How to Develop a Low-Performing Marketing Leader

October 30, 2023

What Constitutes a Low-Performing Marketing Leader?

A low-performing marketing leader can manifest in various ways within an organisation. They may struggle to set clear objectives, lack strategic vision, or show an inability to adapt to the ever-evolving marketing landscape. In some cases, they might not effectively communicate with their team, fail to inspire creativity, or simply lack the necessary industry knowledge and technical skills.

A key marker of a low-performing marketing leader is the inability to measure and analyse campaign performance, leading to misguided marketing investments and lost opportunities. Their lack of accountability often results in missed targets and wasted resources, ultimately affecting team morale and the bottom line.

Importance of Developing a Low-Performing Marketing Leader.

Developing a low-performing marketing leader is not only about salvaging an individual's career but also a strategic move that can significantly impact your company's growth. A leader's influence extends to the entire marketing team, shaping their performance, morale, and ability to meet business objectives.

By investing in the development of an under-performing marketing leader, you enhance your organisation's ability to stay competitive and agile in a fast-paced marketing landscape. It can lead to better decision-making, innovative strategies, and improved collaboration within the marketing department.

Examples of Poor Marketing Leadership.

Identifying a low-performing marketing leader is crucial for business success. Once you recognise the signs, it becomes possible to take corrective action, fostering a more effective and results-driven marketing leadership team. Here are ten examples of poor marketing leadership traits:

  1. Lack of Strategic Vision: Failing to set clear, long-term marketing goals and strategies can hinder a marketing leader's ability to guide their team effectively.
  2. Inconsistent Messaging: Poor marketing leaders may allow inconsistent branding and messaging, leading to confusion among customers and a weaker brand identity.
  3. Resistance to Change: Being resistant to adopting new technologies and trends in marketing can result in stagnant strategies that don't keep up with industry advancements.
  4. Ineffective Communication: A marketing leader who struggles to communicate clearly with their team can hinder collaboration and the execution of marketing campaigns.
  5. Micromanagement: Overly controlling leaders can stifle creativity and innovation within their team, leading to a lack of ownership and initiative among team members.
  6. Lack of Accountability: Failing to take responsibility for the team's performance and outcomes can erode trust and hinder the team's ability to learn from mistakes.
  7. Ignoring Data and Analytics: Disregarding data-driven insights in favour of gut feelings or personal preferences can lead to misguided marketing decisions.
  8. Poor Team Management: Inadequate team management skills, such as failing to motivate or support team members, can result in a demotivated and unproductive team.
  9. Overemphasis on Short-Term Goals: Focusing solely on short-term results and neglecting long-term brand-building can hinder the organization's sustainable growth.
  10. Inadequate Industry Knowledge: A marketing leader who lacks up-to-date knowledge of industry trends, emerging technologies, and consumer behaviours can hinder the team's ability to stay competitive.
"When your marketing leader is under pressure to perform, providing access to an external mentor can be the spark that re-ignites high performance.

Paul Mills
CEO & Founder, VCMO

What Are the Key Steps to Developing a Low-Performing Marketing Leader?

An investment in transforming a low-performing marketing leader can lead to a more successful, efficient, and profitable marketing division. Here are the key steps that should be considered to turn around an underperforming leader:

  • Assessment: Begin by identifying areas where the marketing leader is underperforming. This might involve peer and self-assessments, 360-degree feedback, or external evaluations.
  • Setting Clear Goals: Collaborate with the leader to establish clear, measurable objectives for their development. These goals should align with the organisation's overall marketing strategy.
  • Mentorship and Training: Provide access to mentors, training programs, and workshops to help the leader acquire the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in their role.
  • Feedback and Review: Regularly assess the leader's progress, provide constructive feedback, and adjust development plans as needed.
  • Encourage Learning: Promote a culture of continuous learning and innovation within the marketing team to keep the leader and their team updated with industry trends and emerging technologies.
  • Accountability: Ensure that the leader takes responsibility for their growth and actively participates in their development.
  • Recognition and Rewards: Recognise and reward improvement and successful leadership. Positive reinforcement can boost motivation and commitment.

Factors to Consider When Developing a Low-Performing Marketing Leader.

Developing a low-performing marketing leader is a valuable investment that can lead to improved marketing strategies, team performance, and business growth. By recognising their weaknesses and supporting their growth, you can transform an underperforming leader into a catalyst for success. Here’s some key considerations:

  1. Individualised Approach: Understand that each leader is unique, and their development plan should be tailored to their specific needs and weaknesses.
  2. Supportive Environment: Create a supportive workplace culture where leaders feel safe to acknowledge their shortcomings and actively engage in their development.
  3. Resource Allocation: Allocate sufficient resources, both in terms of time and budget, to support the leader's growth.
  4. Alignment with Company Goals: Ensure that the leader's development goals align with the company's overall marketing and business objectives.
  5. Communication and Feedback Channels: Establish clear channels for open communication and regular feedback between the leader and their superiors, peers, and subordinates.
  6. Measure Progress: Implement metrics and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to track the leader's progress and the impact of their development on the marketing department's performance.
  7. Flexibility: Be open to adjusting the development plan as circumstances change and as the leader's needs evolve.

How VCMO Can Develop a Low-Performing Marketing Leader.

Through our Marketing Mentorship Program, our Fractional Marketing Executives play a pivotal role in developing a low-performing marketing leader by providing guidance, support, and valuable insights. Here are some examples where we make a difference:

  • Strategic Planning: Assisting in the development of a comprehensive marketing strategy, helping the leader set clear objectives and a roadmap for success.
  • Data Analysis: Teaching the leader how to effectively analyse and interpret marketing data to make informed decisions and optimise campaigns.
  • Innovation and Creativity: Inspiring the leader to think creatively and encouraging them to explore innovative marketing techniques and approaches.
  • Leadership Skills: Providing guidance on leadership best practices, helping the leader improve team management, motivation, and collaboration.
  • Adaptation to Change: Offering strategies for staying current with industry trends and emerging technologies, ensuring the leader remains adaptable in a rapidly evolving landscape.
  • Time Management: Assisting in prioritisation and time management techniques to help the leader balance multiple tasks and responsibilities effectively.
  • Communication Skills: Enhancing the leader's communication skills, including clear and compelling messaging to team members and stakeholders.
  • Networking: Encouraging the development of industry connections and networks, which can lead to new opportunities and insights.
  • Feedback and Improvement: Teaching the leader to seek and provide constructive feedback, fostering a culture of continuous improvement within the marketing team.
  • Personal Development: Assisting the leader in setting and achieving personal development goals, whether it's improving public speaking, enhancing negotiation skills, or other areas that can contribute to their success.

What to do next...

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