​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

Launch marketing council Episode 5: Retailer and supplier

In our fifth and final episode, we delve into the relationship between retailer and supplier and how it drives and influences launch marketing strategies and success. To do that, we’re joined by Campbell Davies, group general manager of Associated Retailers Limited, and Kristin Viccars, marketing director A/NZ, Apex Tool Group. Also featured are Five by Five Global managing director, Matt Lawton, and CMO’s Nadia Cameron.

More Videos

Great read. I agree that it should be a perfect balance between interacting with your customers and knowing your brand. As a business, yo...

Caroline Scott

7 ways CMOs can improve their customer engagement game

Read more

Very true. Team development helps improve collaboration among the team members. I was able to improve my team's collaboration skills by t...

Quent Sinder

Why empowering others can help make you a great leader

Read more

CRM is a very good software that can help you succeed in your business. In my company, this system has allowed me to improve customer rel...

Anna Janicka

Sensis rebrands to Thryv and brings business software to Australian SMBs

Read more

AI Leasing Assistants have finally arrived for the multifamily industry. With so many to choose from it can be hard to figure out which i...

Alice Labs Pte. Ltd.

CMO's top 8 martech stories for the week - 6 May 2021

Read more

Nowadays, when everything is being done online, it is good to know that someone is trying to make an improvement. As a company, you are o...

Marcus

10 lessons Telstra has learnt through its T22 transformation

Read more

Blog Posts

Why if marketing is all you do, you’ll never be very good at it

OK, so you’re probably thinking: “Here comes another article to badger me about living in my bubble.” And also, “I bet this bubble-bashing piece will go on to explain how I can achieve better results through some heady dose of new life experiences, new routines and annoyingly different opinions on social media.”

Dane Smith and Toby Harrison

Ogilvy Australia

A leader’s role in rebuilding a culture of confidence

Every day, there are new predictions and studies on the future of work, the state of the economy and the unfolding global pandemic. All of which creates uncertainty and heightens the imperative of effective leadership.

Michelle Gibbings

Workplace expert, author

Confused About Your Customers?​

​I've worked in brand and marketing for more than 20 years. But there’s one area where I’ve found myself going around in circles and I must admit I'm becoming increasingly confused.

Rich Curtis

CEO, FutureBrand A/NZ

Sign in