Over the last 18 months we’ve been conducting research to support the development of an e-learning solution for in-house marketing teams. A large part of that research has involved speaking to marketing executives from across the North of England to ask their opinions, feelings and thoughts for the future.
Inevitably, the subject of marketing leadership (or lack of it) featured prominently. We decided to dive a little deeper into the topic and find out what in-house marketing teams want from their immediate leadership, the directors and senior managers that they report to.
The full research is due to be published alongside the launch of the e-learning platform, but I wanted to give you a sneak peak at some of the results in advance, in the hope that they can be used to effectively manage and lead your own team now.
There were a few common themes that ran through the research.
In general, people are satisfied or happy with their leadership but acknowledge room for improvement.
Marketers were asked to rate the leadership/management style of the person that they report to on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being extremely satisfied and 1 being completely dissatisfied.
The average score was 3.9, showing a general disposition towards being happy with how they’re managed.
Who They Report To
Those who reported to a marketing director were more satisfied than those who reported to a managing director or sales director.
Participants were asked about their general satisfaction at work and the performance of their leaders. They were also asked who their team reported to. We then used this data to assess if there was a correlation between the person they report to (and their role) and perceived performance and satisfaction.
The most satisfied marketers reported to a head of marketing, marketing director, digital marketing lead or senior marketing manager.
The least satisfied reported directly to the managing director or sales director, with reasons ranging from a lack of understanding of the marketing function, too much of a focus on sales (by sales directors) and being held back from trying new channels/tactics from lack of understanding.
Things They Liked About Their Leaders
The things their leaders did well were generally soft skills and qualitative.
Which areas do you think your leadership does well?
Positive Attitude 75.9%
The Things That Need Improvement
Communication and time management were common themes throughout the research. Many of the qualitative exchanges revolved around clear communication, last minute or unrealistic deadlines and being incorrectly briefed.
Which areas could your leadership improve on?
Time management 32.8%
Inspiring Others 29.3%
Creativity & Innovation 22.4%
Whilst the research is ongoing I think it’s important to take a step back and look at the data so far to see if there are opportunities to explore other areas of emerging themes. So far it’s given us some lines of enquiry for further investigation.
It’s also massively important to realise that research alone doesn’t give a full picture. The most value has come from the qualitative exchanges between my team and in-house marketers and the open ended questions we’ve included in the research.
My experience of good leadership both in my prior line of work and in business has ultimately boiled down to a leader listening to, considering and engaging their team. That to me is one of the key differences between managing and leading a team to success.
This research has certainly given me some food for thought and there is obviously a clear demand for marketers to be led by someone who understands their job, communicates clearly and with commitment. I’m looking forward to publishing the full results in the near future!