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To be prepared for the changes facing marketing, most leaders educated decades ago need to retool. From analytics to technology to finance, there are a number of areas where marketers graduating today have more contemporary training than their older brethren. Below, I explore ways that marketers can retool to face today’s marketing challenges and provide insight from Christine DeYoung, Partner at global executive search firm DHR International and Kristin Kelley, CMO of staffing firm Randstad North America.
Ways Marketers Can Retool
Christine DeYoung: Get involved in University incubators where you can get exposed to new business, new thinking, and new approaches. Being around hubs of innovation can spur new ways of developing ideas. Also, belong to and attend industry learning sessions—whether it’s CMO events, Women in Business conferences, Alumni discussions, or something else. These types of experience can expand your network and your skills. Lastly, consider hiring a Coach to help identify and work on areas of opportunities. This is more common at the C-level, but is increasingly useful other levels as well for individuals seeking to have greater impact.
Kristin Kelly: This is obvious, but enrolling in MOOCs, Lynda.com, Coursera, etc. are all ways to increase knowledge. If cost is an issue, see if your company will foot the bill. Explain how the course will help you improve your performance and how this can benefit the company. Essentially, link their investment to you in better firm outcomes. If your company does offer anything concrete in terms of upskilling, make sure to attend those internal trainings as they both show initiative and are likely free. My biggest piece of advice—don’t rely on mentors, management, or your company to tell you how to upskill. To be a competitive candidate, you must look out for yourself and your own growth.
Whitler: As somebody who retooled by getting a PhD after working in GM and CMO jobs, I will offer up one learning regarding prioritization and planning. For me, it was important to develop my own learning plan. For example, while I spent 5 years getting a PhD, I didn’t really have much education on how to teach. When I accepted a position at the Darden School of Business, known for being the “world’s best learning experience” (according to the Economist 8 years in a row), I decided to develop one learning plan focused on teaching (I always have a couple of plans going at the same time). I did three things. First, I went to the Dean and asked him who I should observe (i.e., who were rockstar, senior professors who had high impact in the classroom, from whom I could learn). I made a list and observed these individuals. Second, in my first semester teaching, I asked senior faculty to come and observe my teaching and provide feedback. Third, in my first elective, I had several touchpoints with students to receive feedback prior to the end of the class and adjust as necessary. I started by identifying a core competency that the school had (and one in which I did not yet have a competency). I then developed a plan to build my competency in this new area and then executed it. We often do this for subordinates—develop learning plans. However, at the C-level, nobody develops a plan for the CMO. That’s why it’s critical to think through what skill development you want to prioritize and identify how best to pursue it.
Join the Discussion: @KimWhitler
December 22, 2018 at 08:29PM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs