As I reflect on the past decade writing for Forbes (I started in 2011), I decided to look at the articles that resonated most with readers. The most popular articles included insight on marketing careers and marketing actions—from a way to think about the most popular form of social media (word-of-mouth) to the biggest job-search mistakes C-level leaders make to a study that identifies the top companies that produce C-level marketers. Below are the top 5 articles and associated links (one of my personal favorites is #5 below).
#1: “Why Word of Mouth Marketing is the Most Important Social Media” (July 17, 2014)
This article explores the power of the original form of social media—word of mouth marketing. Suzanne Fanning, former President of WOMMA (Word of Mouth Marketing Association), provides insight on word of mouth marketing and contemporary efforts to create experiences that are worthy of sharing. She provides insight on a 3 E model: Engage, Equip, and Empower.
#2: “The Biggest Mistakes C-Level Candidates Make When Seeking a New Job” (June 5, 2014)
What are common mistakes that C-level marketers make when working with headquarters and interviewing for jobs? I reached out to Henry Flores, currently a Partner and Head of Marketing Officers Practice at Ward Howell International, an executive search firm, to better understand the key mistakes C-level candidates make. Flores provides great insight into how to turn a C-level job search into a successful one. One of my favorite tips – candidates failing to employ “marketing thinking” to the search. The search approach should be about “them” and not about “me”.
#3: “Survey Reveals the Companies that Develop the Best C-Level Marketing Leaders” (August 21, 2016)
Which firms have a reputation for developing superior C-level marketing leaders? When I couldn’t find data on this question, I decided to conduct research with Christine DeYoung, partner at DHR International, an executive recruiting firm (see the list of the top companies that develop the best C-level marketing leaders here). The list of companies that have reputations for developing talented C-level marketers? Most come from the consumer-packaged goods industry (Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, Unilever, General Mills, KraftHeinz, Johnson & Johnson, Nestle, Clorox, and so forth). Through interviews with executives, we delve into what makes these firms better at developing C-level capable marketers.
#4: “The 5 Questions C-Level Candidates Should Ask in an Interview” (December 28, 2015)
Many C-level job candidates fail to have thoughtful and well-prepared questions to ask at the end of an interview. I posed a question to an executive recruiter to identify the key questions all C-level candidates should ask in an interview. They include the basics (e.g., “What does success look like?”) as well as some rarely asked questions (e.g., “What is the degree of managerial discretion afforded this position?”).
#5: “MBA Students: Choose your First Marketing Job Wisely” (January 22, 2015)
This is one of my favorite articles. It was born out of a number of conversations I had with students about the “right” first job. I noticed that because students didn’t have an understanding of how marketing jobs varied across firms and industries (some are P&L, CEO-preparing roles and others are glorified collateral making roles), that they were making decisions based on ineffective proxies (e.g., which company is their favorite consumer brand). This article was first written as a letter to a student to help them consider their job options from a different vantage point. I continue to share it with students who often mistake passion for a brand from a consumer perspective with passion as a prospective employer. As a friend from graduate school found out—you may love playing golf but working for a golf company may not be a great career starting point.
Have a terrific new year!
Join the Discussion: @KimWhitler