The Unlikely Place to Look for Marketing Leaders

Rich Campagna

VP, Products & Marketing


Marketing is an incredibly broad, rapidly evolving discipline. Today’s marketing leaders must simultaneously be creative and quantitative, handling everything from visual brand identity to funnel analysis, and everything in between. Such polymaths are as rare as a quadruple rainbow. So, where then to find our next batch of marketing talent? In the most unlikely of places – the Product team.

Historical Relative Importance of Key Marketing Functions
Historical Relative Importance of Key Marketing Functions

Do a LinkedIn search for “Chief Marketing Officer,” and you’ll likely see a lot of people with Corporate Marketing backgrounds.

Current Relative Importance of Key Marketing Functions

This stems from the fact that historically, Corporate Marketing has had high importance relative to other primary marketing functions like Product Marketing and Demand Generation.

More recently, with the rise of sophisticated marketing automation tools, trackable programs and metrics, and content-driven, inbound marketing, the Product Marketing and Demand Generation functions have increased in importance relative to Corporate Marketing.

These functions demand a different set of skills – skills the Don Drapers of the world are hard pressed to develop.

Who are our future marketing leaders? 

So what about the other two functions on the chart? Demand Generation professionals have a very strong quantitative background, and are the critical link between our marketing activities and revenue. But do they have the breadth to take on a broad leadership role? Many lack the product and market experience to develop a strong story, and have had little involvement in the creative aspects of the company.

That leaves Product Marketing, maybe even *gasp* Product Management. In today’s cloud-driven startup world, brand identity and product are inseparable – a fact that I live and breathe every day overseeing Products and Marketing. The rise of growth hacking techniques have made this critical linkage, which has given today’s product professional exposure to a range of Corporate Marketing and Demand Gen functions. Product people have in-depth knowledge of the product and market, and typically, the quantitative chops to quickly become fluent in demand gen and the new world of data-driven marketing.

Don’t get me wrong, the ability to create a strong brand identity and a compelling story are still critically important, but it’s time to start looking beyond the traditional teams for the next generation of marketing leadership. Could the Product team be the answer?

Rich Campagna drives product management and marketing strategy for Bitglass. Prior to joining Bitglass, Rich was senior director of product management at F5 Networks, responsible for access security, and at Juniper Networks, where he was responsible for SSL VPN, NAC, and mobile security product management and marketing. Follow Rich on Twitter or LinkedIn.


B2B marketing, data-driven marketing, product management, product marketing

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