Three Ways Leaders Can Cultivate a Motivated Marketing Team

14 Jun


In this edition of the CM Leadership blog series, Jenna Walker, Manager, Field Marketing—Alberta, at IG Wealth Management, interviews Drew Robertson to discover what makes an effective marketing leader. Drew says effective marketing leadership hinges on infrastructure, ownership, and sincere communication. 

Beyond the Boardroom: Three Ways Leaders Can Cultivate a Motivated Marketing Team

Drew Robertson
Drew Robertson, Senior Manager of Field Marketing in Atlantic Canada, IG Wealth Management

Drew Robertson, Senior Manager of Field Marketing in Atlantic Canada, IG Wealth Management, with Jenna Walker, Manager of Field Marketing in Alberta, IG Wealth Management.

Effective leadership is crucial in the fast-paced and ever-evolving world of marketing. In this exclusive interview with Drew Robertson, a marketing professional with over three decades of industry experience, we will share three key areas of focus for marketing leaders to inspire and motivate their teams: Infrastructure, ownership, and sincere communication. These areas adopt a more people-centered leadership style, where leaders guide and manage with both intellect and empathy.

Throughout his career, Drew Robertson has discovered and often adopted the attributes and behaviors of great marketing leaders. His insight, experience, and leadership skills are highly valued by his team, as well as the advisors and senior leaders in the client-facing field network at IG Wealth Management. This article is relevant to today’s leaders in marketing and beyond.

“Great marketing leaders understand that the infrastructure of a business includes the environment and culture. It’s both physical and emotional.”

Typically, when people think of the ‘infrastructure,’ of a firm, they envision a physical building and the facilities needed for maintenance; however, this is not the complete picture. Marketing leaders should also focus on developing a strong emotional infrastructure: the collective measures, resources, and social practices aimed at nurturing the emotional well-being of all. “Team members become inspired and motivated by their leaders when their needs are met. This includes providing them with the right tools to do their jobs effectively, but also learning more about them as individuals – what are their personal and professional goals? What skills do they want to sharpen? What matters to them?”

When marketing teams feel more connected and experience an atmosphere of understanding and belonging, they come to work engaged and recharged. This is significant, as their work requires a high degree of creative and mental output. “We as Marketers spend our whole career trying to serve the interests of the end user. We’re always thinking about who they are, what they need, and how best to reach them. We try to deeply understand people, so it makes sense that our leaders try to understand us.” When leaders take the time to get to know their team members as individuals, they uncover what makes them feel empowered, and this ultimately results in better quality work. It’s a win-win.

Ownership means it’s more important to find a solution than to figure out whose fault it is.”

Years ago, Robertson worked with an advertising agency on some assets for a project. Unfortunately, there were multiple communication problems, and the final product wasn’t adequate. It didn’t seem like the agency was listening to Robertson’s feedback. There was zero accountability within the agency and, as they tried to figure out who was to blame, the work was halted even further, leading to widespread frustration.

Thankfully, the firm’s owner intervened and began fostering mutual understanding between everyone on the project. The owner kept emphasizing the unique contributions of each team member and proactively assumed full responsibility for the dilemma. This redirected the team’s focus towards problem-solving and put an end to pointing fingers. Consequently, the agency team was able to unite and collaboratively work towards a solution.

“When teams witness their leader taking the fall for their mistakes, they have more forgiveness for their leader when they’re not on their A-game; they become their leader’s die-hard fans and are even more motivated to be on the team. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter who is to blame. What’s important is that people shift into problem-solving mode to get the job done.” Throughout his career, Robertson has adopted this approach of taking ownership in various scenarios, which has proven to be effective in preserving both time and important relationships.

“The culture fostered by the most influential leader I’ve ever had was one of sincere communication and a constant expression of gratitude.”

“Leaders who communicate well can deliver messages and direction quickly and clearly; the ones who take it to the stratosphere level also communicate sincerely. This is hearts and minds kind of stuff. These leaders emote even just a little bit when they provide guidance, vision, and clarity, and it makes all the difference.” To produce an even greater impact on workplace culture, combining sincere communication with expressing gratitude can create tangible benefits for both individuals and organizations: increased engagement and well-being, strengthened relationships, and boosted employee performance.

When leaders act with sincerity and express gratitude, they convey that there is an emotional satisfaction on doing the job well, and that they truly care about their team’s contributions. “Being thanked for my partnership on a project or discussion always reinforced my personal self-worth as an important part of the process.”

“To the future leaders of marketing, leadership has nothing to do with a title.”

Jenn Walker
Jenna Walker, Manager of Field Marketing in Alberta, IG Wealth Management.

The essence of leadership is about doing something in a key moment that positively changes what’s going on in the room.” It could mean investing your time to understand your team better, taking accountability of a problem so a solution can be found, or learning how to communicate more sincerely. It could also be something as simple as choosing when to be vocal or when to listen and let others speak. Even good leaders today can be great by putting these into practice. “Anyone can exercise great leadership.”

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