What Makes a Great Head of Marketing?

Here at membershipbespoke, we work with membership organisations, chartered institutes and trade associations from many sectors. Often, our task involves finding the leadership expertise that will guide these groups towards their business goals.  

While making the right hiring decision with any candidate can be challenging, selecting people to fill your senior roles comes with added pressure. After all, these are the individuals that will lead and motivate your teams.  

To help you make the right decisions, we’ll be creating a series of articles examining senior roles within membership bodies, and which characteristics you can look for in each candidate.  

Today, we’re focusing on the head of marketing, one of the essential roles in any membership organisation. These individuals develop an in-depth knowledge of your customer base and devise strategies to reach your target audience. So, what qualities does your head of marketing need? 

1. Ownership



For high performing teams to thrive, every individual must “own” something. In other words, they need to take responsibility for their role within the organisation, and how it supports the goals of the business.  

As a leader in your organisation, a head of marketing takes responsibility for the outcomes of your promotional efforts.  

You may want to drive awareness for your membership body. This means that the people within your marketing team will implement strategies like inbound marketing, social media marketing, and content production to attract online traffic. Everyone within that group would take ownership of specific marketing metrics, while the head of marketing is accountable for ensuring that everything gets done. This would include: 

  • Setting the strategic direction of marketing within the organisation.  
  • Researching the target audience of your membership body or trade organisation, and implementing new, targeted strategies.
  • Making sure everyone in the team is aligned towards the same clear goals (i.e., brand awareness, increased subscriptions or improved customer engagement).
  • Tracking the performance of each team member and measuring marketing KPIs.  

It also means taking responsibility for their mistakes and learning from poor results. If something doesn’t go according to plan, your head of marketing won’t blame others; they’ll embrace the opportunity to learn.  


2. Teamwork and Communication

Marketing heads don’t work in a silo; they rely on their teams to collaborate with colleagues across functional groups to accomplish the goals of your membership body.  

Successful leaders know what it takes to empower their employees and help them achieve their best work. To some extent, this means knowing how to assign tasks and delegate the right projects to people with the appropriate skills. However, it also means knowing how to communicate with a team and create a fun, healthy and productive company culture.  



The best heads of marketing can explain targets and ideas to the rest of their team and motivate them towards achieving universal goals. They’re:  

  • Excellent at written and verbal communication.  
  • Adept at creating cohesion between different personalities and skillsets.
  • Capable of pushing employees when necessary, without creating workplace overwhelm or excessive stress.
  • Highly organised in planning marketing projects and conveying instructions.  


Effective heads of marketing have a great attitude and inspire those around them while ensuring that staff feel comfortable working with or approaching them for assistance when needed.   


3. Thinking Ahead and Customer Centricity

Many modern membership organisations are facing a period of digital transformation and growth. As trends in the marketing space continue to change, a head of marketing must be able to predict member preferences and adapt accordingly.  

Effective marketing takes time and a keen understanding of your target audience. It requires an ability to consider and predict the trends of the current digital landscape and create new and improved ways to make your membership body stand out 

Marketing heads don’t just consider the needs of the business, they also champion the voice of the customer, and make sure the rest of their colleagues understand what they need to do to access as many subscriptions and loyal members as possible.  

As they implement new ideas into marketing campaigns, a head of marketing will monitor and measure the results of their strategies and present them in a way that communicates facts and keep their team motivated.  


4. Resourcefulness



Finally, building and executing a marketing strategy takes insider knowledge and resourcefulness. A fantastic head of marketing will already have years of experience to draw upon when it comes to shaping your membership organisation’s promotional strategy. Most marketing heads have: 

  • Multiple years of experience
  • Proven success in lead generation   
  • A background working with similar teams and projects 


However, the best leaders don’t rest on the skill sets they’ve already built. A standout head of marketing will have dedicated themselves towards developing their talents and staying on top of the changes in the industry.  

In a space as agile as marketing, employees in leadership roles need to be the first to embrace new concepts as they emerge into the industry and lead their colleagues through the change required to embrace new strategies and technologies. This might mean keeping track of the latest Google algorithms, attending marketing conferences or training events to keep their knowledge up to date,
as well as listening to leading industry podcasts and webinars.  

Being resourceful as a head of marketing means both drawing on past knowledge and pursuing new skills according to the needs of each project and the demands of the market they are working in.

Look out for other articles in our senior leadership role series. 





About Us 

The membershipbespoke group remains the only specialist recruitment organisation in the UK, which offers a dedicated service tailored to the needs of Trade Associations, Unions, Professional and Regulatory Bodies. 


We use our considerable expertise in successfully recruiting for positions across every department within a membership context. To find out more call us on 0203 4403653 or email us here. 

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