Five lessons from Marketing's Next Generation of leaders
A view from Noelle McElhatton

Five lessons from Marketing's Next Generation of leaders

Disenchanted, detached, demoralised. If that's your view of the next generation, you may be spending too much time with the Daily Mail.

The description is certainly at odds with Marketing's 2012 Next Generation of rising stars and future leaders. The 'D' you find here: dedication, to their brand, customer and even broader society.

At a time when the economy is as grim as the November weather and marketing as much about crisis-management as building a brand, our young marketers have their work cut out for them, and they know it.

Managing big budgets, partnerships or campaigns, here's what we found out about our trailblazers:

1. They are given a lot of responsibility early on

Each of the 30 has at least one major launch under their belt. Some have already proved their bona fides: Bryn Snelson of eHarmony, for example, is the brand's country manager, promoted after managing a £7m budget.

2. Roles are diverse

You need the correct balance of rigour, empathy and creativity, depending on whether you are managing partnerships, customers or campaigns. Greg Nugent, former marketing director of LOCOG, nominates brand manager Heather Mills for her handling of London 2012 stakeholders, agencies and sponsors.

3. Passion is the common ingredient

'I live and breathe my brand and really don't see it as a job.' So says Coke Zero brand manager Sarah Pajak, whose sentiments would sound twee if they didn't echo those of all the marketers here.

4. Your next boss will probably be a woman

The marketer's blend of leftand right-brain skills, mixed with organisational and creative abilities, is gender-neutral. But with 19 of our 30 young marketers female, the likelihood of women dominating the next generation of marketing leaders is strong.

5. For this generation's bosses, the rules have changed

The challenge for marketing directors is not 'how do we manage the next generation?' but 'how do we empower it?' so they can achieve their business dreams and reach their potential.

Nothing else will do for these bright young people, for whom the future can't come soon enough.

Noelle McElhatton is editor of Marketing or follow me on Twitter: @n_mcelhatton