Marketers: More Facilitate, Less Envision

Many marketers think they're visionaries, but in reality most of them are something less than that, according to a new study by the Association of National Advertisers.

The study, The State of Marketing Survey: The Shift (conducted in partnership with Prophet), queried 150 marketers from director level to chief marketing officer. According to the results, more than two-thirds of those surveyed (69%) indicated they felt they were a "Leader" or "Visionary" (the top two levels of professional development, according to the survey).

However, nearly half (46%) showed through behavioral indications that they were acting more like "Tacticians" or "Facilitators" (the two lower stages of development).

Of the 150 executives surveyed, 47 of them were identified as "Visionaries" in the study. Those marketers were more likely to be leading strategic dialogue (89% vs. 11%), and more likely to be leading discussions about reinventing the overall business model (65% vs. 21%).

In addition, these Visionaries were more likely to collaborate with financial and operations departments with their companies, as well as the top executives. According to the study, 73% of these visionary marketers collaborated with other business units, 60% collaborated with the CEO or COO of their company and 31% collaborated with the CFO.



"Marketers should strive to achieve Visionary status," said Bob Liodice, president and CEO of the ANA, in a statement. "However, it is imperative that the company identify and overcome obstacles impeding progress to find new and better ways to reach personal growth aspirations."

A majority (60%) of marketers said their business' approach to marketing needed to change if the function were to shift to a higher, more visionary level, and a quarter cited their own teams or departments as ripe for change.

Among the barriers to achieving these changes were: cultural inertia (22%); budgetary restrictions (17%) and executive leadership resistance (16%).

The ANA did not return calls by press time.

1 comment about "Marketers: More Facilitate, Less Envision".
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  1. Kevin Lenard from Business Development Specialist, November 9, 2009 at 9:31 a.m.

    So, vs. the 69% who self-identify as visionary leaders, only 31% actually have the abilities to deliver.

    Disregarding the ego issues (it is human nature, hard-wired in our brains, actually, to ignore evidence that we are not as terrific as we believe ourselves to be -- this helps us build up the confidence to go after promotions and become leaders), it what's most interesting here is the last bit: "leading strategic dialogue" and "reinventing the overall business model".

    As an industry we pay a ton of lip-service to these things (TONS of articles speak to them these days, especially to innovating business models), but few leaders, let alone companies, can actually put them into practice. It's not that they don't want to, the problem is that most people just aren't good at this rare combination of thinking skills, which require (in one person) both creative thinking AND strategic/conceptual analytical ability. However teams of people CAN inject both.

    My point is that if today's agency-brand group teams are not working daily to both think deeply strategically (most so-called "social marketing" today is really just tactical execution) and reinvent, not their brand's tactics, but the actual underlying business model, then they are going to lose out to brand teams that are capable of doing both.

    Link to my post on "The Future of Adland":

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