What is the secret to a successful career in marketing?


Circle Research has recently delved into the experiences of B2B marketers who have reached the heights of Head of Marketing, VP Marketing or CMO, to discover what the secret of their success is.

What is clear is that a successful career in marketing doesn’t happen by accident with 71 per cent of respondents planning their career. More interestingly however, is that successful individuals’ career plans revolve around five pillars: knowledge, diverse experience, core skills, their own brand and value on their personal life.

70 per cent of marketers feel that knowledge and a university education has been an important factor in the success of their career. However, the subject of the degree appears less important with professionals securing qualifications in subjects as wide ranging as fine art, philosophy engineering and law. In addition to this half of respondents went on to achieve a vocational qualification related to marketing once they were in the workplace.

Second is gaining diverse experience. 68 per cent of senior marketeers have worked in their profession for more than 15 years and during this time held positions in five different companies. As part of this experience, successful marketers seem to seek out businesses with a positive culture, supportive line-manager and an inspiring boss as these environments provide plenty of opportunity to learn and develop skills that enable progression.

Third, they develop some core skills which they feel are essential to success.  83 per cent state that an important part of their success was becoming expert communicators, followed by strong emotional intelligence, an adaptable mind-set and outstanding problem solving skills.

Fourth, successful individuals invest time and energy into developing ‘brand me’ and actively promote themselves so that new opportunities open up.  Almost all senior marketers use LinkedIn to promote their professional profile and half also use Twitter to the same end. Creating a strong sense of personal brand enables these successful individuals to attract the most suitable opportunities.

And last, but certainly not least, successful marketers put value on their personal life during the quest for success.  On average, senior marketers work 47 hours a week with 65 per cent believing that working longer than contracted hours has no bearing on whether a market makes it to the top or not.