John Wiltshire, President, and CEO of the Canadian Marketing Association, chatted with CanadianSME about the reasons why the market leaders should adopt a clear goal with their staff about the importance of continuous learning and building skills.
A highly accomplished senior executive with experience in marketing and product strategies, John is currently in the position of President – CEO for the Canadian Marketing Association (CMA). In this role, John provides the overall strategy and execution of the CMA mandate and champions the fundraising and product development of a new Chartered Marketer designation. Prior to this role, John spent over 20 years as a senior executive in the financial industry. His core strengths include product design, branding, promotions, and communication.
John is renowned for using a combination of diplomacy, tenacious leadership, strong core values, and objective decision-making to deliver results. His strong leadership and operational expertise as well as his people-first approach have left a significant impact on the companies he has worked for and the people he has worked with.
CMA conducted a recent survey, what was the motivation and inspiration beyond conducting the survey, and what are you hoping to accomplish through it?
We wanted to hear from marketers – CMA members and non-members – about their needs in professional development, advocacy, and community engagement. As we continue to navigate through economic uncertainty at home and abroad, it’s crucial that we are providing marketers with the tools, resources, and opportunities they need to contribute to their organization’s success.
Can you highlight the key findings from the survey?
The survey delved deeply into many areas. One thing we learned is that decision-makers place a higher value on professional development than their employees do. This is a gap that needs to be addressed. Marketing leaders should have conversations with their teams about the key role that professional development plays in business success and career growth.
Why has it become important for marketers to invest in their professional development?
In professions that face rapidly changing circumstances, such as marketing, professional development helps employees expand their knowledge and skill base to remain relevant and keep up with developments and trends.
What strategies should the market leaders adopt to be clear with their staff about the importance of continuous learning and building skills?
It’s important for leaders to be specific about which professional development options align with their employees’ career goals, strengths, and opportunities for growth. Leaders should include professional development in performance objectives, to incentivize marketers to make learning a priority. Finally, decision-makers should lead by example, demonstrating how their own continuous learning and professional development benefit them as individuals as well as their organizations.
What are your predictions about what’s going to happen in the world of marketing over the next five years?
Marketing is going to be increasingly more focused on 1:1 relationships, rather than targeting, with an elevated level of content creation, data literacy, and customer journey mapping required to respond to a stronger voice for the consumer. As we move away from third-party data mechanisms that many marketers have relied on for years, re-skilling and upskilling will be paramount. The acceleration of digital will continue, though perhaps not at the lightning speed we are experiencing today. Silos within organizations will break down further as companies and leaders become more agile, nimble, and responsive to their customer’s needs and expectations.