By Rene Slota, Sesimi CMO

A recent article showcased the skills that five notable CMOs felt made a great marketer. While each pinpointed a particular skill that separated the good from the great, I believe it’s a set of skills that marketers need for success in a fast-moving world – and that set is always growing.

As our platform impacts so powerfully on the marketing function, we’re fortunate at Sesimi to rub shoulders with some of the most successful CMOs in a range of industries.

All these CMOs face the challenges of channel explosion and its escalating demands on content generation. What I see in these influential marketers confirms my view that the following skills are all vital parts of the Marketer makeup in 22:

1. Cat-like curiosity

Skill: Cat like curiosity

Marketers are curious by nature – we’re always developing new skills and drawing on new disciplines to look deeper for a better understanding of results. And we love nothing better than trying something new if it can add value.

It’s about unearthing new opportunities and in this respect, I agree with the KFC CMO, Kristi Woolrych: “A great – not merely good – marketer not only solves problems but uncovers new opportunities and creates the future.”


2. Data, data, data


Interestingly, not mentioned by any of the five CMOs is the importance of being able to collect, understand and build insights around data. Yes, there’s lots of it – today’s marketers have untapped data at their disposal, so using the right tools to harness all that data is vital.

But most importantly perhaps is a natural inclination toward data analysis together with a basic understanding of statistics. You need to know if the numbers you’re looking at are relevant. How often are decisions made on gut instinct and suspect data, not statically relevant? Sample size of one, sound familiar?

3. Bold, brave, and creative

Brave bold creative

 A great marketer is equal parts mathematician and artist.

None of the great ones take stupid risks. They take brave, calculated risks – the blend of Art and Science – that neatly separates their brand from the rest. And by brave, I mean the bravery of getting out of the way. Letting the creative agency do its magic by creating amazing concepts then stepping in to mobilize it and unleash it on the world.

In this sense, great marketers have the ability to recognize and back innovative thinking with timing and passion. In this regard, I agree wholeheartedly with Lisa Ronson, Coles CMO: “But for me, it’s also about creativity, innovation, and bravery and working very closely with great partners and people you trust.”

4. The art of listening

art of listening

 It goes without saying that marketers need to be great communicators. But somehow this is more pointed in marketing given the fact that it’s all about communication.

Yes, you need to be able to share your vision – but you also need to be able to listen to the great ideas in the room and enable them. Great CMOs will draw their team to them if they champion their great ideas without taking all the credit. Do it well and they’ll find their team will walk over hot coals for them. 

5. Pivot on a dime

pivot on a dime

When it comes to impact in market, this is probably my number one skill. The ability to switch campaign direction to match market needs and consumer trends is vital in an age where social media moves thinking so fast.

Here’s where I put my Sesimi hat on and say that being able to pivot on a dime is only possible if you have tech at your disposal that can change your campaign direction. That’s what Sesimi excels at. I make no apology for the blatant Sesimi plug – you simply need to see it in action to realise what it can do for your marketing agility.