Marketing Power

Hays report shows shift in importance of marking director.

Marketing Power

Australia & New Zealand

Research from Hays has suggested that CEOs are increasingly relying on their marketing director to understand and deliver digital transformation. This shift is giving marketing greater influence internally and necessitating the requirement for marketing directors to have stakeholder engagement, problem solving and digital skills if they want to succeed.

The DNA of a Marketing Director from Hays is based on a survey of over 400 current marketing heads. “We found the biggest business challenge facing marketing directors is improving the customer experience (47 per cent), followed by keeping pace with technology advances (41 per cent), harnessing and interpreting data (40 per cent) and implementing digital platforms and tools (39 per cent),” said Susan Drew, senior regional director at Hays. “But these challenges bring opportunities too, notably the ability to have more frequent and personal interactions with customers. Advancements in machine learning, predictive analytics, AI, AR and VR, the internet of things and blockchain will ultimately improve the customer experience and bring precision and accuracy to decision-making. This allows marketing to position itself at the heart of an organisation and lead real change.”

As Brent Smart, chief marketing officer at IAG and former CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi put it in the report, “I read somewhere that the future marketer needs to have the head of an engineer and the heart of a poet. In a future dominated by science and technology, the art will become a rarer and more precious skill that the great marketers will wield.”

Hays’s report reveals the typical DNA of today’s Marketing Directors:

  • 77 per cent have developed their digital skills to complement their traditional marketing skills;
  • 69 per cent consider themselves to be a data-driven marketer;
  • 58 per cent say people management is the most important skill required to be successful, followed by marketing strategy (54 per cent);
  • Stakeholder engagement is the third most important skill (48 per cent), highlighting the importance of engaging with others across an organisation to collaborate and gain buy-in on strategy;
  • Necessary personal characteristics include being proactive (65 per cent) and a problem-solver (64 per cent);
  • Achieving company objectives is their number one professional challenge (25 per cent), while organisational politics is the number one career related challenge (58 per cent);
  • 26 per cent aspire to take on a bigger marketing role and 17 per cent aspire to becoming CEO;
  • Less than half (46 per cent) have always worked in marketing;
  • 78 per cent attend events for career development and 71 per cent keep up-to-date with the latest trends in marketing;
  • 31 per cent said a lack of mentoring, support or guidance was a key challenge in their career;
  • 46 to 55 hours are the norm for 43 per cent while a further 23 per cent work between 56 and 65 hours;
  • 56 per cent have more than 15 years’ experience in marketing and 72 per cent have worked for more than four organisations prior to their current role;
  • More than half (59 per cent) have worked outside Australia and New Zealand at some point during their career, including the UK (60 per cent), North America (28 per cent), Asia (25 per cent) and Europe
  • (22 per cent). Almost all say the experience had ‘considerable’ (75 per cent) or ‘some’ (23 per cent) benefit on their career;
  • Encouragingly, 73 per cent say that if they had their time all over again, they would still choose a career in marketing;
  • 30 per cent hold a business, commerce, finance or economics degree, 26 per cent hold a marketing degree, 14 per cent an arts/humanities degree and 13 per cent a communications/public relations degree;
  • Marketing Directors are typically women in their 30s and 40s: 65 per cent are female and 82 per cent are aged between 31 and 50;
  • Typically they have 20 indirect reports and six direct reports;
  • Only 9 per cent sit on their organisation’s board.



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