When it comes to Marketing should the CEO? be coached or not coached?

That is the question.

A Different Perspective
By Leslie R. Wolff, A Marketing Curmudgeon

The Scenario: You have had a successful career in Executive Management, now you’re in charge of the whole
shebang. Everything is now under your rule. You came from a stellar career in Finance, Engineering, IT, Production or variety of other experiences but the one where your exposure is limited is in the marketing arena. Yes, you’ve had some exposure both within the company, through cross-pollination of discussions with others, perhaps even from other industries and you have faith that you have a good marketing team in place. Or at least you hope so, but how do you know? In order to set the right direction who can you turn to with confidence that will give unvarnished advice,
stimulate your creative and strategic neurons and most importantly challenge you to think. Now you find yourself overseeing Marketing as an important aspect of your responsibilities and even though you ask around you can’t even get a consensus as to what marketing truly means.

Marketing is merely a civilized form of warfare in which most battles are fought with words, ideas and disciplined thinking.” – Albert Emery

There are some steps one can take that will help them answer the questions as to whether they require the service of an executive coach. With a focus on maximizing marketing potential of their firm. It starts with one’s management style: What does that have to do with Marketing? Everything! Marketing is as much an art as a science and it blossoms to its fullest in an environment that encourages innovation, which in turn is greatly influenced by the attitude of management, the working environment created, support practices offered and the team building principles practiced among a number of other actions key to leadership that generates great marketing results, So the CEO needs to identify if they …

“Stimulate, motivate, educate or dictate?”
The CEO has to define the style of manager they believe they are and more importantly how others view their management style. Not always an easy thing to do as many leaders don’t have an introspective nature. Unfortunately more are reactive than proactive and if so that influences the effectiveness of their marketing team and end results. Think about the CEO’s you’ve known or worked for and which status would you give them …

• Lord of the Ivory Tower – Difficult to reach out to, ruling without much input
• Emperor – Has a “Kill the Messenger” mentality, refusing to hear about problems or welcome positive criticism
• Know it All – Has most of the answers although doesn’t know many of the questions to ask
• Poor Communicator – Lacks the communication skills to motivate
• Risk Averse – Prefers to always play in safe thus discouraging fresh ideas.
• Accessible ACE* – (A Caring Executive) Open to new ideas & suggestions

Obviously the ACE is best but they are unfortunately few and far between in reality. The reason is many lack decent communication and interpersonal skills and perhaps a bit too often, are short on commonsense, which is a key element of successful marketing strategies.

“Marketing is all the exhilarating big things and all the troublesome little things that must be done in every nook and cranny of the entire corporate organization in order to attract and hold on to a customer.” – Theodore Levitt

A CEO does not have to be an expert in all aspects of the Marketing Mix but should have basic knowledge of the following marketing elements and how they work effectively in an integrated marketing strategy.

a. Advertising
b. Customer Retention
c. Employee Motivation
d. Internet
e. Marketing Integration
f. Merchandising
g. New Business Development
h. Product Knowledge
i. Public Relations
j. Sales Promotion
k. Social Media
l. Trade Shows

“Marketing is trying to figure out what people want so you can give it to them.” – Shelly Lazarus

The style of a CEO’s thinking in many cases sets the tone for their company’s actions and activities in the marketing arena referred to as the “Marketplace.” There are usually four styles of CEO “thinking”

a. Traditionalist – Prefers to operate in a comfort zone based on what’s either been done in the past or what the majority of the competition is practicing.
b. Cautious – Might want to try new ways of doing things but has to be convinced that there is little chance of anything going wrong before making any commitment
c. Innovator – Looks for fresh ideas that will separate them from the competition
d. Outside the box thinker – Encourages innovation, but creates an environment where everyone one works with an open mind and encompasses all those internally & externally who have interaction with their customer or prospects.

There are probably at least a score of other reasons to consider hiring a coach to help in the Marketing area, but  probably the most important is experience in this area that you might be lacking. A Coaching relationship limits your risk while maximizing your potential and can be an invaluable sounding board as well as teacher and creative conceptualizer.

The first dawn of smartness is to stop trying things you don’t know anything about – especially if they run to anything over a dollar” – Wilson Mizner

If you’d like to consider the use of a Smart Marketing Coach to help you find those answers we can design a custom created support system to fit your specific needs, Contact me for more details, any discussions we have will be held absolutely confidential“

“I not only use all the brains that I have, but all I can borrow.” ― Woodrow Wilson


Leslie R. Wolff is an experienced professional, obviously an outspoken curmudgeon with more than a half century in the marketing arena His mission in his business, speeches and writings is to reestablish a lost factor in business … commonsense! It is the foundation on which Smart Thinking is built. Les is CEO of The Smart Marketing Group, who simply help clients work smarter. He can be reached at 215-334-3432, marketingsmartly@aol.com, Skype: Smart Marketing or http://www.smartmarketingroup.com

You can also visit and participate in his Blog http://www.smartmarketingmoves.com and his LinkedIn Group – Smart Marketing for Small Business His E-Book” Smart Thinking- Vol.-I” is available @ www.smashwords.com/books/view/34172



Filed under Coaching, Free Marketing Tips, Management and Leaders

4 responses to “When it comes to Marketing should the CEO? be coached or not coached?

  1. Great post and I commend you for making “the” statement that CEOs, CMOs and consultants have been silent on for too long. Yes, Mr/s. CEO – you need a marketing coach. Unless you’ve been a CMO/VP of Marketing the odds are greater than 50% that your expectations of marketing are not aligned with what your team thinks is important and what sales really needs. Here are two articles that you might find interesting and support you cause – http://www.christinecrandell.com/2010/07/lessons-from-the-aligned/ and http://www.forbes.com/sites/christinecrandell/2011/12/04/social-media-solves-the-demand-generation-riddle/

    • smartmarketing1

      Appreciate these articles. Let’s keep pushing for more common sense in Marketing & we’ll see incredible improvements

      • Obviously, I’m way behind in responding, but thanks any way. My goal is to make this blog a forum for fresh discussion, different perspectives, sharing of experiences, otherwise anything that will make us a bit smarter from being involved with this.

    • Christine – I owe you an apology for not responding to your comments. I’m still learning how to manage the blogging process among all the other things going on. Appreciate the reference to these other articles.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s