I have spent a number of years managing global marketing teams in diverse B2B companies, where part of my leadership role was to build high-performance teams – which meant keeping employees energized, enthusiastic and passionate about their contribution to the organization. This is not always the easiest task for marketing leaders, as shown by a recent job satisfaction survey conducted by MyPlan.com, a career advice site. On a scale from 0 (“Miserable”) to 100 (“Very Happy”), marketing managers scored 54, falling into the “Mixed/Neutral” category.

This won’t be a surprise to many of you: Marketing is often the scapegoat for less than stellar performance by other parts of the organization. Also, CEOs sometimes view marketing as a discretionary cost, so the marketing budget is usually the first to get cut. Marketing leaders who address these issues and take steps to reinforce marketing motivation and morale can expect to see a positive impact on performance.

We all know that many factors influence job satisfaction. Contrary to popular belief, compensation has a relatively minor impact. One of the primary drivers of satisfaction is the sense of achievement. This is illustrated by the professions ranking highest on the MyPlan.com survey’s happiness meter: singers, firefighters, aircraft assemblers and pediatricians. Satisfaction comes from being able to see your impact or influence.

To apply this to marketing, leverage your annual goal-setting and measurement processes to create an environment where the marketing team feels a strong sense of achievement. Follow these five guidelines:

  • Align marketing priorities with the company’s strategic goals
  • Establish meaningful metrics that demonstrate progress and marketing’s contribution toward those goals
  • Define thresholds of success that have meaning to all stakeholders
  • Validate that these measures of success are within marketing’s ability to impact and manage
  • Recognize marketing’s progress and achievements
  • Marketing leaders can remove ambiguity by communicating the value of marketing’s mission and establishing reporting that demonstrates the operational contributions of their teams. A consistent focus on measurement, besides helping to adjust marketing tactics and demonstrate business impact, will improve effectiveness by reinforcing marketing’s sense of achievement and enthusiasm.