This week we’re celebrating brilliant marketers – marketers who not only build brands and businesses but who do so through developing real partnerships with their agency suppliers. Even better, these are marketers who have flair, who are masters of data and evidence but who have an eye for effective creativity. And (though some are better at this than others) these are marketers who are keenly aware of their responsibilities to their consumers and to the planet.
It’s almost impossible to draw any definitive conclusions about what makes a great marketer from the attributes of the eclectic bunch that make up our Power 100. But adaptability, welcoming change, embracing new approaches and pushing for fresh thinking are fundamental requirements.
Nothing new there, though where such characteristics were once merely desirable, they are now business-critical. Integrity is also right up there. A lack of it might not be much of a hindrance in the short term, but you don’t have a sustainable career in marketing now without integrity as a guiding principle. I can’t say for certain that all of our Power 100 marketers have that, but it’s a fair bet most conduct themselves with fairness, openness and empathy as touchstones. No surprises that such qualities are also likely to accompany professional success.
As an aside, there’s clearly as much of a talent shortage on the client side as there is on the agency side if you consider how a few marketers keep getting top jobs despite toxic reputations and serially disappointing performances.
Take one particular marketing chief who is almost universally loathed by the agencies with which they work but who keeps popping up in big roles.
When their name came up in a conversation with one of their partners this week, I braced for some painful stories about the bullying the poor agency has suffered at their hands. Instead, I was surprised to find the agency was quick to defend their client.
Apparently, "at least you know exactly where you stand with X". Turns out, "at least X is upfront about what they want and expect, and then we can deal with that". It was a depressing reflection of how broken some marketer/agency relationships can become, when being brutally clear (with the emphasis on brutally) is a welcome virtue because "we’ve got other clients who just breed confusion, saying one thing and doing another."
Anyway, all of that serves to throw into sharper relief the achievements of those marketers who have set new standards for their peers to aspire to. I hope we have even more difficulty next year whittling down our list of candidates to just 100.