Something that has always amazed me over the past half-decade or so is the obvious disparity between the makeup of marketing thought leadership on social networks and blogs versus the makeup of marketing executive leadership at enterprise brands. If I had to guess, I’ve probably interacted closely with hundreds of enterprise brands, and more often than not, the digital marketing leadership teams within those organizations – from the manager level all the way up to the CMO level – are rarely folks that also have a well-established voice on mainstream online community niches like Twitter or the blogosphere.
In other words, many of the folks that actually run the marketing programs at large organizations have little or no professional or personal footprint within those very channels they manage. They haven’t built a following or community via social networks. They’ve never built traffic or conversion funnels for their own personal websites via search, email, affiliates, etc. Heck, for that matter, they’ve never built a website (e.g. coded or designed). And they definitely haven’t implemented analytics tracking or built custom analytics reporting dashboards. Lastly, many of them learned about marketing from the standpoint of a much more traditional TV, radio, print, and PR communications paradigm.
And that makes for a curious disparity indeed.
Granted, one of alternative reasons for the lack of online thought leaders occupying marketing leadership roles at large organization is that many of those great marketing minds have found that it’s more lucrative – and enjoyable – to go the entrepreneurial route. Another reason is that many of the brightest minds in the online marketing space prefer the relative freedom and flexibility that employment at a start-up or small business affords. Still, I can’t help but think that the time is ripe for more of our online thought leaders to begin taking the marketing reins within some of the larger organizations in the marketplace.
I’ve decided to personally help stimulate this shift by going out of my way to connect known enterprise marketing recruiters with savvy marketers in my personal social network. I’m also considering the idea of creating a formal coaching or training program to help up-and-coming digital marketers in our niche online community land leadership roles within these larger organizations.
And I encourage any of you reading this that are already entrenched in leadership positions to do the same, because the sooner that more of our ilk occupy those executive positions at large organizations, the sooner that the marketing industry as a whole will shift from a more traditional mindset to a more progressive one, which sounds like a whole lot of fun to me.
P.S. If you’re a marketing executive that’s on the outskirts of the online marketing niche community – or completely on the outside looking in – I highly suggest that you start dipping more toes into these waters. Your long-term career prospects might depend on it.