The responsibility for advancing your career falls into your own hands. Here, a seasoned CMO lends some sage advice on the matter.
During last week's Summit, Sandra Zoratti sat down for an afternoon chat with Steven Handmaker, CMO of Assurance. Inspiring and insightful, Steven shared his secrets for becoming a marketing disruptor in your company, giving us all attainable actions we can start doing today in order to successfully rise to new levels.
In the early days of Steven's career, he was known as a writer that could write anything. He was the go-to-guy for producing compelling, engaging copy on a dime. Similarly, he had an employee whose trademark was effectively managing (often times stressful) events while keeping her cool. Teammates always wanted to work with the woman that stayed calm under pressure.
Using the words of Roy Spence, Sandra added, “Be great at what you are good at.” A great insight and one that reminds us to hone the skills we already have as marketers, leaders and team members!
Steven shared a story about how, every week, he would search for 15 relevant articles to send to the executives within his company. These articles - hand picked and curated around their specific needs - would help the executives do their jobs better. What's more, by providing value to his C-Suite and helping them cut through the information clutter, it served the dual purpose of keeping Steven top of mind with the people who would come to vouch for him and his skills down the line.
Whether it's your superiors or your team members, remember that going the extra step to elevate the people around you will only help you, too. This is a team, after all!
Take the time to turn employees into brand ambassadors and give them the tools to spread the good word about your brand. Invest in educating your marketing team members - they do have the deepest knowledge of the brand and can easily help evangelize it both internally and externally. Tap into their expansive personal networks by encouraging conversation, dialogues and even establishing an employee advocacy initiative within your company.
As brands increasingly take note of the value that lies within their teams, this is something we will continue to see more of in the future.
You have the potential to impress people with your unique expertise and passions.
An example that Steven shared here was about a time he was approached at a conference in the past. While at the event, a brash New Yorker asked for Steven for his business card and, for the next two years, Steven was consistently sent social media content from this person. While not necessarily helping him in the moment, this person immediately came to mind when a colleague asked Steven for a recommendation on a social media thought leader.
Identify what you want to be known for (see #1, above), and stick to it. Consistency is key here.
As marketers, we say it a lot, but it does seem to warrant a reminder: Always bring new ideas to the table.
Share something that no one told you to do or that may not be on the current plan. Not every idea will be the million dollar winner, but it will get you in the habit of brainstorming and letting innovation come to the surface. Steven pointed out that the people who practice this daily are the people that get ahead. Not because they were excellent at doing their job and executing the tasks laid out within their role description, but because they were innovating.
If your idea gets rejected, try, and try again, don't let your new ideas die.
And finally, Steven’s closing advice: Remember that you are responsible for advancing your career. While your team and company wants to see you thrive as an individual and professional, you are living in a fantasy if you think an organization is always looking out for your best interests.
Hear his thoughts on the latest trends, consumer insights and the future of the marketing role.
"Like velociraptors testing the fence, they [marketers] are undoubtedly making progress."