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Four Qualities of Self-Made Marketing Leaders

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John Fildes provides marketing and leadership insights on what you should know and how to apply it in your organization. Tips provide cause and effect insight so you clearly understand the reward for your investment. It's consumable in less than 3 minutes and immediately actionable.

Four Qualities of Self-Made Marketing Leaders

John Fildes

Become a Marketing Leader Faster Than You Ever Thought Possible

Marketing has evolved at a rapid pace for years and there's no end in sight. While marketing fundamentals such as defining target markets, identifying key buyers, and mapping plans to move customers through the marketing lifecycle are as relevant today as they were a decade ago, technology and customer expectations have greatly increased the scale and complexities required to plan and execute marketing in the digital age.

While many marketers struggle to keep up, marketing leaders seem to always stay ahead of the curve. But how do they do it? How do they manage to know what matters most before it matters at all? How do they have the bandwidth to effortlessly take on new responsibilities with the many responsibilities they're already tasked?

While it may seem that marketing leaders have super hero-like powers, the reality is that they're just like any other person. What makes them different is where and how they focus their time. By gaining the discipline to focus on a few key levers for personal growth, you too can increase your ability to effortlessly stay ahead of the curve and expand your modern marketing prowess.

Create Opportunities To Increase Your Personal Capacity

The single most important quality separating marketing leaders is their ever expanding personal capacity. Personal capacity is used to measure how much responsibility a person is able to manage in addition to all other responsibilities within their remit. Most marketers are only able to manage a small number of projects and responsibilities when they begin their careers. It's only through the experience they gain that they grow their ability to take on more projects and new responsibilities.

Rather than leave it up to their employers to provide them new opportunities to grow, marketing leaders create their own opportunities to increase their personal capacity. Finding ways to add value at work without being asked is one way they accelerate their growth. Getting involved in industry or volunteer organizations opens up opportunities their employers don't provide. Developing personal brands and creating self-directed opportunities to grow skills outside the company is especially important to raising the ceiling on how far and fast growth happens. If you leave the growth of your personal capacity up to your on-the-job experience alone, you will never outpace the status quo.

Adopt a Continuous Learning Mindset

If you love reading and learning new things, adoption of a continuous learning mindset comes natural to you. If you don't like reading or you're apprehensive to change, you’ll need to break out from the barrier that's holding you back from your full potential. Adopting a continuous learning mindset is your decision and you're the only person that can hold you back from growing your knowledge and skills. Learn to love reading and learning new things and you’ll unlock unlimited growth potential for you and your career.

In addition to the right mindset, you'll need to develop the right curriculum for your learning. Marketing and business trade publications combined with make developing your curriculum incredibly easy. Following trade publications enables you to stay at the forefront of modern marketing. When trends grow or you spot trends that clearly align to opportunities in your marketing organization, use's powerful search and customer review features to find books for more expansive self-learning.

Stockpile Mentors and Role Models

Expanding your personal capacity by continually taking on new growth opportunities means that you're going to encounter a lot of new things you've never encountered before. Marketing leaders set themselves up for success by adding experienced people to their mentor and role model network. Having the right people with the right previous experience in their network enables marketing leaders a knowledgeable support team for advisory and reference.

It's simple to add role models to your people network, as it's not necessary to have a personal relationship with the person. It's often better if you do have a personal relationship with the person, but it's not required. Identifying role models that demonstrate success and that can be referenced for direction and an example of what good looks like in a specific area enables you to better visualize your own success.

Mentors are more difficult to add to your people network, as a personal relationship is the foundation to a valuable mentor relationship. Beyond a single mentor, it's important that you add leaders from different industries and backgrounds to create a powerful multifaceted advisory framework to help you tackle things you've never encountered before. Leveraging mentors allows you to more quickly and confidently complete growth activities and identify the right things to take on next.

Believe You Will Succeed

While taking on big new things can seem daunting and feel uncomfortable, having an "I will succeed" attitude bolsters your confidence and increases the likelihood of success. Just because you've never done something before doesn't mean that you won't be successful. In fact, everything you're presently good at started as something new that you had to learn and improve. Possessing an “I will succeed” attitude is a key characteristic of marketing leaders that underpins their success in everything they do.

Believing you will succeed starts with you ignoring the naysayers and doubters around you. People’s poor attitudes are more a reflection of their own self-doubt than your abilities. Surrounding yourself with genuine supporters that encourage you to accomplish your goals and rally around you when challenges arise enables you to maintain the right attitude as you work hard to achieve your goals.

In Summation

Anyone can become a marketing leader; it just takes a little discipline and a positive attitude. Working hard to expand your personal capacity will enable you to take on more responsibility and develop the skills required to lead the many facets of modern marketing. Leveraging a combination of publications and books will create a simple framework for selecting the right topics to focus. Growing a reliable network of role models and mentors will help guide you along the way. Developing an "I will succeed' attitude, along with surrounding yourself with other positive people, will keep you inspired and motivated throughout your journey.

Focus on these simple guidelines for personal growth and you will reach marketing leader status faster than you ever thought possible.

Ask Yourself These Questions

  1. What activities am I working on to increase my personal capacity?
  2. What marketing and trade publications am I actively following?
  3. What books should I read next to develop the right skills?
  4. What role models and mentors make up my people network?
  5. What people can I rely on most to bolster my “I will succeed” attitude?

About John Fildes

I grow the bottom line by connecting marketing to business strategy. By leveraging powerful positioning, content marketing, and client insights, I help CEOs drive qualitative and quantitative results at scale.

I've built an amazing network of incredibly talented people over the years. What I've appreciated most is those who have invested in me, mentored me, and helped me become the talented professional I am today. I pay it forward by doing the same for other high performing professionals and entrepreneurs.

Learn More: Marketing Leader | Experienced Entrepreneur | Trusted Mentor

All views are my own and not those of my current or prior employers.

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