How to tell if you have a dud Marketing Manager

How to tell if you have a dud Marketing Manager

Over my career I’ve mixed with charismatic, aggressive, confident, cocky, ignorant, vain and completely incompetent executives with the word “Marketing” in their title and job description.

Contracted to recruit Marketing Directors by recruitment agencies that recognise their recruiting personnel are unable to identify the wheat from the chaff, I’ve even spent sometime meeting and interviewing senior marketing people for senior marketing roles.

And having lectured (part-time) in a Graduate School of Business for a few years, as well as other Schools of Business from time to time, delivered marketing training workshops to marketing management executives of major national and international companies, plus the occasional industry keynote, I’ve got a reasonable handle on the talent levels in my peer group.

Recruitment specialists will agree
This is no correlation between existing salary and competence of a marketing person. I’ve met true, inspirational starts paid a meager salary, and absolute deadwood overhead cretins on >$250K.

The bigger the company, the more the lack of strategic and scientific marketing knowledge and the more operational and administrative marketing knowledge, the problem with that is it needs to be the reverse, at senior levels.

The less skilled the Board of Management, the less likely the skills of the Chief Marketing Officer are to be at the elite level.

Measures that suggest you have a dud Marketing Manager
Just as a witch doctor can know medical problems beyond their experience, neither can an unqualified marketing manager… if your marketing executive doesn’t have a marketing degree, its just as dangerous as using a backyard surgeon.

If you want to test a marketing executive, ask them to define the word “marketing”. If they can’t do so in 25 words or less, in a way that really resonates and is profound, they’re ‘fluff and BS” marketing experts, not real ones.

If they can’t quote a guru, draft a marketing plan that actually comes to fruition, or guide the strategic direction of the business, they just aren’t up to the role.

And if they don’t quantitatively deliver more than they cost… you are simply sponsoring a snake-oil salesman as an unnecessary overhead.

Of course, operational knowledge is essential and readers wanting to consider a model for recruitment of ‘marketing’ personnel are urged to review the Hierarchies of Marketing at …

A few warning signs you have a dud marketing manager and weak marketing activity:
* The sales executives in your group think poorly of the marketing department
* The marketing executive has focussed on marketing promotions as a sole priority
* The first thing they do when they take on the job is change the logo.
* The last thing they do is study existing market research or demand new market research if there is none.
* The do anything before asking a LOT of questions and spending a LOT of time at coalface.
* The marketing qualification they purport to hold can’t be proven.

Finally, this is a cursory and summary perspective, and the conversation could go MUCH deeper… so add to the advice and leave a comment?

Published by Leigh Cowan

If you have a passion and enthusiasm for the art and science of strategic marketing and management, spawned from academic findings that work in commercial situations, we should get on fine! ;-) Check out

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