6 Tips for Marketers To Transform into Strategic Leaders
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6 Tips for Marketers To Transform into Strategic Leaders

6 Tips for Marketers To Transform into Strategic Leaders

Marketing has changed dramatically for many companies, but not the perception that those who work in marketing operations are “button pushers,” carrying out tasks that require minimal skills. That “button pusher” stigma not only devalues what a marketing operations department does, it also hurts businesses that could benefit from marketing operations’ empowerment to do much more.

Now is the perfect time for marketers to transform into strategic leaders.

Marketing – as a discipline and as a function – is changing, and marketers must change too. And while this evolution correlates with the advancements of technology, it is also tied to market shifts and societal upsets such as the pandemic. In this massive upheaval, marketing operations can, and should, be an accelerator and a guide for harnessing change, as well as a new way to drive revenue and growth.

The solution for a changed image and overall function of marketing operations is up to leaders of those departments. I offer 6 ways marketing leaders can increase their influence and make a bigger impact – and create a better perception of marketing operations.

1) Become a business leader

Business-oriented marketing operations leaders have an extensive understanding of the business as a whole and are proactive in thinking about the business and bringing new solutions to the table. They engineer marketing performance and the attainment of business goals through their combined business acumen, technology, and data expertise. They know how to create partnerships and have the ability to create business insights that can better inform product decisions.

2) Transform from a tech geek into a digital visionary

A digital visionary brings a broader scope to technology, understanding both current and future technology and seeing its potential to transform a business and build a competitive advantage. Marketing operations leaders step forward to harness technology and data to pursue business goals. They shed the “tech geek” persona and replace it with a leadership style that is change-oriented and highly strategic.

3) Evolve into a process engineer

For years, both marketing and sales have been frustrated by their inability to get on the same page in terms of lead flow and lead processing. Marketing works hard to produce high-quality leads that are often dismissed by sales. In contrast, there is something almost magical when a strategic marketing operations leader takes over reengineering this core process.

4) Become a change agent

The marketing operations leader must be a catalyst who influences change through vision and inspiration. And while technology and process are essential parts of the change, an effective change agent also focuses on the people involved.

5) Don’t just hire, build teams!

The marketing operations function is defined by the evolving needs of marketing, the needs of the company, and where the talent is located. Looking at a team structure is easy, but building it out often is problematic. The strategic marketing operations leader must determine how to fill in the boxes, help develop skills, focus on the team’s strengths, and bring it all together to deliver for the future.

6) Go from the silo to cross-functional facilitator

Ideally, you want a collaborative network in which marketing operations works with sales leadership, sales and inside sales, customer success, and sales operations. Marketing operations orchestrates the development and implementation of lead management by involving all the key stakeholder groups.

Many marketing operations professionals are tired of the backroom stigma. They are frustrated, and deserve to move up, claim a more elevated voice, and a more strategic role. The time is now.

Debbie Qaqish is Partner and Chief Strategy Officer of The Pedowitz Group, where she manages global client relationships and leads the firm’s thought leadership initiatives. She has been helping B2B companies drive revenue growth for more than 35 years and is a motivational speaker, a columnist for numerous marketing publications, and host of thelive show, “Get Real with Revenue Marketing.” She also is the author of From Backroom to Boardroom: Earn Your Seat With Strategic Marketing Operations (ForbesBooks). Learn more here.

Published: June 9th, 2021

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