Want Greater Internal Influence? Don’t Forget Your People- the Fifth P of Marketing

Recently, Thomas Barta, a leadership advisor and coach, published an interesting article on CMO.com about the Four P’s of Marketing Leadership. His column tackled the challenge of marketing leadership and influence within an organization.

We are seeing a trend where CMO’s and their marketing organizations are being asked to play an increasingly important strategic/advisory role in the business. This is welcome news, but many marketing executives face a tough road filled with roadblocks and organizational bottlenecks on the journey to get there. Marketers are quite skilled at influencing perceptions and purchasing behavior in the marketplace, but exerting influence and changing internal perceptions can be difficult.

Parta’s advice is delivered in an interesting takeoff of “the 4 P’s of Marketing.” For decades, every marketer has been taught the essential building blocks of marketing- product, price, place and promotion. Those 4 P’s have been ingrained into our work DNA. In his article, Parta outlines the Four P’s of Marketing Leadership that marketers need to focus on in order to build their internal influence. They are:

  • Productivity: create visible marketing and business results
  • Purpose: have a clear vision for what you want to achieve
  • Pull: inspire others to see your vision
  • Power: get closer to the decision-makers and the decision-making process

These four ideas provide an excellent framework for any marketer looking to build stronger engagement and influence with senior management. After reading Parta’s “4 P’s” blueprint, I would like to add a fifth “P” to the list: people.

Great Marketing Leaders are “Success Coaches”

Marketing is the ultimate team sport. It’s creative and collaborative. Simply stated, managing and motivating marketing talent is critical for any kind of success.

Look back at your own career. When did you do your most creative and successful work? Chances are it occurred when you felt engaged and inspired. Inspirational marketing leaders “get that” and they see themselves as a “success coach” for their people.

I recently read an article on leadership that described inspirational leadership as two outstretched hands. The leader uses the first hand to reach for new goals; the leader uses his or her second hand to help lift up their people so they can move forward and achieve their goals. While I cannot take credit for that idea, I can take it and apply it to my leadership style. You can, too.

If you are a marketer and you manage people and teams, the way you lead them will have a direct bearing on your success and how your team is positioned and perceived internally. If you want to have more influence and impact, be the success coach of your people.

While marketing is my first passion, I spend lots of time studying great leaders, their leadership styles and what makes them tick. I have been fortunate to work for some truly exceptional leaders in my career. And I have even made it a point to ask colleagues (and even clients and customers) about leaders that influenced their careers. Great leaders inspire success.

Building a High-Performing Marketing Team

Here is some of the best advice and experiences I have collected working for a variety of tremendous leaders from my career:

  • Nurture the talent. Marketing is a truly creative endeavor. To get the most out of your people and help them unlock their full potential, take time to help them cultivate their talents. If people are not engaged and motivated, their talents could stagnate.


  • Encourage diversity of thought. While it is important for marketing teams and organizations to have a common vision, you need to encourage diverse ideas and opinions. Sure, not all ideas will hit the mark, but if people do not feel encouraged to contribute different ideas and perspectives, then you run the risk of creating a marketing echo chamber.


  • Be a mentor. Every leader can remember a humble time early in their own career when they did not have all the answers. We have all benefited from a special leader or co-worker who saw our raw potential and helped guide and mentor us. If you were helped by a mentor, honor that person by “paying it forward” and embed that into the culture of your entire marketing organization.


  • Blend the art and science of marketing into your leadership style. As Barta states above, marketing organizations are facing higher expectations to deliver results to the business. To accomplish that, CMO’s and senior marketing executives have to run marketing like a business. As a leader, be sure to articulate a balanced message to your people. Yes, marketing is a creative enterprise that is driven by ideas, but it is also a business. In order to deliver greater value and results, your employees must have an appreciation of art, science and business of marketing.

If you want to gain more influence, leverage, engage and motivate your people. What are examples of “inspirational leadership” you have seen in your marketing career?

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