Over the years, I have probably interacted with over 2,000 fellow marketeers in some way , shape or form (my LinkedIn contact list tells me so). Some I would go through a brick wall for because of their smarts, ballsiness or track record of success; others couldn't manage their way out of a paper bag. Don't ask me for names but I'm sure the range of the marketing industry's performance graphs like a bell curve.
One thing I can tell you, a lot has changed in the 17 years since I took a Brand Assistant role at Procter & Gamble. The attributes of what made for clear CMO potential back then are starkly different now. Back in 1991, you might hear "strategic quarterback", "communications genius", "politically savvy", "manages up well", "looks the part" or "great manager" as can't miss labels. I'm sure vestiges of these skills remain but they're relevance has faded in deference to a different set of skills.
Take our 20 question test to see if your skills pass the mustard for the marketing's new frontier and plot yourself on the scorecard below:
1) Collaboration Skills - can you excel in groups by asking the right questions and stimulating the right environment as opposed to forcing the right answers? (+4 pts - if categorically yes) do you include people outside salaried employees or agencies in discussions (+2 pts), do you have a platform wiki, intranet, forum or social net to easily work together (+2 pts), do you reward your employees ability to collaborate (+2 pts) and do you ask people questions before you have the answers (+ 2 pts)
2) Recertifying - have you in the last 6 months - read a marketing book (+1 pt), a non-marketing relevant book (+1 pt), took a marketing course (+1 pt), read 10 new blogs (+1 pt), championed a new process that got you out of your comfort zone (+1 pt), hosted an innovation day (+ 1pt), brought in a keynote speaker to challenge your entrenched ideas ( 1 pt)
3) Brand Ambassador - do internal people look at you as one of the most passionate cheerleaders behind your brand (+2 pts), are you slavishly devoted and passionate about your brand (+2 pts), do you respect, track and understand who works at your rival companies (+2 pts), do you prefer using brand culture and not competitive activity as the reason for pursuing a direction (+2 pts) and do external people say you are borderline fanatical about its best interests (+2 pts)
4) New Technology - are you at least 12 months ahead of where the mass market is going from the application of new technology to their business? (+4 pts) are you good at thinking laterally about new applications (+2 pts) and are you an early adopter yourself of tech/web solutions (+2 pts)
5) SEO/SMO Savviness - could you tell the 3 ways to get better SEO rankings (+2 pts) or be found specifically within social media (+2 pts) and have you looked at optimizing both for your brands (+2 pts)
6) Design Orientation - do you feel the impending need to incorporate design into your product/communications offerings (+2 pts), do you have a good eye for it (+2 pts), does your website look horrible (+1 pt), your packaging (+1 pt), your business cards (+1 pt) and does somebody on your team have a non-business, artistic background (+2 pts)
7) CEO Friend - do you have the CEO's respect and trust to deflect the requests from other departments that might subordinate the marketing function (+2 pts), are you in the the first three people he turns to for company advice (+3 pts) and does he know what your department and its impact on the company line (+2 pts) and distinct reason for being (+2 pts)
8) Story Telling - do you appreciate and understand the art of good storytelling (2 pts.), do your customers tell stories about your brand all the time (+1 pt.) and are you a good storyteller yourself for external (+2 pts) and internal audiences (+2 pts)
9) Authenticity - are you perceived/seen as being real and genuine (+ 2 pts), do you speak the truth even when unpopular (2 pts) and are you authentic to the core - in motive and practice (+4 pts)
10) Net Generation Seal of Approval - do you respect the views of anybody under 30 (+1 pt), do you understand their different motivations (+1 pt), do you leverage them as a company asset (+1 pt) and would they agree on all counts (+2 pts)
11) Innovation - do you have an appetite for taking risks (+2 pt), are you motivated by your company being noticed and talked about for their new stuff (+1 pt), do you have a deep cycle of innovation initiatives (+2 pt) and do you see innovation initiative not as a milestone but as an ongoing thing/always in beta (+2 pts)
12) Connectedness - are you actively on Linked In? (+2 pts), Plaxo (+1 pt), Facebook (+1pt), some other social network (+1 pt) or relevant committee/club (+1 pt), do you regularly meet 5 new people /week (+3 pts), do you seek out opportunities to network with industry peers when available (+2 pts)
13) Customer-focused - do you see customers every week in your role (+2 pts), do you have a close working relationship with your front line sales/customer service staff (+3 pts) and do you have direct customer contact as a top 3 touchpoint in your marketing spends (+ 3 pts)
14) HR Genius - do you hire people with complementary skills to you (+1 pt), complementary backgrounds (+1 pt), do you establish a common sense of purpose easily (+ 2 pts), do your workers believe they merely have a job or something more (+2 pts), do your plans galvanize employees to participate (+3 pts) and do you meet with your HR manager about department/company needs each week (+2 pts)
15) Intellectual Curiosity - do you accept meetings with new suppliers (+ 1pt), do you have more than 2 projects that have no objectives but learning right now (+2 pts), do you ask the most junior person in meetings what they think (+1 pt), do you read non-marketing magazines to broaden your professional footprint (+2 pts), do you regularly shop your category (+1 pt), your competition (+1 pt)
16) ROI- Focus - do you formally recap projects at their conclusion (+2 pts), do you have a marketing dashboard of metrics (+2 pts), are they at least somewhat predictive (+2 pts), and tied to business strategy/results (+2 pts), does everybody knows about them(+2 pts) are they accountable for them (+2 pts) and do you have at least two metrics that are unconventional in natures (+2 pts)
17) Leadership - do you have the ability to sway your department by force of pull not push (+2 pts), are you seen as outfront "leading the parade" (+2 pts), does your leadership believe you go beyond the call (+2 pts), have you introduced a major new groundbreaking innovation to your industry in the last year (+4 pts), has your name appeared in a major industry publication in the last 3 months (+2 pts) or major blog (+ 2pts)
18) Conscience of the Consumer - do you know more about your customer than anybody else in the company (+ 4 pts), do you have avenues where you can get insight from your best customers (+2 pts), influencers (+1 pts) or critics (+1 pts), do you know what you customer will be doing 2 years from now (+2 pts)
19) Culture Mavens - do you know what is current/trend-shifting in fashion (+ 1pt), media (+1 pt), tech (+1 pt), entertainment (+ 1pt), food & drink (+ 1 pt), public affairs (+ 1pt), art & design (+ 1pt), literature (+1 pt), architecture (+1 pt) and social media (+1 pt),
20) Communications - do you have personal contacts yourself within industry media/journalists (+2 pts), do you have more than 2 agencies you work with (+2 pts), is online at least 20% of your spend (+2 pts), are you testing out a new media (+2 pts), are you dabbling with mobile technologies (+1 pt), do you have a media demographic (i.e. 18-35) on your creative briefs (minus 2 pts), do you have any target niche audience programs (+1 pt), do you profile for influence among your customers (+1 pt), is your positioning repeatable by most of the employees in your company (+3 pts) and for strategic input, are you asking more than one agency partner to legitimately input (+2 pts)
150-200 pts - Marketing Rock Star - you combine a Madonna-esque ability to reinvent yourself, an Obama-esque ability to collaborate and communicate and a Spielberg-esque ability to produce and incubate great marketing performance
100-149 pts. - Marketing Genius in Waiting - great expectations follow you - you have the raw components of an expert level marketer with skills minted for the new economy, something - perhaps one or two missing pieces ares holding you back from Mensa level - work at it and you'll get there
50-99 pts. - Marketing Pretender - the likely largest camp of marketeers, there is some retooling involved to get you remotely close to positive ROI. In some companies - you may be able to float around on past success or previous reputation - but without an attitude change and a serious professional resurfacing, you are destined for mediocrity or worse.
0-49 Pts. - Marketing NASCAR Accident - you are seriously impacting your company's bottom line, please take your hands off the wheel and let someone else drive. I won't say hopeless but if you survive the next 2 years one of three things is in order: 1) you had a Robert Downey type of intervention and changed your dangerous ways, 2) your dad owns the company and since you failed at acting ....or 3) your brand stinks, nobody talks about it, notices it, brag about it and no competitor has found the energy to knock you off the block.
So take the survey and let me know where you stand....our operators are waiting.