Try This >> Join the Marketing Leadership Masterclass

I have created an online Marketing Leadership Masterclass that starts in April 2019 in association with Marketing Week. Sign up by March 15 for a special reader discount (you’ll save GBP 250).

Successful marketers and agency leaders aren’t born. They’re made. The Marketing Leadership Masterclass isn’t about marketing. It’s about becoming a leader who inspires change, builds influence inside the firm, mobilizes colleagues and leads teams.

You choose your own pace in this 12-week, 100-percent online class. Build your personal leadership plan with a workbook, readings, reflection papers, live Q&A sessions with me and a signed 12 Powers of a Marketing Leader book.

Over 1,000 people have attended my 12 Powers live classes. The results? More impact, more career success, and, quite simply, more fun. Together with a BBC journalist and a great director, we’ve worked for months to bring these leadership lessons to marketers. (I’m going to miss my makeup artist).

We’ll kick off the class on April 30. You can access all modules until July 31. That’s almost 100 days of learning, readings and live discussions for less than the cost of an ordinary marketing conference. UK participants can earn 33 CPD credits.

As a TryThis.Blog reader, you’ll get a special discount: GBP 1,000 /~ USD 1,350 /~ EUR 1,160. That’s GBP 250 off the full price.

Click here to book now. Use discount code “friendsoftom” but please, keep it to yourself. You’ll have to hurry. The code expires March 15.

I hope you can join me.

The 12 Powers: Limited Time Bulk Deal

I’ve got good news. Until December 1st, our publisher, McGraw-Hill and 800-CEO-READ offer a 40% bulk discount for our marketing leadership book The 12 Powers of a Marketing Leader.

Here’s the deal: for 25+ books, it’s 40% off.

Want to train your team? Now’s the time! You can combine this with our 100-Marketers Challenge.

Need to organize your season’s mailing? 800-CEO-READ will even do it all for you (contact

They’ll limit this offer until end December 2018, so order today!

The 100-Marketers Challenge

To bring the insights from the world’s largest ever study on marketing leadership to 1,500 marketers at all levels, Thomas and Patrick are giving away two hours of free team learning to 15 marketing teams in 2018 and 2019. Places are limited!

Leadership skills, for marketers’ business impact and career success, are more important than ever (and more important than most marketers think). That’s why we’ve decided to offer free individual team learning sessions with Thomas or Patrick for 15 marketing teams in 2018 and 2019. This 90 minutes online learning session (and 30 minutes pre-work) will enable your team members to learn the key concepts of marketing leadership–and develop their own personal impact-strategies. Session-focus:

— Mobilize your Boss (being relevant at the organization’s top)
— Mobilize your Colleagues (getting other people to support your cause)

The session is free for every team leader who buys at least 100 copies of The 12 Powers of a Marketing Leader.

Where’s the catch? There’s none. Thomas and Patrick don’t run consultancies. It’s all about spreading the word to marketers across the globe.

How does it work?

  • Simply contact Thomas and register your interest.
  • Buy 100 or more copies of The 12 Powers of a Marketing Leader from any source of your choice—and send us a confirmation copy.
  • Agree a convenient date for the session.

Any questions? Please read the FAQ-section at the end of the post.

The 100-Marketers Challenge is limited to 15 teams in 2018 and 2019.

* * *


Q: Do I need to have a 100-strong team to participate?
A: No. You can choose to give to give the spare books to other marketers and colleagues outside your team.

Q: Which topics will you cover?
A: We’ll cover the basics of marketing leadership with a focus on leading upwards (shaping the agenda) and sideways (mobilizing colleagues).

Q: Can we do this session for our clients too?
A: No, this free program is for internal teams only.

Q: Will the session focus on the specifics of our company?

A: The principles of marketing leadership are universal. The company specifics will then come through the questions and discussion during the two sessions.

Q: Do you offer follow up sessions and programs?
A: If you believe, after the session, deepening the content would make for significant impact within your team, Thomas will be happy to discuss options with you.

Q: How will you organize the sessions–technically?
A: Thomas and Paddy will moderate the session and provide short pre-session exercises for your team. All you have to do is manage the invitations on your end and host the session, using your preferred company voice or video conferencing system.

Q: What are the exact steps we need to take after confirming?
A: It might be easiest to ask a senior PA or team assistant to organize the session. The specific steps are:

  • Purchase 100 or more 12 Powers books and send us the confirmation.
  • Schedule a 90-minute voice or video conference with Thomas/Paddy and your team, titled: “The 12 Powers of a Marketing Leader Training Session – Mobilizing your Boss and Colleagues”
  • Once your team members have the book, and 2 weeks ahead of the session, Thomas or Paddy will send you a suggested email for your team, detailing the session-content and a suggested pre-reading.
  • After the session, Thomas or Paddy will follow up with an email and further suggested exercises for your team.

The 12 Powers of a Marketing Leader


“Everything you need to know to be a superior market leader! Thank you, Barta and Barwise, for sharing your secrets to success!”
—Marshall Goldsmith, The Thinkers 50 #1 Leadership Thinker in the World

“A must-read for every present and future CMO who cares about making a difference.”
—Seth Godin, author of All Marketers Are Liars

“Barta and Barwise show in this thoughtful book how marketers can contribute significantly more both to their companies’ success and to their own career paths. Research-based, but brought to life by human beings.”
—Sir Martin Sorrell, founder and CEO, WPP

“A masterful dissection of what it really takes to lead marketing.”
—Syl Saller, global CMO, Diageo, Marketing Society Leader of the Year 2015

“The essential leadership playbook for the CMO of the future.”
—Jim Stengel, former global marketing officer, Procter & Gamble

“ An essential read for any marketing professional looking to take the next step in their career.”
—Dominic Barton, global managing director, McKinsey & Company

“Important reading for anyone wishing to flourish in this most exciting and dynamic field of corporate life.”
—Paul Polman, CEO, Unilever

“Stuffed full of sound analysis, crucial career advice, and fascinating case studies—this is an effortless must-read for the ambitious marketer.”
—Gavin Patterson, CEO, BT
“I only wish I had been able to read it a good few years ago!
—Amanda Mackenzie, global CMO, Aviva

“The leadership book for twenty-first-century marketers.”
—Katie Vanneck-Smith, chief customer officer, Global Managing Director International, Dow Jones

“This research-based, yet superbly practical book provides immediate and actionable insights on one of the most challenging boundaries to span – the one between corporate goals and customers. I encourage you to read this book and get into the “V-Zone!”
—Chris Ernst, Ph.D., author of Boundary Spanning Leadership, Global Head, Learning, Leadership & Organization Development, Bill & Melinda Gates foundation

“The 12 Powers of a Marketing Leader is a must-read for any marketing leader, with a clear blueprint that will take any marketer’s career to the next level and far beyond. Barta and Barwise have written a highly accessible book that’s engaging, informative and motivating!”
—Barbara Messing, CMO, TripAdvisor

“Barta and Barwise have a unique ability to find and illuminate the essential in marketing. The 12 Powers of a Marketing Leader offers invaluable insights and advice on a blindingly important—but rarely talked about—marketing topic: how to achieve marketing success within the organization. It will help any marketer become a true marketing leader.”
—Kevin Lane Keller, E. B. Osborn Professor of Marketing, Tuck School of Business

“A truly insightful guide to how good marketing executives can become outstanding leaders and enhance the value of marketing within their organizations.”
—Joan Kaloustian, managing director corporate marketing, MUFG Union Bank

“Here is a must-read book for marketers as leaders. If you have a cause to promote, an ambition to lead, and a desire to perform on the main stage, not in the studio, pursue the practical guidance in these pages and a permanent seat at the top table, if not at its head, will be yours.”
—Richard Hytner, author, Consiglieri: Leading from the Shadows, founder, beta baboon and former DY chairman, Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide

“Barta and Barwise lay out a clear and compelling road map for helping marketing practitioners become high-impact enterprise leaders. Their success model is deeply grounded in data and experience and provides a framework that works within the ever-changing world of modern marketing.”
—Peter Horst, CMO, The Hershey Company

“This book rejects the ‘one leader fits anywhere’ mentality, and makes a powerful case that leadership practices are ideally tailored to a specific functional area—such as marketing. By meshing relevant research along with personal experience, the authors also make a compelling and incisive argument that leading a group of marketing professionals differs dramatically from being a consummate practitioner.”
—Jack Zenger, CEO of Zenger Folkman and best-selling co-author of The Extraordinary Leader

“The first evidence-based toolset to ‘lead marketing.’ A must-read for anyone who is serious about leading—not just doing—marketing.”
—Bernie Jaworski, Drucker Chair in Management and the Liberal Arts, Drucker School of Management

“Great marketing leadership is a vital part of driving business growth. This book gets under the skin of what makes a great marketing leader with vital, practical lessons that can be applied to help anyone focus toward future career success.”

—Peter Markey, CMO, Post Office

“This might just become the ‘bible’ for marketing leaders.”
—Sherilyn Shackell, founder and CEO, The Marketing Academy

2019 CMO Fellowship: Applications are open

Who are the most talented global marketers–with clear board potential applications are now open for the 2019 Fellowship, a (free) 9-month mentoring, coaching and learning programme, geared to developing today’s Chief Marketing Officers into tomorrow’s CEOs.

The programme is free of charge for Fellows, though it is highly selective and requires a time commitment of around 12 days between January and September 2019.

The Marketing Academy Fellowship developed in partnership with McKinsey & Company is a powerful, free, part time program for exceptional CMOs & marketing leaders. Participants will get access to board-level thinking and development in all elements of Board stewardship, helping them accelerate their knowledge and experience to take on a future CEO or board role.

I’ll be teaching again the leadership components of the Fellowship. Participants will hence benefit from the 12 Powers research on CMO success–and from the combined team experience when it comes to the CMO->CEO transition.

The Fellowship is taught in Europe, but takes applicants from all regions of the world.

Deadline for applications is 21st October 2018.

New York and London

Do You Know Talented Young US Marketers? The future of marketing depends on its people. Nominations are now open for the first US-based Marketing Academy Scholarship–the program that brings together CEO’s, CMO’s, authors, experts, inspirational speakers, founders of charities and sporting legends to contribute to the curriculum on a pro-bono basis, ensuring the Scholarship is a totally unique and immensely powerful learning experience. After having taken Europe and Australia by storm, Sherilyn and the team are finally putting on a US program.

But hurry: nominations close Sep 07.

The London marketing conference is coming. Join me on October 10 and 11 for the Festival Of Marketing (more interestingly you’ll also get diver Tom Daley, Byron Sharp, and Steve Wozniak).

The number one reason why marketers fail

When marketers fail, both they and their organizations suffer. Yet many marketing officers still haven’t built the key foundation for success: alignment with the CEO. That’s perplexing (from my Forbes column).

This should be marketing’s golden age. Social media, smart phones, big data, and the like: It’s never been easier to understand and reach customers. Yet, it seems, it’s never been easier for CMOs to get sidelined.

Last year, Coke ditched its global CMO in favor of a growth officer (I still ask myself: what, if not growth, was the CMO busy with?). Giants like Colgate-Palmolive, Coty, and Mondelēz have all underemphasized the CMO role by installing all sorts of growth officers. And European Airline EasyJet has just replaced their CMO with a chief data officer. How about CMO tenure? For several years, search firm Spencer Stuart has only been able to report small ups and downs in the (notoriously short) CMO tenure.

It’s complicated

The list of CMO challenges is long. Short-termism creates major headaches, no matter where you look. Digital makes tactical marketing activities more measurable. Now the pressure is on to evaluate and prove everything. That’s obviously difficult when it comes to long-term marketing effects. Traditional lines of responsibility are blurring. Today, customer data, insights, and issues pop up everywhere across the organization. It’s often less then clear who owns what. Add to this the massive growth pressure in saturated markets and it’s easy to see why the CMO role is tough.

Yet one fact continues to perplex me: Alignment between CMOs and the rest of the C-suite is strikingly lacking. We asked 1,232 CMOs worldwide whether they understand what’s right for the business and align marketing with the other company leaders. 76% said yes.

76% appears to be a high number. But it still means 2-3 out of 10 CMOs don’t consider themselves fully aligned with the business.

And what do company leaders say about their CMOs? The picture isn’t rosy—there’s room to improve. When it comes to encouraging new business opportunities (often a top CEO priority), only 59% of all CEOs and GMs rate their CMOs highly.

Internal marketing team alignment is an issue too. Among CEOs and GMs only 43% believe marketing officers make sure their teams know where the organization is headed. These numbers are chilling.

We can always cite other reasons for CMO struggles. But not aligning with the firm’s core agenda seems like a pretty big deal. As a company leader, I’d have second thoughts about my CMO if marketing’s pursuits were unaligned with the business.

Fixing the number one CMO issue: C-suite alignment

As bleak as the alignment numbers appear, the fix may be simple. The following strategies are well known and important, but it’s striking how many top marketers don’t apply them:

Being the company’s best analyst.Before alignment comes understanding. In publicly traded companies, the CEO agenda is partly out in the open. Getting ahold of analyst reports is a good way to understand what matters at the top. When no external reports exist, getting hold of the CEO agenda may involve more lunches with C-suite executives. By adding further internal insights every CMO should quickly be able to grasp the full top-agenda.

For a CMO, understanding the boardroom tide – even better than analysts do – can be a lifeline. And a CMO lifeline is what we need.

Making the case for customers—not for marketing.Even after the real CEO agenda has become clear, aligning the marketing priorities with it can be tough for two reasons.

First off, CEOs can be wrong. Digital Equipment Corporation’s CEO Ken Olsen’s famous quote: “There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home,” was simply bad judgement. In the same way, CEOs today may ignore important trends or damage valuable brand assets through too much short-term focus. Business success isn’t about aligning the C-suite with marketing—but with customers. There’s no point in blindly following a CEO agenda that’s flawed. Every CMO must be prepared to be the customer voice that stands up to the CEO when necessary. Of all the reasons to get fired, standing up for customers is the most noble.

The second reason for alignment troubles has to do specifically with CMOs. Too many consider themselves marketers first and foremost, and therefore focus primarily on the marketing function. The moment CMOs take this narrow perspective, they fall into misalignment traps. At times, a bigger marketing communication budget just isn’t the most important firm priority. No marketer of struggling Toys “R” US or Sears, for example, would currently worry about long-term brand building while cash is king. Effective CMOs are business leaders with a marketing spike—not the other way around.

There’s more to alignment than the big picture. Subtleties matter. When should a project go on the agenda? When is the right time to stop asking for more funds (or even to return them)? Which agenda should be pushed during a board meeting? Which battle is not worth fighting? Fully aligned CMO get these subtleties right.

When successful CMOs talk “growth”, they foremost mean the business—not the marketing department.