Profile: Sir Charlie Mayfield

John Lewis Partnership Chairman

Marketing nirvana can be found with collaborations

Improving relations between marketing and the board is low on the marketing department’s priority list, according to the report The Marketing Leadership Gap by the Cranfield School of Management.

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The research claims that marketers have become “consumed with online marketing tools at the expense of their internal leadership role, which is damaging their ability to influence strategy”.

Marketers rate their top priority as taking advantage of technology opportunities. Improving skills and competencies to meet new challenges, together with better measurement and accountability make up their top three marketing concerns.

Is it vital for marketers to use new technologies well? Of course it is. But when marketers make their own internal profiles a lesser priority, along with “improving marketing’s ability to work cross functionally”, one wonders how this nirvana will come about. Because it is rare that marketers can find the time, staff and resources to use new technology without assistance and support from the finance director, IT director, customer services, communications, frontline staff and…well, you get the message.

New technology is only going to be useful as a facilitator for the strategy and insight that exists within a company. In this day and age, that’s not always held in one place, especially in larger firms where ecommerce executives might not sit next to the brand marketers despite them all contributing to the brand’s success. So working with different divisions of a business should be the starting point for many marketers.

Collaboration across the business will be taking place at Marketing Week while I go on maternity leave for a few months. I’ll still see you all at our Engage Awards on May 21 and Marketing Week Live this summer, but my colleague Branwell Johnson will move over to the editor’s hot seat while I am away.

Although I’ll be back in the office before the next Cranfield School of Management survey into marketers’ priorities, I can only hope that some of the issues highlighted in the report will be ancient history.

The research states that “with marketing continually bemoaning its declining credibility, lack of representation at board level and overall loss of influence, it is worrying that marketing leaders still do not feel that it is a priority for them to improve relationships with the top team.”

So don’t hang around. Change things in your organisation today. After all, remember that nobody else will do the marketing for marketers.

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