During the Future CMO Club Summit event, I learned a few tricks and ideas to keep in mind that will help marketers elevate their career to the next level.
It's 2:52 AM CST and I'm almost through with the most formative event of my nascent marketing career: the ambitiously named "Future CMO Club Marketing and Mentoring Summit." Some of the best young marketing talent in the country gathered to hear from senior leaders about the state of the industry and, more importantly, what it will take to remove that word 'future' from the title. Despite rigorous quality control efforts, I was allowed to attend, and the following ideas stood out as most transformative.
The shift from purpose as a hollow, motivational cliche to a solid strategy driver happens somewhere near the bottom line. Keynote speaker Roy Spence, Chairman of the Board at GSD&M, reminded us (courtesy of his mother): "don't spend time becoming average at what you're bad at - become great at what you're good at." Jim Stengel observed the phenomenon, documented in his book "Grow," that companies with a clearly defined ideal regularly outpace the market by factors of ten or more.
Roy's advice to get sharp rather than be well-rounded encouraged the marketers in the room to align their talents with their job functions in order to see similar returns on a career level. If you already find yourself excitedly thinking about work when you wake up in the morning and again (or still) as you drift off at night - that's a decent start. If you feel a little rudderless consider kickstarting your purpose search with an assessment like StrengthsFinder.
If you really want to move the needle, getting marginally better at the things you're already doing won't cut it.
Steven Handmaker, CMO of Assurance, told us to bring new ideas to the table, and if they get shot down, propose another new idea! You might make it to number fourteen on your list before getting the green light, but it's worth it for the sake of a potential game-changer. However, new ideas by themselves don't accomplish anything, so Handmaker stressed courage as one of the traits most necessary for those seeking to truly have an impact. Have an idea you've been sitting on? Get your reasoning straight, take a daytime shot of whiskey*, and go pitch your boss!
Your car needs routine maintenance. Your phone needs to upgrade its OS. Musical instruments need tuning. There is a clear rule in play when it comes to performance, yet some of us grind out 70 hour weeks for months on end and assume we're functioning at peak capacity.
On this topic, Trish Mueller, Independent Board Director for Dave & Buster's, and Kim Feil, CEO of bizHive.com, implored the room to be intentional about disconnecting and recharging. Trish reminded the audience that no one on their deathbed ever wished for more time spent at work. In addition to giving yourself a mental break and boosting your creativity, time off serves as a nice ego check. When the business runs without you, it's a reminder that you're not the center of the universe.
If you're in a job with no culture of self-care check out Project Time Off to help you make the business case for vacation time.
If you're hoping to climb the ranks as a marketer in either the B2B or B2C world, know that the people who already have the job you want think these three things matter. I know that I'll personally be working to integrate them alongside the rest of the great content from the summit and - hopefully - it will up my game!
In our latest Marketer to Watch interview, we get Steve Wimmer's opinion on how marketing is changing and what he thinks will set apart marketers of the future.
"Like velociraptors testing the fence, they [marketers] are undoubtedly making progress."