Monday, 9 November 2009

Top Marketing Execs Think They're "Visionaries." NOT!

Interesting study done by the US Association of National Advertisers called "The State of Marketing: The Shift" (link) surveying 150 director up to CMO level execs.
  • "69% indicated they felt they were a "Leader" or "Visionary" (the top two levels of professional development, according to the survey). 
  • However, nearly half (46%) showed through behavioral indications that they were acting more like "Tacticians" or "Facilitators" (the two lower stages of development)." 
In actual fact, only 31% turned out to be true "visionaries":
  • "...more likely to be leading strategic dialogue (89% vs. 11%), and more likely to be leading discussions about reinventing the overall business model (65% vs. 21%)."
Disregarding the ego issues (it is human nature, hard-wired in our brains, actually, to ignore evidence that we are not as terrific as we believe ourselves to be -- this helps us build up the confidence to go after promotions and become leaders), it what's most interesting here is the last bit: "leading strategic dialogue" and "reinventing the overall business model".

As an industry we pay a ton of lip-service to these things (TONS of articles speak to them these days, especially to innovating business models), but few leaders, let alone companies, can actually put them into practice.  It's not that they don't want to, the problem is that most people just aren't good at this rare combination of thinking skills, which require (in one person) both creative thinking AND strategic/conceptual analytical ability. However teams of people CAN inject both.

My point is that if today's agency-brand group teams are not working daily to both think deeply strategically (most so-called "social marketing" today is really just tactical execution) and reinvent, not their brand's tactics, but the actual underlying business model, then they are going to lose out to brand teams that are capable of doing both.  The real "Top Marketing Leaders" will encourage and support this kind of thinking, pushing for it to happen as the rule, not the exception.

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