RIP: How to Build Your Brand to Endure the Weekly Marketing Obituaries

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Marketing is Dead.

Lead generation is dead. So is social media marketing. And the marketing funnel. SEO has died more times than I can count.

Demographics are long gone, and they took personas down with them. Integrated marketing is toast. Email has kicked the bucket. Content marketing is gone (and so young!). Campaign marketing moved on to a better place. R.I.P. blogging!

Sound familiar? Sometimes it seems like not a week goes by where you won’t find an obituary in a business or marketing publication declaring a major platform or tactic or tool to be deceased. And while in most cases those claims tend to be hyperbole (marketers like to be dramatic in their headlines; who knew?), it’s true that in today’s business environment there are few aspects of marketing that couldn’t be rendered obsolete seemingly overnight, replaced by a new emerging technology or trend.

As marketing strategies rise and fall, there’s only one way for business leaders to be sure their marketing stays on top: supremely innovative marketing leadership.

No Expiration Date

If you’re lucky, your business has some idea of the marketing mix it needs today to be successful–that’s something less than half of companies can claim. But that recipe will probably look quite different even just a year from now, and it’s only going to be exponentially more dynamic from there.

The hottest, most lucrative marketing strategies and tools today will eventually run out of momentum. Sometimes that demise will happen over a matter of weeks, while other times it could take many years. Either way, nearly everything involved with marketing, except perhaps the most basic fundamentals, has a shelf life.

When nearly everything in marketing is in flux, the only constant source of value and ROI is talented leadership.

That’s not to say that any given marketing executive will be a good one indefinitely; a lot of hard work, curiosity, discipline and tenacity are required to stay on the cutting edge of marketing for a meaningful amount of time. It doesn’t take long for an envelope-pushing pioneer to fall back towards the middle of the pack if they get complacent.

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But through all the births and deaths of marketing, exceptional leadership is the one thing you will always, always need–even if it has to come from several heads of marketing over time. Here are three ways a home-run marketing executive search can keep your company out of the graveyard:

Forecasting the Future

A great leader will be able to tell which trends are truly on the way out, which still have some life in them, and which could return like some kind of zombie. A forward-looking pioneer can anticipate coming changes and prepare your business accordingly to take advantage of them and avoid potential obstacles.

Hiring Great Teams

One of the most important responsibilities of any marketing executive is to assemble and maintain an A-tier stable of clever, creative, collaborative and results-driven marketers  (and, if the need arises, manicure parts of a team that are no longer producing results). That means not only being able to hand-pick an exceptional management team, but putting in place policies that ensure the best possible selection of marketing staffing and hiring at all levels of the organization.

Building a well-rounded stable of talent also adds greatly to your company’s resilience to change. When marketing ebbs and flows, top talent can adapt alongside it and make the necessary changes to their skillsets and processes to keep up. This flexibility reduces the amount of time you’re caught scrambling to catch up to a trend or overinvesting resources in an outdated model.

Training and Education

Great marketing leaders know how important it is to keep themselves–and their teams–up to date on the latest best practices, technology and trends. They go out of their way to ensure your marketing staff is equipped with the technical and practical knowledge it needs to maintain an edge on your competition. Recruit marketing executives who can inspire their team to perpetually learn and know how to reward a thirst for knowledge.

Finding the Right Leader

The need for a phenomenal executive to direct your marketing forward is apparent, but finding the right individual for your organization is easier said than done. If you don’t know much about marketing yourself, identifying true mastery of any of its many disciplines is nearly impossible. It’s easy to mistake an average marketing leader for a groundbreaking pioneer if you’re not sure what to look for. That’s a costly mistake to make, both in the short and long term.

When it’s time for new blood in the highest levels of your marketing, business leaders and HR recruiters will need to get creative to ensure they’re looking for and hiring the right kind of professional. If you’re in this position, the obvious choice is an experienced marketing recruiter that has already gone through this process countless times and knows exactly how to locate top candidates. You can also engage with your professional network and learn from the experience of others who have been in similar situations recently. Finally, if you find your current marketing department to be reliable, you can turn to individuals there to learn more about the kind of skills and leadership style that would be needed to thrive there.

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