According to the research firm, a balance of hard and soft skills are key to leading an agile marketing organization. Gartner outlines these seven skills in a white paper called “CMO Perspective: 7 Key Practices to Successfully Lead Today’s Agile Marketing Organization” and a webinar scheduled for Thursday.
“The agile approach is still new for even the most seasoned CMOs,” states Elizabeth Shaw, Gartner’s research director in a new report.
Foremost, Gartner mentions marketers must develop trust—it will break down barriers and encourage collaborative problem-solving. This is an ongoing effort that should be nurtured and maintained, with the CMO taking personal responsibility for developing trust.
“I give feedback regularly and speak openly about opportunities,” Alicia Tillman, CMO of SAP told Forbes in a recent interview. “I think this is really important. What creates trust between a leader and the team members is transparency. This matters not only to me and my success but equally to that person and their development.”
Driving change within the organization, the next skill mentioned in the report, is made possible by crafting and sharing an authentic and clear vision. Collaboration with peers, executives and partners will help identify all opportunities and threats, Gartner said but warned that employees’ roles and goals should be clearly defined.
A recent study by the CMO Council and Deloitte found that the success of a campaign often relies on allies within the organization. While 31 percent of respondents claim their organizational allies to be locked on and supportive of marketing strategies and goals, 26 percent said that allies within the company are too busy focusing on their own strategies. Three percent said that alignment with marketing strategies are good, but fall apart at the point of execution.
Soft skills like empathy, creativity and compassion represent the third skill in the report. “The ability to explain a person’s point of view and motivation is key to eliminating biases, making better decisions and motivating team members,” said Gartner.
This skill set especially applies in the marketing industry, which has called for greater diversity among its team members.
“Managing a diverse team in not as simple as hiring and putting together the right people,” wrote Peter Bryant, managing partner at Clareo and senior fellow at the Kellogg Innovation Network and Nicky Friedman, Director of the CMO Forum. “Diverse teams are successful because they often avoid groupthink and uninspired outcomes.”
Being a leader means also being a student and sharing leadership authority. The best leaders, Gartner pointed out, are also students—constantly open, eager and without preconceptions when exploring something new.
Being an agile marketer also requires the CMO to be engaged and aware at all times, constantly evaluating the big picture and the details. This equals constant calibration—adopting disciplined and defined work styles, realistic goal orientation and capability-based contribution.
Ensuring that all voices are heard and considered, says Gartner, helps to build a culture of collaboration. Collaboration is more than just “working together, and CMOs must stimulate and coach each person individually, as well as the collective team.
Lastly, Gartner reminds marketers to reward individual and team outcomes, saying that great leaders make sure they customize the type of recognition they provide to each member of their team.
The growing list of CMO responsibilities may seem daunting but in an ever-changing landscape, it is vital that CMOs be flexible, Equinox CMO Vimla Gupta told AList.
“This job is changing on a dime every single day,” she said. “It is becoming increasingly technical. Understanding how the technology can help you and how to use it, how to invest in it, recruit the right people or partner with the right agency is critical. Many of us are learning on the job because the industry is moving so quickly.”