The Most Valuable Soft Skills for CMOs

What soft skills are crucial for CMOs?

Soft skills – from curiosity and self-analysis to communication and emotional intelligence – play an increasingly essential role in digital marketing. Let’s talk about a set of the must-have competencies for today’s CMOs and marketing leaders.

#1. Curiosity and Discipline

Digital marketing is evolving at a face pace, and it is essential for anyone pursuing a CMO career to have an unquenchable thirst for knowledge, process improvement, and learning about digital marketing. This effort also needs to be balanced with a disciplined approach.

Curiosity and discipline will help you figure out when the time isn’t right, when a given marketing tactic still needs refinement, and when your team needs your business acumen, not just your analytical strengths.

Technology makes digital marketing easier to approach and implement, with so many off-the-shelf systems available on an open-source or commercial basis.

But the disciplined approach that you as a CMO bring to the table ensures you are not jumping to a marketing tech solution until the problem is fully understood, articulated, and agreed upon.

When everyone in your team comprehends and collaborates on the same problem, there is no room for meaningless activity, and the whole team focuses on the right solution that will make, not break, your marketing effort.

Besides, I think that considering the unprecedented uncertainty as the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021 marketing leaders will take significant value in change management training, in tandem with project management training. A disciplined approach will help them and their teammates gain buy-in and achieve any marketing campaign’s success.

#2. Self-Analysis and Adaptability

Self-analysis and adaptability are two of the most important soft skills for CMOs and marketing leaders today.

If you are willing to fairly analyze mistakes and learn from what went wrong in the past, this ability will help you make sure you’re getting things right and avoid ambiguous decisions in the future.

Also, be adaptable to be able to respond to changes and adjust your marketing effort accordingly. Don’t be too focused on perfection, but analyze the situation, listen to trends, and adapt to new circumstances in order to effectively solve today’s marketing problems.

To develop these valuable soft skills, you must listen more than speak and continuously show empathy and curiosity about the world without prejudice.

As a leader, you want to help your team get the most of their potential through collaboration and communication. Also, encourage idea and knowledge sharing without negativity.

#3. Communication and Teamwork

Communication and teamwork skills will top a list of the must-have qualifications for successful CMOs.

In this marketing leadership role it’s essential to delegate statistically complex ideas to qualified experts who know how to do things right.

Successful CMOs build trust with stakeholders and demonstrate the value of teamwork to the rest of the team by connecting their findings back to specific business objectives.

To develop strong communication skills and cultivate collaboration in teammates, you must practice active listening, understand the team and their challenges, and lead by example. You must find the shortest way to communicate your team’s results to the primary owner of the problem.

Continually adapt, adjust, and pivot with your team to meet the ongoing objectives of your marketing department as well as the business objectives of your organization.

Look at every marketing campaign and initiative through the lens of the business problem at hand. What are the actionable insights?

Communicate a clear and concise message to your team and facilitate teamwork to strengthen your marketing efforts.

#4. Emotional Intelligence and Marketing

Another set of soft skills I believe is important to any marketing executive, but one that is often overlooked, is emotional intelligence.

In fact, emotional intelligence, which is just as important as IQ, if not more critical for long-term marketing success, needs to be continuously sharpened because it’s the oil that keeps customer relationships running smoothly.

Emotional intelligence involves active listening and discussion by developing strong relationships with target audiences. It is a soft skill that requires a human-to-human approach to delicately balancing the act of delivering value in a way that resonates with people.

In simple words, there are no customers, buyers, users or subscribers but people with unique emotions, backgrounds, and desires. You, as a marketing executive, want to respect their intelligence, their situation, and their values.

In this regard, you are trying to make an emotional connection with your audiences to improve engagement and loyalty, which will ultimately lead to better lead generation, sales, and retention.

Constantly Challenge Your CMO Soft Skills

To excel in CMO leadership and strategy, you must have the right mindset and habits.

First off, it is about developing a strong understanding of your organization’s business strategy and overall direction. You don’t want to be perfect but disciplined and agile in order to adapt to new circumstances and implement actionable insights in all of your ongoing marketing campaigns.

Next, you have to confront competitive pressure to evolve as a true leader and improve your ability to achieve sustained marketing success with your team. Be ready to regularly find yourself outside of your comfort zone, constantly challenging your current state.

Jane Korluk

Jane Korluk

I write about how to start, grow and improve a successful CMO career by making better things together.

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