

According to Tim, “What you need is a really unique blending of right brain and left brain. You need to be as comfortable in the bowels of a spreadsheet as you are in a Powerpoint. In one moment, you’re going to be digging in and understanding analytics. And in another moment, standing up in front of a group of a thousand people communicating a vision.”

A great marketing strategy has countless moving parts. Diving into every element, from data points to overarching vision, is crucial to reaching your leadership potential. Don’t get discouraged if you’re not a data pro just yet. Many of these skills can be learned and developed. The most important thing is to be thirsty for knowledge and seek out opportunities to practice.

2. They think like recruiters.

The biggest differentiator I’ve seen [among leaders] is the ability to recruit,” reveals Tim.

No marketing leader succeeds on his or her own merits. Marketing is a team sport that requires collaboration both across the department and the company. To succeed in this fast-paced and constantly evolving profession, you need a world-class team. A true marketing leader inspires loyalty and creates a contagious environment that makes other marketers want to join.

The best marketing leaders recognize talent and applicable skills — even if a recruit’s job experiences are unorthodox. Recruiting the best marketers is as important to your success as generating high-ROI campaigns, and transformative marketing leaders act like it.

3. They’re committed to company culture.

“Everybody throws around the word culture right now, but so few people are truly committed to that. Culture is not about painting your wall a particular color and offering free drinks. That might be a manifestation of good culture, but that’s not good culture. Good culture has to flow,” Tim shares.

Like it or not, company culture is part of your marketing. Potential customers and employees alike have access to your Glassdoor information to see what your culture is really like. The impact you make in your community can be a major indicator of your culture. A happier, more productive team will also create better work. Marketing leaders should be committed to fostering a culture that helps employees thrive. And as Tim said, culture encompasses much more than free gifts or happy hours.

4. They focus on the what before the how.

Tim advises, “It sounds really obvious, but it’s so hard for us to stay committed to this — focus on the what before the how.

All the tools and channels in a marketer’s arsenal today can sometimes distract us from our strategic foundation. Why are we using email marketing? What’s the goal of this campaign? How will all of this help our business grow? Are leads sales-ready? The best marketing leaders focus on strategic priorities for their business. Only then do they plan the best way to get there. In other words, Snapchat might be the hottest channel of the week, but if it’s not clearly tied to your marketing goals and if you have no way to measure your success, you should spend time on other projects.

Our conversation with Tim Kopp (@tbkopp) yielded many more useful insights for marketers in every stage of their career. Get the complete scoop on marketing leadership from an expert in this special 50th episode of the Marketing Cloudcast.

Join the thousands of smart marketers who already subscribe on iTunes, Google Play Music, and Stitcher.

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Tweet @youngheike with marketing questions or topics you’d like to see covered next on the Marketing Cloudcast.


Originally published at www.salesforce.com.

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