23 January 2024

Bridging the Gap: Why Marketing Should Have a Seat at Your Leadership Table

The full version of this article on delegating marketing originally appeared on Forbes.com as one of CEO Christine Pilkington’s contributions as a member of the Forbes Business Council. 

The other week, I met with a prospective customer – a savvy founder looking to grow the clientele for her physio clinic. “Marketing is the only thing I haven’t been able to delegate,” she lamented. “I’ve managed to hand off operations, our finances, but I just can’t seem to figure out how to delegate marketing.”

A few days later, I spoke to a CEO at the helm of a mid-sized media buying company who echoed a similar sentiment. “In my 15 years in business, I’ve only hired two marketing coordinators. They didn’t last.” He went on to add that he had learned to accept a deep embarrassment over his company’s website and inconsistencies with his brand messaging. The irony that his company was operating in the marketing space was not lost on him.

It’s a familiar refrain—one that you, yourself, might be experiencing as a small business entrepreneur. Despite your keenness and ability to delegate other aspects of your business, marketing remains squarely on your plate.

A marketing manager delegating marketing to her teammate

Here’s my question to these entrepreneurs: Is marketing sitting high enough in your business? If not, you’re likely feeling a deep disconnection that’s leaving you uncertain and wanting to hold onto the marketing seat. This reluctance to delegate marketing is a challenge faced by many small business CEOs, but it’s one that is potentially holding you back in incalculable ways:

You could be wasting time.

When marketing remains disconnected from your strategic business planning, it becomes a time-consuming burden, resulting in fragmented efforts and tactics. This piecemeal approach wastes both your team’s time and your marketing budget as you struggle to find marketing results that stick.

It’s not scalable.

Holding onto marketing hinders scalability and replication because your unique vision and strategic insights, which are essential for driving marketing efforts effectively, are often trapped within the confines of your own mind.

It can be disempowering.

Ineffectively delegating marketing renders your team more reactive than proactive. Because they’re unable to plan or lead the marketing effort, they must rely on your guidance to take action. Consequently, this can give rise to uncertainty regarding the efficacy of strategies and the underlying reasons, as the perspective often becomes overly limited in scope.

A CEO discussing the importance of delegating marketing with his team

To make marketing work effectively, you need marketers who understand your vision, are empowered to create plans that turn goals into actions, and are senior enough to sit at the leadership table and engage in executive-level discussions. But, I get it—handing off your vision is easier said than done. For some steps you can take to do this, read the full version of the article here.

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