5 things that make a modern marketing leader

Posted: 2017-07-06 00:00:06

Leaders come in all shapes and sizes – there are the vocal ones, the lead-by-example ones, the trusting ones and the demanding ones. There’s no one-size-fits-all way to lead a team, as long as you’re producing the results, and not upsetting too many people in the process.

However, there are certain traits and skills that all great leaders seem to possess. For instance, you can be vocal, but you still need to be able to sit down and talk attentively with members of your team. Likewise, you can put trust in your team to carry out their duties, but there will still be occasions when you need to make a decision for them.

In a profession like marketing, where there is often no guarantee that action will equate to results, leaders need to possess a certain mind-set and set of skills in order to give their team the best chance of success.

Here’s what we believe to be the five traits that all great marketing leaders need to demonstrate…


You simply cannot be an inspirational marketing leader without the ability to rouse your team with creative thoughts and imaginative ideas.

For marketing to be able to cut through today’s saturated consumer landscape, it often needs to take its audience by surprise. So, you need to be able to see things in a different way, or at least be able to recognise a creative idea when it presents itself. Some of the best marketing leaders aren’t all that imaginative themselves but they know how to inspire their teams to come up with imaginative solutions.


The most important part of any project is the planning. The quality of the planning will determine the execution and the results. As a leader, you might feel like your planning days are over; that’s now somebody else’s job. That’s true to some extent – you probably won’t have to get your hands dirty by actually writing the plan, but you’ll still need to outline the overall goals. Failing to nail down the purpose of the project could result in your team heading off in a different direction to the one you had envisaged, and it would be through no fault of their own. Mapping out the strategy also gives you an opportunity to position people according to their strengths and delegate each task accordingly – which, after all, is what being a good leader is all about. 


Marketing is as much a methodical game as it is a creative one. Today, data is everything – it allows you to see where your audience is, what they’re consuming and how effective you are at reaching them. As such, it’s easy to obsess over the results of a project and lose sight of the creative process. The best leaders are able to see beyond the results and use the data as insight for the next project. Those who are clouded by the data are inclined to interpret a disappointing set of results simply as failure, which obstructs them from being able to take away and apply the positives. It’s hardly going to make a team feel like they’re working towards achieving the organisation’s goals if a leader is just disregarding their previous input.


To be a marketing leader in 2017 you need to be more than just someone who can carry a team. Half of the job is being able to constantly drive new opportunities, from both inside and outside the business. Such is the world we now live in that people only want to connect with people they see as relevant and influential in their industry. It’s the main reason personal branding has taken off in recent years – leaders know that they need to show fellow marketers that they have a voice that that’s worthy of being heard.


Even autonomous leaders need to be able to delegate. You simply don’t have enough time to own every task – nor does it suggest that you trust your team to carry out their roles without supervision. Good leadership comes from being able to delegate tasks, giving people the opportunity to shine, but making sure team members feel like they have your full support and guidance should they need it. As much as anything else, it gives you more time to ensure your team is as strong as it can be and to bring in new faces in areas that you feel might be lacking. After all, leaders are only ever as good as the people they have around them.

Are you a visionary, creator or a thinker? Complete our character analysis to find out a bit more about yourself - and how you work. 

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