How to Become a Marketing Director
The tips and tricks for helping you to rise through the ranks
If you're looking to step up and become a Marketing Director we've provided some handy tips to help you get there.
Set the agenda
In order to be an effective leader, the first thing you really need to do is set the tone, standard and expectation with your team. This may take you a little while to figure out, but is time well worth spending. Once they all know what is expected of them, you need to ensure that everyone lives up to it – including yourself. Whether that's response times, targets, budgets or correctness, you need to be very clear on what is acceptable, and what isn't, and stick to it. By doing this, you'll be seen as a leader who knows what they want, and everyone will know exactly where they are – great for galvanizing a team who may work disparately.
If you do this already, make a note of what techniques or qualities you have that make you good at it, then be sure to share these in an interview. If this concept is new to you, think of one area of your job where you might be able to instil a new standard or expectation – even if it's keeping the office tidy! – and make sure everyone follows the rules.
Build a supply network you trust
This should be an ongoing project. You probably already work with a few suppliers or agencies that you really connect with. But if you moved company to a more senior position, would you bring them with you? If not, why not?
When moving on you want to come with people you can rely on, so if your supply base isn't working out for you now, restructure it so you can easily bring it with you when you move. Reach out to gain recommendations from acquaintances on suppliers to use, and be honest with your current ones about what's working and what's not. Remember good relationships take time to build and nurture, but don't be afraid to take action if something isn't right.
Develop your marketing team
It's often been said that you're only as good as your weakest player, and your team do represent you in everything they do. So by that regard, investing in your team means you invest in yourself. Make sure you spend time getting to know them and their goals, and push them to improve and take on more autonomy. At the end of the day, you need them to be running everything smoothly, and if they feel supported and encouraged, they are more likely to do that for you.
Again, make note of any techniques or qualities that you think make you successful in developing a team, so they are up your sleeve when you need them.
Build internal relationships
When you first undertake a new senior position, you may find it in some ways quite lonely. But more importantly, you need to be able to work with other departments – from IT to Finance and HR – about how to deliver your strategy, and what they might expect of you, so you'll need to reach out to key people so they know who you are. You probably do this already to some extent, so think about how you engage with each of these departments – what language do they use? What are their priorities? If you can come across as friendly but professional, open and honest, and putting the needs of the business above your own, you're bound to go far.
Stay on top of everything!
Much easier said than done, but in reality this is what you have to do, so make sure you diarise even a small amount of time for everything. Don't get too detached from anyone in your team (they all have vital roles to play), and make sure you're always covering the basics, budget, deliverables, periodic reporting etc. Then there's keeping up to date with internal politics and business performance. If you can get included on any circular emails to directors within the business then do that, and stop and catch up with people you feel you should be talking to every now and then, just to check in.
Then of course there's keeping up to date with the external world – new technologies, medias, competitors and brands that just seem to be doing everything right. It's vital to stay connected with the world out there, otherwise you could lose sight of why you're even there. If that means taking the odd afternoon out to go to a conference or catch up with a friend who gives good perspective, make sure you do.
And remember our Marketing & Creative expert recruiters are always on hand to provide confidential, one-to-one advice on helping you to step up and become a marketing director.
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