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How to Convince Your CEO That Skimping on Marketing Talent Is No Bargain

by Laura Patterson  |  
November 23, 2015

If only you could achieve market leadership—and get a huge discount on marketing talent to boot—as quickly and easily as you can buy online with just a click on Cyber Monday.

But you know there's no shortcut to finding effective marketing leaders, in time for the market opportunity window, on the cheap. Yet... that doesn't stop some CEOs from expecting it.

Let's face it, it's never been more challenging to achieve market leadership: Product life cycles are shorter, there is greater price transparency, stockholders as well as customers have higher expectations, and both are less loyal; there are also more channels, more countries, more competition, and more distinct segments to manage on the way to market leadership.

The "mores" also make it extremely challenging to lead the marketing function: There are more data to crunch, more silos to tear down, more marketing disciplines to manage, and more marketing technology to evaluate and implement. And, certainly, there is more pressure from the C-suite to prove and improve the value of marketing.

Considering all those challenges, you and every member of your marketing team needs to bring more skills and more experience to the business of marketing than ever before.

So, Why Do CEOs and Boards of Directors Expect You To...

  • Hire part-time marketing leaders?
  • Transform someone with industry experience, but no marketing experience, into a successful marketer—within the market opportunity window?
  • Find the right marketing candidate on Craigslist "on the cheap"?

By now many of you are nodding your head because you've seen one or more of the above scenarios play out—with poor results.

Here's a real-life example. A friend of mine, who has been a successful CMO for 15 years, was recently approached by an executive from a company; its board had decided they needed more marketing, now. There were new competitive threats, and the board had set an aggressive growth plan. In addition to competitive analysis and demand generation, the job's scope included launching product definition and management disciplines, implementing solution and content marketing (including a new website), and creating sales and marketing assets for all phases of the prospect lifecycle. Such a highly strategic role should be a perfect fit for a seasoned CMO with industry experience, right? Wrong. They had only one resource, a junior corporate communications manager, and no plans to add anyone else, and they proposed that she freelance on the weekend to achieve the goals. When the CMO told him that what he was asking for could not possibly be delivered by one person on a part-time basis, the exec thanked her for her honesty and shared that the board had suggested that he recruit someone from Craigslist to keep costs low...

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Laura Patterson is president and founder of VisionEdge Marketing. For 20+ years, she has been helping CEOs and marketing executives at companies such as Cisco, Elsevier, ING, Intel, Kennametal, and Southwest Airlines prove and improve the value of marketing. Her most recent book is Metrics in Action: Creating a Performance-Driven Marketing Organization.

Twitter: @LauraVEM

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