Today’s marketers are under immense pressure to demonstrate value, react quickly to career changes and – somewhere in the mix – maintain a personal life, too.
The CMO Club recently hosted a Digital Roundtable where members discussed what it takes to achieve personal and career success in today’s stressful world. Moderated by Rodrigo Sierra, CMO at American Medical Association, what resulted was an enlightened conversation chalk full of advice to CMOs, from CMOs.
Balancing the Pressure to Prove Your Value and Realize Your Own Worth
CMOs are exceptional problem-solvers and strategists, but can get typecast as the person whose department primarily creates beautiful websites. Members pointed out that it’s important to highlight your skills (even if they seem obvious) and show value by helping with tasks beyond marketing.
Show that you are a cross-functional team member by providing actionable advice and input at the strategy level, and you will prove invaluable to the team and company – without ever having to explicitly state your worth.
Many other people in your organization don’t know what’s involved in the day-to-day activities of a marketer – so you need to find creative ways to show them. One member said they even included other employees in vendor calls and strategy sessions to show them what all goes into the marketing process.
What To Do When It’s Time to Move On
It’s no secret that the average tenure of a CMO is quite short, but the transition to a new position should be thought of as a new opportunity, not a failed one.
Ultimately, the decision to move on can be enforced by the company or the CMO. Either way, members agreed that it’s the perfect time to present yourself with new challenges and make choices that elevate your career.
One secret to choosing the next role wisely is learning as much as you can up front. Brands are always their best selves when trying to woo a new hire, but it’s important to see beyond the surface. One member suggested having a conversation with as many people at the organization as possible to get a sense of the ground level culture. Another said he takes them out to dinner and watches how they interact with the people around them to get an idea of how they really think and behave.
“If possible, I think it’s important to find a position where the money becomes secondary. Where you look at the position and the challenges first. It’s far more interesting if you do it that way,” said Honiball. “If it doesn’t wake you up in the morning, just don’t do it.”
Establishing Professional Boundaries for Personal Success
Perhaps one of the most difficult – and important – things for a busy CMO to do is unplug and step away. By doing so, you are actually becoming a better marketer, as taking time off and traveling (even within your own city) allows you to interact at ground level with other companies and see recent consumer trends in action.
Most members agreed that the key to balancing work/personal time is to set expectations and simply communicate with your team about when you are and aren’t available. Then, you need to lead by example and actually stick to the boundaries you’ve put in place. For example, tell yourself that it’s ok to wait until morning to check those emails sent after 8 p.m. – your family (and your team) will thank you.
CMOs also agreed that they don’t want to be the reason that others give up their own work/life balance.
“I’ve found that I need to set the tone. I incorporated a policy of no emails between Friday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 8 p.m. I’ve noticed that if I casually send out an email on Saturday at 4 p.m., I might accidentally involve 4 people in a 2-hour conversation, because they all feel compelled to respond to me. I want to allow people to unplug and take the time they need,” said Honiball.
Still finding it hard to unplug, or get the impulse to send a quick email when an idea hits? Use an email scheduler and set it to send within assigned working hours. Then, no one has to feel pressured to answer your 2 a.m. brainstorming sessions until every’s had morning coffee the next day.
Do you have advice for achieving personal and career success? Let us know in the comments!