I say it all the time: “The Marketing department should be in charge of everything”. I know it sound self-serving since I’m a marketing guy, but there are some strong points to consider.

  • Creative professionals (designers, writers, marketers) are natural problem solvers. When you use your right brain all day, you become very adept at finding a solution and not just relying on what has been done in the past.
  • Marketing has to play all angles. The Sales department just wants to see high dollar figures, Production just wants to make as many items as possible, Accounting does not care about the customers needs, Customer service does not have to justify their existence with sales numbers and Engineers just want to make cool stuff, don’t care if there is demand for it or not.
  • Marketing, advertising and public relations are big picture, long-term endeavors. It takes a person of vision to strategically plan 18-24 months on advance. It also takes research, attention to details and being open to all possibilities. It also takes stick-to-it-ness to not abandon the program too soon, or at the very first setback.
  • Once you create (or adapt) a brand (the whole persona of a company or product) you take it to heart, you defend it and you think of it as a child or major appendage. That attitude leads to a committed and passionate corporate leader.
  • Who knows the company better than the guy or gal or writes all the brochures, web site content and press releases? No one.
  • Working in marketing requires you to wear many hats on a daily basis. Being a CEO is hard, ever-changing work. The boss has to understand the entire company, each department, the products/services, company history, the competition and have ideas for the future. The many roles of marketing pros = on the job CEO training.
  • We have BIG ideas. Creative professionals always look at problems, opportunities and even day-to-day operations from a different view-point. Willingness to try new approachs or be open to ideas is very powerful.
  • Who is most likely to have public speaking, media relations and crisis management training? Who do you want on camera or speaking to a reporter if something is going really bad (or really well)? A marketing pro will know what to do and say, always sticking to predefined messaging and brand protection.
To survive (and thrive) in today’s market, every company needs a creative leader who is prepared for the challenge. I’m willing to bet, that person is working in your marketing department right now. If not, you might want to consider who it is that is crafting the image and message of your company. Today’s Director of Marketing (or Advertising or Creative) should be tomorrow’s CEO.
If you think being creative is overrated for corporate leadership, I have two words for you: Steve Jobs. The perfect example of a visionary leader who understood what the market wanted (even if they didn’t), innovation and sticking to your core principles and messaging. As Apple advertising once said: “Think Different”.