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121: Kim Whitler believes marketers can provide a critical counterbalance on a company’s board

This week on “Marketing Today,” we revisit one of our earlier episodes. In it, Alan talks with Kim Whitler, an assistant professor in the marketing department at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. Prior to joining the world of academia, Whitler was head of marketing strategy at PetSmart and served as CMO for both Beazer Homes and David’s Bridal. She’s also written for Forbes on issues facing C-level marketing leaders today.

During the course of their discussion, they talk at length about research Whitler was conducting at the time, the results of which were recently published in the Journal of Marketing in an article titled, “When and How Board Members with Marketing Experience Facilitate Firm Growth.” They also touched on how it’s critical for a CMO to not only understand how their competencies should dovetail with their role, but also what their organization’s expectations are for them. And lastly, she made this comment on what marketing means for companies seeking to grow: “In a world where growth is more challenged, marketing becomes more important. Because marketers are the engine for growth in the company.”

Highlights from this week’s “Marketing Today” podcast include:

  • What is marketing performance and how do you measure it? (2:12)
  • Whitler discusses the impact marketers have at the board level. (4:06)
  • Historically, marketers have been underrepresented on boards. (6:29)
  • Whitler gives her take on how a CMO’s competencies should sync with their role. (9:51)
  • On building a team: Whitler observes that some people’s work ethic doesn’t match their aspirations and expectations. (18:52)
  • Whitler comments on where marketing is headed and what the CMO of the future will look like. (24:32)
  • Whitler is fascinated with turnaround brands. (30:42)