Ten years ago I was asked to lead a marketing team for the first time. Like many new marketing leaders, I was promoted because I was excelling in my non-leadership role. But here’s the thing – the skills that make a good marketer aren’t the same skills that make a good marketing leader. At the time, I didn’t realize just how different. I cannonballed in, hoping to figure it out along the way.
That first leadership role was at Crowd Surf. Crowd Surf is a digital agency that serves some of the biggest recording artists on the planet, from rock legends to Top 40 royalty. I even got to be a part of one of the biggest album releases since Napster. The pressure of that role was unreal, but I loved it. Our team was creating work that was seen by the masses.
For the last 6 years I’ve led the marketing team at The Escape Game headquarters in Nashville. It’s a marketer’s dream job. The Escape Game is growing rapidly, bursting with creativity, and built on a rock-solid culture. Me and the team have launched over 20 new locations, a best-selling board game, and Zoom-powered escape rooms that helped keep us afloat during COVID-19 lockdowns.
Here’s what I’ve learned about marketing leadership:
- Good leadership is the only real cheat code in marketing. It gives your team an outrageous advantage.
- Tactics and talent only get a team so far. A team’s success can be more closely tied to how it is led.
- Fortunately for me, leadership can be developed.
- Winning is a skill as much as it is an outcome. Great marketing leaders teach their team to win.
A marketing leader can quiet the chaos that surrounds most marketing teams and inspire a team to buy-in, get better, and punch above their weight.
This blog is for marketers that are learning to lead. Resources, road-tested tips, and a few wild stories like my afternoon brainstorming with Steven Tyler.