Early in my graduate studies, when the idea of The Servant Marketer was just a thought I’d ruminate on late at night, I looked to see if there were any scholarly works or other marketers who were writing about the subject. What I found was scarce. While there was plenty of chatter about service over sales, inbound marketing and leadership galore, but no correlation between Servant Leadership and the marketing profession. This was equal parts exhilarating and exciting.
Then I found Keith Reynold Jennings and I wanted to know him right away. In his article, “The Power of Servant Leadership in a Modern Marketing World,” struck so many chords with me.
“In the July/August 2017 issue of Harvard Business Review, Kim Whitler and Neil Morgan remind us that chief marketing officer turnover is the highest in the C-suite. And 4 out of 5 CEOs either distrust or are unimpressed with their CMOs.
The problem, according to the authors, is that responsibilities, expectations and performance measures are not aligned and realistic. To put it bluntly, the stereotype CEOs have of marketers sets up failure. And marketing leaders, for a variety of reasons, play into this stereotype and seal their fate. (I had the privilege of hearing Kim Whitler speak last week and this crisis isn’t getting better.)
The real problem, of course, is that marketing today is unrecognizably different and more specialized than it was even five years ago. Mark Schaefer writes about the “hyper-empowered customer.” Are you ready for that?”
I knew I needed to talk to Keith about Servant Marketing and get his thoughts on the poly-synchronous society we’re living in.
Our conversation was an absolute delight.
In this episode:
- The personal story of how Keith discovered Servant Leadership
- Operating from a sense of values and honoring diverse perspectives
- Why CMOs have the highest turnover in the C-Suite
- The one question any potential CMO should ask before taking a new position