Posted on: June 17, 2019

Leadership in Marketing Management: practice approaches and emergent issues

Leadership in Marketing Management: practice approaches and emergent issues


The term marketing often refers to a group of activities pertaining to positioning, promoting and distributing products or services in the marketplace. The American Marketing Association Board agreed on this definition:

“Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.” (AMA, Approved July 2013)

Often overlooked but very important are research and development, advertising, pricing, and competition that must go hand in hand with the effort. Obviously, there are many more topics pertinent to marketing that are presently emergent and not yet known or accepted in the marketplace. Apart from the rudimentary discus of what marketing is, there are also unique variables – internal and external to managing the marketing of products and services from one geography to another. The variables in marketing management practice are largely external, such as legal definitions, legislative constraints, cultural sensitivities, and so on.

The 4Ps of Marketing

Jerome McCarthy’s (1960) premise of the 4Ps of marketing suggests that a mix of variables, namely, price, place, promotion, and product interweave in every conceivable configuration in order to bring about strong and successful marketing experience. Hence, those who engage in marketing management development, promotion, and research are busy, constantly seeking out ways and means to better understand the nuances of shifting market profiles in which they wish to launch, promote, and sustain their products and services successfully. In the words of Aashish Pahwa, three additional variables may be added to the marketing mix, namely, people, process, and physical environment. That makes it seven attributes of the marketing mix! It gets more interesting when we dig deeper into the inherent splinters within each sector of the mix.

Shifting Paradigms of Marketing Management

Think as far back as you can about how marketing of products and services were conducted, say, fifty or one hundred years ago. Then reflect on how we practice marketing today. For the sake of simplicity, let us agree on the pre internet and the internet eras.

In the former, billboards, leaflets, and other forms of analog and paper-based communication prevailed. The internet era has since unleashed additional digital options for the marketer to choose from.

Billboard Advertising Cost

  Cedar Rapids, IA Indianapolis, IN Orlando, FL Phoenix, AZ Boston, MA Los Angeles, CA
Physical Billboard Cost $550 to $4,000/ month $1,500 to $5,500/ month $800 to $4,500/ month $1,250 to $4,000/ month $4,000 to $13,000/ month $1,000 to $10,000/ month
Adult Population 209,658 1,541,706 2,022,512 3,702,685 3,909,472 10,451,934

A short list will include; Internet marketing (Facebook, Instagram, Google, Company websites and a plethora of optional forms of ads), Search engine optimization, Blog marketing, and Video marketing.  The ‘word-of-mouth’ approach remains perpetual obviously. What a successful marketing campaign is today is wildly different from what it once was. Consider the cost of a one-minute ad run during the Superbowl broadcast! The article by Kiah Treece (2019) “How much Does a Billboard Cost?”, provides helpful insights about the cost dynamics of billboards. The decision of what form of marketing campaign to conduct for a product or service remains entire at the marketing management leadership domain, something that requires strategic planning, and can only be achieved through organizational leadership involvement.

So, let’s talk about leadership.

Leadership in Marketing Management

Let us agree that a marketing management leader is essentially a business manager, someone with a specific focus on, and responsibility for managing the marketing of the company’s products and services.  I wish it were that simple!

As if managing the marketing of the organization’s products and services is not challenging enough, leading this office requires; “… someone adept at managing complexity, someone who thrives in a fluid, fast-paced environment, where you are encouraged to push the envelope of creativity and identifies with client’s needs and the user experiences. The leader works in a collaborative, team-based model that takes a global perspective, aligns resources to group priorities, and proactively identifies communication opportunities and delivers aggressive timelines and goals…” (Allegion, 2019).

Peter Drucker, the management guru and father of modern management once provoked an argument among scholars by declaring that “leadership is essentially a marketing job…”, suggesting that leadership of the marketing management process must necessarily integrate with the entire management landscape. Frederick E. Webster Jr’s reflection paper (2008), summarized Drucker’s thoughts this way:

“…, Drucker established the raison d’etre for marketing as the most vital part of management, as a fundamental value for the organization, but not, it must be noted, as a distinct business function” (p. 33).

In short, whatever products and services we promote in the marketspace should reflect not just branding ideas, but more importantly, to serve as testament of the organization’s vision, mission, and perhaps contribution to the society. Think of products and services in the marketplace today that you can identify with a country, culture or era. I think of the following, IKEA, Mercedes Benz, Fiat, etc.

Market management leadership interestingly may not always refer to or rest sorely with the executive director of marketing, rather, it points squarely to the organization, that is, the organization’s unique role within that industry. Consider the notion of a market leader as an organization that dominates a large chunk of a market segment. Think of Apple, Microsoft, IBM, Hewlett Packard, General Electric, Ford, Intel. In their book, “The 12 Powers of a Marketing Leader”, Thomas Barta and Patrick Barwise (2016) postulate the idea of ‘Value’ – company value, as intrinsically contiguous and aggregative, combining all values in people (customers), places (external elements), promotion and products (internal constraints), company vision and objectives (strategy for sustainability and industry relevance). They submit thus; “Our research confirms that marketing success is about maximizing the overlap between customer and company needs”

“Leading marketing, however, is a much broader task. It’s about helping the organization maximize the Value Creation Zone (V-Zone for short)—the crucial overlap between customer and company needs.” (Barta, 2017)


Hence, we could conceive that the following critical success factors as helpful to identify which organization is producing leadership in their industry and economic sectors:

  1. Data management: Business intelligence as a practice employs both the orthodox and non-orthodox approaches to unravel the dynamics of the market in which it must thrive. This sensitivity requires leadership to guide the business from becoming irrelevant in the marketplace dynamics. Data collection – by all means necessary, is half of the job however. Interpretation must be performed to understand new directions of consumer spending habits.
  2. Technology: While the business produces excellent products and service for its consumers, a process improvement optimization effort might further cut off waste, reduce production time, and access the market quicker through technical and innovative platforms.

In a sequel to this article, I would like to expand this topic with specific breakthroughs that have radically improved the fortunes of a marketer in the marketplace.


4Ps of Marketing (2018). LyfeMarketing. From

Aashich, P. (2018) What is Marketing Mix? Marketing Essentials. Feedough

Allegion (2019). Content Service & Marketing Management Leader. Allegion, PLC, Carmel, IN, US from

American Marketing Association (2019). Definition of Marketing, from

Barta,T and Barwise, P, (2016). The 12 Powers of a Marketing Leader: How to succeed by Building Customer and Company Value. McGraw-Hill Education

Barta, T. (2017). What is marketing leadership? Retrieved from:

Treece, K (2019). How much Does a Billboard Cost? 2019 Pricing & Advertising Tips. Retrieved from,

Webster, F. E. (2009). Marketing IS Management: This wisdom of Peter Drucker. Academy of Marketing Science. 2008. 7:20–27 DOI 10.1007/s11747-008-0102-4, from;