​Why it’s time more marketers sit at the boardroom table

CEO of the Director Institute reveals how the right marketing expertise can benefit a company’s board of directors

CEO of the Director Institute, Kylie Hammond, explains how marketers can bring a fresh perspective to the board table
CEO of the Director Institute, Kylie Hammond, explains how marketers can bring a fresh perspective to the board table

Organisations serious about remaining competitive and understanding the changing nature of consumer demands need to bring marketing to the boardroom, CEO of the Director Institute, Kylie Hammond, claims.

“If you look at the way boards have traditionally been recruited, it’s been a pretty lacklustre and stale process,” she told CMO. “Typically, boards have been made up of the likes of lawyers, accountants or investment bankers.”

But according to Hammond, more businesses are now moving away from a tunnel vision approach and starting to recognise the power and value skills diversity can bring to the boardroom.

“Recently, we’ve started to see skills diversity come to the front of the equation like marketing, HR, IT, which have not traditionally come into the boardroom,” she said. “These offer different skills with different perspectives.”

But while IT and HR are now firmly cementing their spots in the boardroom, Hammond said the marketer has been the last to join that push, despite the importance of the role and in many instances, its game-changing ability to transform an organisation.

“The critical thing the board is there to do is to oversee the strategy of the business,” she explained. “You very rarely have people who really understand the current paradigm – whether that be social media and how that’s playing out, IT and how we transact with people, or the customer experience and how we market to our clients.

“Marketers being at boardroom level really has been the missing part of the equation and there’s a huge opportunity for organisations to get a real competitive advantage by having marketers there.”

As marketing gets a foot in the boardroom door, Hammond said she's found it’s becoming obvious their perspective and ability to ask pressing questions nobody has thought to ask before brings a fresh approach.

“There’s actually a very high-profile, publicly listed IT company we know that recently appointed a marketer to its board for the very first time in the history of the company,” she continued. “What transpired was the new board member began to ask some really critical questions about the business such as its consumers, what segmentation had been done about the client base, who was using fixed line versus mobile. But she couldn’t get responses from the other board members. They literally did not know.

“The more she asked these very basic questions from a marketer’s perspective, the more the board started to realise they didn’t really understand what they were dealing with in their business, and they didn’t understand the strategy or whether it was working. So it was a real eye opener for the company.”

At the Director Institute, Hammond said she’s seeing people now request someone with a marketing background to come onto the board – whether the organisation is ASX listed, or in its early stages.

“It’s probably a 50-60 per cent increase in the number of briefings where we’re seeing marketing requested as a core skill set from a future board member,” she said.

Hammond said it’s not surprising given what a board is there to do: Oversee the strategy of the business.

“The benefit of having a marketer in the boardroom is that many live and breathe strategy, so it’s that insight that is very valuable,” she said. “At board level, you need a good understanding of what’s going on in the trenches and you have to determine whether the strategy is correct.”

For marketers serious about earning a place at the board table, Hammond suggested they not only need to earn their stripes, but also network at board level to get their skills noticed.

“You need to sit alongside board directors, build your credentials and experience up and then you can go from there to secure further positions,” she said. “Like all board directors, you need to have a strong personal brand, a very clear understanding of what it is that you bring to the table and be able to communicate your value proposition.

“At the same time, you need to network with the chairs of boards and directors, sooner rather than later, while you’re in the top job and before leaving for any external appointments. That way, when you do leave corporate life, you are very well placed to have a fully-fledged board career.”

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+: google.com/+CmoAu

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Latest Videos

Conversations over a cuppa with CMO: Microsoft's Pip Arthur

​In this latest episode of our conversations over a cuppa with CMO, we catch up with the delightful Pip Arthur, Microsoft Australia's chief marketing officer and communications director, to talk about thinking differently, delivering on B2B connection in the crisis, brand purpose and marketing transformation.

More Videos

Great article!

Daniel Dan

What robotic process automation can do for marketers

Read more

We can deliver DIP N PAY JP54,JET A1,D2,FOB @Rotterdam CRUDE OIL CIF /DIP N PAY TANKFARM CHINA ,we have sellers that can work based on st...

JSafra Bank

Google+ and Blogger cozy up with new comment system

Read more

JP54,D2, D6, JetA1 EN590Dear Buyer/ Buyer mandate,We currently have Available FOB Rotterdam/Houston for JP54,D2, D6,JetA1 with good and w...

Collins Johnson

Oath to fully acquire Yahoo7 from Seven West Media

Read more

Great content and well explained. Everything you need to know about Digital Design, this article has got you covered. You may also check ...

Ryota Miyagi

Why the art of human-centred design has become a vital CX tool

Read more

Interested in virtual events? If you are looking for an amazing virtual booth, this is definitely worth checking https://virtualbooth.ad...

Cecille Pabon

Report: Covid effect sees digital events on the rise long-term

Read more

Blog Posts

A Brand for social justice

In 2020, brands did something they’d never done before: They spoke up about race.

Dipanjan Chatterjee and Xiaofeng Wang

VP and principal analyst and senior analyst, Forrester

Determining our Humanity

‘Business as unusual’ is a term my organisation has adopted to describe the professional aftermath of COVID-19 and the rest of the tragic events this year. Social distancing, perspex screens at counters and masks in all manner of situations have introduced us to a world we were never familiar with. But, as we keep being reminded, this is the new normal. This is the world we created. Yet we also have the opportunity to create something else.

Katja Forbes

Managing director of Designit, Australia and New Zealand

Should your business go back to the future?

In times of uncertainty, people gravitate towards the familiar. How can businesses capitalise on this to overcome the recessionary conditions brought on by COVID? Craig Flanders explains.

Craig Flanders

CEO, Spinach

Sign in