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Jan 05, 2004
Career Climber

12 Marketers' Advice on Moving Up the Corporate Ladder - Sony, GE, Bank of America, Intel…

SUMMARY: No summary available.
Moving up the corporate ladder can be particularly difficult in
marketing because most companies have limited top-level
positions. (In fact many don't even bother to appoint a CMO.)

We asked 12 marketing leaders from companies such as GE, Sony,
Bank of America, and Intel, how marketers can gain more
visibility and respect, and move beyond middle management.

Here, in their own words, is their best career advice:

-> Promote yourself both within your company and
within your industry

"Go on the offensive with your ideas and accomplishments. No one
would ever hear about Britney Spears if her people weren't
pounding the press every day. If you're stalled, you've got
nothing to lose by being aggressive. Department newsletters,
quarterly updates, analysis of recent events in the marketplace
are all good ways to stay visible while informing the company.
Circulate wide and always CC upper management."
Joe Rapolla
VP Consumer Marketing Services
Universal Music Group

"Seek out and lead projects that will get the attention of key
people within the organization. For example, if your HR
department is in need of a document that promotes the charitable
work of the company in the local market, volunteer to take the

Look beyond the requirements of the project. How can you get it
in front of more eyeballs? "This may include making it available
in a .pdf format or creating a Web page that fully details the
company position and charitable record."

Finally, look for other means of promoting it. "Go to the
communications department and suggest they do a press release on
the topic of the company's charitable work."
Don Kintner
Manager, Communications
GE Power Systems

"Be 'in the know' as to what the buzz is as it relates to new
business (new accounts, new products, upcoming challenges).
Volunteer on those projects. You never know where they might take
Mindy Stockfield
Director of Marketing
Cartoon Network

"Get your name and face out there -- write and submit articles
for trade publications, newspapers, etc. Become active in trade
groups so you can network. Offer to give talks, speeches,
presentations at industry events."
Tom McGee
Doyle Research

"Identify specific projects or areas you are interested in and
prepare a proposal to review with your manager. Explain why
you're interested, how your skills and experience will enable you
to make a valuable contribution, and how your current
responsibilities would be managed if you took on more. Being
proactive and demonstrating initiative and enthusiasm will surely
get people's attention."
Denise Lee Yohn
VP Corporate Strategic Marketing
Sony Electronics, Inc.

-> Find a mentor and ask for help

"You have to have a rabbi, a mentor, some sort of internal juice.
It's difficult to move around in a company if you don't have
someone who loves you."
Richard Ellis

"Engage with a mentor or someone who is 'where you want to go'
and get feedback from them about whether or not you're on the
right trajectory. If not, what would be some things that you
could do to nudge it in the right direction?"
Shauna Pettit-Brown
Market Intelligence Manager

"No man is an island. Find someone in a senior position in the
company that you have, or can, help. Offer to do something to
help them -- everyone has needs. If they have any voice in the
company, when the time comes to speak on your behalf, you will
have someone in your corner."
Joe Rapolla
VP Consumer Marketing Services
Universal Music Group

"Find the highest ranking marketing executive (within your
organization) you can and ask for their advice on moving to the
next level."
Phyllis Kinsinger
VP Consumer Card Customer
Bank of America

"Advancement can be perceived two ways by a manager: Demanding
advancement or asking for help to achieve your goals. My
experience suggests that taking the 'Can you help me?' approach
will win out in the long run. People are eager to help another
when asked vs. told."
Jason Heredia
Director of Marketing
Turnstone Furniture

"Make sure people know your aspirations. Unless you ask for
additional responsibilities, people may not know you are
interested in taking on more. And be willing to prove you are
ready to take on those additional responsibilities prior to
getting promoted."
Denise Lee Yohn
VP Corporate Strategic Marketing
Sony Electronics, Inc.

-> Focus on the bottom line

"Get closer to the money. Whatever you're doing right now, ask
yourself how you might move closer to and/or contribute more to
revenue creation. The more you have to do with creating revenue,
the more power, visibility, and quality of career you'll have."
Michael Wood
Teenage Research Unlimited

"Align yourself with a project that has direct connection to
bottom line results."
Jason Heredia
Director of Marketing
Turnstone Furniture

"Understand and come to terms with the objective of upper
management. Long-term strategic growth may not always be the
objective of upper management -- and therefore suggestions that
don't immediately impact the bottom line may fall on deaf ears."
Joe Rapolla
VP Consumer Marketing Services
Universal Music Group

"Spend more time speaking to the folks that directly buy the
goods and services. It becomes an organic process, by listening
to the customer one is more focused on what the customer wants.
Therefore the work product improves, responsibilities follow."
Frank Saulsbury
Managing Partner
TradeMarketing Incorporated

-> Move horizontally

"If there's no clear career path and you're basically stuck but
want to stay within that company, you have to reinvent yourself.
Discover what's critical with the company from a bottom-line
perspective. Watch internal postings and network with individuals
within that department, then take a job in that department."
John Menke
Sr VP Database Marketing &
Market Research
Webster Bank

"Too often, we concentrate on building our careers on a vertical
ladder of growth, always trying to anticipate the next
promotion/level up the corporate ladder. However, sometimes we
need to lay that ladder down on the floor and look at it from a
horizontal perspective. While new responsibilities may not
immediately translate into growth from an 'upward' standpoint, it
may provide you a new opportunity to broaden your career."
Mindy Stockfield
Director of Marketing
Cartoon Network

-> Be willing to leave your company if you're unhappy

"If you choose to jump companies, that's the easiest way to
advance. The problem is, you can only do that one or two times
before your resume starts people thinking, 'I'm not looking for
someone like that, I'm looking for a long-term employee.' So yes,
if you are stuck and have no hope of moving on, jump companies,
but jump to a company that has a career path."
John Menke
Sr VP, Database Marketing &
Market Research
Webster Bank

"Remain dignified and continue to work hard and stay on the
higher road. Attempt to turn things around, but be willing to
accept that your talents may just be better served elsewhere --
no one has time to be unhappy!"
Joe Rapolla
VP Consumer Marketing Services
Universal Music Group

"Take a big step back and consider whether or not you still enjoy
your job. If you're not satisfied, consider other fields or
another area within the field. More power and visibility are not
always the answer."
Tom McGee
Doyle Research

"The days of being a yes-person are over. You have to take risks.
And the good thing about taking risks is that, if it doesn't work
out and you get fired, you have the skills to start your own
business. The payoff is better than being a brand manager by
doing nothing wrong."
Richard Ellis

Note: The 12 marketing leaders quoted above all served as
speakers at IIR marketing conferences in 2003. We'd like to
thank them for sharing their wisdom.

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