Why Your Company Needs a Marketing Leadership Development Program

From e-commerce to paid ads to digital marketing, every part of your marketing strategy needs to work in harmony in order to elicit successful results. Yet even a successful plan still requires the right people for the job.

As part of your marketing initiatives, your marketing department should function in much the same way that the rest of your operations do. You need great ideas, a solid workflow, and a staff with the right mix of expertise and talent.

But what if your marketing team’s efforts consistently fall short? An audit may reveal some of the pitfalls of your marketing approach, but the real answer could lie outside of the tangible and quantifiable.

Chances are your marketing team is missing a leader. While managers and supervisors can handle the “what” and “how” of your marketing, you still need a leader with the vision, leadership skills, and inspiration to lead your marketing team to glory.

If you’ve never considered a leadership development program (LDP) — or more specifically — a marketing leadership development program (MLDP) now is the time. By investing in your current staff without looking at outside hires, you build trust and camaraderie, all while putting your best employees on a career path to leadership. Discover what makes this program a great accouterment to your internal training, how it can lead to successful professional development, and how it can craft a marketing department that’s always on top of its game.

What Is a Marketing Leadership Development Program?

Attendees at a marketing leadership development program

A marketing leadership development program is a one-day or multi-day seminar or retreat that allows marketing professionals to learn leadership skills and other marketing-based principles. The program can be conducted internally or with a leadership training company — just like us here at Unicorn Labs.

The overarching idea of a leadership development program is to learn and discuss concepts and ideas that aren’t covered in typical training modules or manuals, as well as build upon those that are.

The leadership program manager you work with will put together a customized plan to meet your needs while also addressing leadership or other issues with your marketing team.

How Is a Marketing Leadership Development Program Different From Other Programs?

One notable facet of marketing leadership development programs is that a portion of them are similar to other leadership development programs. When your aim is to develop a team of leaders — marketing or otherwise — the skills and characteristics are almost always uniform.

For example, being able to inspire employees and motivate them to do their best isn’t exclusive to your marketing department. As a result, the leadership principles that your marketing team learns can also be taught and dispersed through other departments in your company.

The main difference between a marketing leadership development program and other leadership seminars is that it has a holistic focus on marketing itself. Everything from basic marketing ideas to advanced concepts is covered in an open discussion forum. This allows program participants to learn from each other, answer those difficult or nagging questions, and formulate problem-solving plans to resolve problematic areas of the department.

Concepts Covered in a Marketing Leadership Development Program

People at a marketing leadership development program dinner

You can always tailor a marketing leadership development program to your needs, but most cover three main areas:

  • Marketing concepts
  • Leadership principles
  • Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) and C-Level content

Each level of the MLDP creates a hands-on approach that encourages people to speak up, enabling them and empowering them in one fell swoop. Here’s a look at each part of the marketing leadership development program and how it benefits your business.

Marketing-Related Concepts

Regardless of the type of business you own or run, marketing is an invaluable tool. It creates leads for existing or new products, drives sales, builds your reputation, and helps you build brand awareness. Essentially, it’s the fuel that ignites your operational rocket.

A strong marketing department can also play a vital role in addition to gaining new customers or a competitive edge. With the brand awareness you create, your company can also attract top talent, as more professionals want to work for your business.

In a marketing leadership development program, your program manager will discuss many of the most important and functional areas of marketing. They’ll touch on emerging trends, existing ideas, and how to apply them in the modern marketing arena. Some of these concepts will include:

  • Social media marketing
  • E-commerce
  • Digital and print marketing
  • Marketing project management
  • Marketing research
  • Supply chain management as it applies to marketing
  • Product management
  • Product development
  • Business development through cobranding and partnerships
  • Customer experience
  • Marketing analytics
  • Strategic marketing management

Depending on the program you choose, the MLDP may cover all of these topics, more than these, or focus on specific areas. The idea is that you can use these concepts to enhance your marketing approach and build a knowledgeable team. Moreover, these ideas provide the foundation for the leadership aspect of the MLDP.

Leadership in Marketing

You may have read the topics above and thought that a marketing leadership development program sounds an awful lot like a marketing conference. But that’s where the leadership aspect differs. Instead of the focus staying on marketing, an MLDP imparts the knowledge necessary to turn marketing professionals into bona fide marketing leaders.

Perhaps the most crucial aspect of this identifying the distinction between marketing managers and marketing leaders. While both may have the same education and knowledge base, marketing leaders are visionaries that inspire success. These leaders develop a vision, mission, and goals that align with the company brand.

While still vital to operations, marketing managers are the force that follows through with that vision. They ensure that all employees adhere to the vision, policies, and procedures of the company. They develop tasks based on the vision of leaders, delegate tasks, and create a balance between results and staff management.

Unfortunately, many companies fail to make this distinction. This leads to a loss of productivity, poor communication, and other pitfalls that can detract from marketing strategies and campaigns.

That’s why marketing leadership development programs address the issue of leadership within the marketing department. Without a proven leader, the transparency and cohesion that drives success are lost.

Leadership Principles

Now that you understand the importance of defining marketing managers and leaders, comprehending what marketing leadership entails is the next step. As mentioned above, many of these concepts may apply to other departments, which can be beneficial when teaching leadership across the company.

Marketing leadership development programs will dive into these ideas:

  • Leadership principles with a strong focus and perspective on marketing
  • The importance of mentoring within your marketing department
  • Ability to drive execution in marketing campaigns through motivation and transparency
  • How to develop emotional intelligence
  • Decision-making techniques
  • How to become a visionary
  • Critical thinking
  • Problem-solving
  • How to attract and maintain top talent
  • How to navigate change in dynamic and tumultuous markets

You may be tempted only to send your marketing managers to an MLDP, but rest assured, it can improve the skill set of all your employees. So whether you have full-time or part-time staff or people with a bachelor’s degree or an MBA, the program is beneficial.

You never know where your next great leader will come from, but cultivating leaders for tomorrow should always remain a top priority for all types of companies.

C-level Engagement

C-level execs are typically already referred to as leaders and with good reason. They develop the mission, vision, and products that generate revenue and facilitate operations. But no leader achieved greatness by stagnating or failing to learn more about leadership.

Regardless of whether you’re the executive director or the vice president of marketing, leadership principles are an advantageous way to motivate your team and inspire results.

The world of marketing is all about innovation, but so many companies are reluctant to do so. The “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mantra continues to rule what a company does, and that’s what an MLDP amends.

With fresh perspectives on leadership and marketing principles, even C-level executives can find value in the program. While execs can have a program tailored specifically to upper management, involving every member of the marketing team in the program may yield even better results.

When a marketing leadership development program involves all employees, C-level individuals can gain insight into the problems of the company, solutions from the people who work for them, and the camaraderie that can propel an entire team to greatness.

Get a Fresh Perspective With a Marketing Leadership Development Program

A marketing leadership development program offers many ways for your team to learn concepts and knowledge that can make them more effective marketers and leaders. But more importantly, it provides a fresh, objective approach to your marketing efforts, identifies underlying issues, and motivates your team to improve.

The investment you make in the development of your staff shouldn’t be understated. It builds trust, transparency, and communication, all while making your marketing department work like a well-oiled machine. With the fresh perspective that a leadership development program provides, you have everything you need to excel in a competitive business world.

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