My colleague, Emily Riley, and I joined forces at Forrester's Marketing Forum to talk about how marketers can prepare for the next digital decade. My message is this. The only way CMOs can effectively lead their organization in the digital era is to ADAPT by embracing a new mental model to overcome the bad habits of marketing. Emily's message is that the digital revolution isn't just a top-down mandate. It's a mission that the entire marketing organization has to embrace at its CORE so that all marketing is customized, optimized, responsive, and empowering.

Tomorrow's Brands Can't Succeed With Yesterday's Leadership

Let’s be clear. I’m not saying today’s marketing leaders need to be replaced. I’m saying your rules need to be replaced.

And the trick to learning new rules is to overcome your mental barriers.

Consider Roger Bannister. He was the first person to run a 4-minute mile. The previous world record of 4 minutes and 1 second had stood for nine years. So many runners had tried to break the 4-minute barrier that scientists actually believed it was beyond the limitations of what the human body was capable of. But in fact, it wasn’t a physical limitation at all. It was a mental barrier. Once Bannister did it, 16 other runners broke it in the following four years. Not necessarily new runners: Many were the same people Bannister had been competing against.

What happened to those runners is what’s happening to you as a marketing leader. You’re having trouble breaking through to the next plateau.

The good news is that we’ve identified the mental barriers you need to overcome. We call them the five bad habits of traditional marketing. And we’ve developed a new mental model to replace them with. We call it ADAPT — the five habits of highly adaptive marketers. Take the advice of Dana Anderson, SVP of marketing strategy and communications at Kraft Foods, and Jim Trebilcock, EVP of marketing at Doctor Pepper Snapple Group, who both spoke at our Marketing Forum, and start living by these new habits:

  • Accept change.
  • Dare the status quo.
  • Act continuously.
  • Participate personally.
  • Tear down boundaries.

Stay tuned. Over the course of the year, I will be building on that research to learn how CMOs are redefining their roles within the C-suite.

In the meantime, join the conversation in our community.