How (and Why) Marketers Should Develop Leadership Skills with Gene Petrov @GenePetrovLMC #vcbuzz

How (and Why) Marketers Should Develop Leadership Skills with Gene Petrov @GenePetrovLMC #vcbuzzBecoming a good marketer means becoming a good leader. Luckily, you don’t have to be born a marketer or a leader. You can (and should) learn both.

Let’s discuss why and how becoming a good leader will help you become a successful marketer.

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About @GenePetrovLMC

@GenePetrovLMC is a leadership coach to marketers with 20 years of leadership experience.

Gene helps marketers develop their people skills to become great leaders.

Read more about @GenePetrovLMC here.

Questions we discussed

Q1 How did you become a digital marketer? Please share your career story!

I describe myself as an accidental marketer. I took one marketing course in college as part of my general ed requirements. Otherwise, I didn’t have much experience. I actually had a negative opinion of marketing due to pushy & slimy tactics I had seen over the years.

When I began my business, I knew I needed to invest in marketing to grow awareness. I didn’t know exactly what that would look like.

I saw social media as a vital component but I had a lot to learn there. I basically had Facebook to stay connected with family and friends. But I never used social media for a business purpose.

So I’ve become an evangelist for community on social media. My favorite way to be engaged in community building and nurturing is right here on Twitter through chats. When I started becoming a regular on the chats, I started to become part of a beautiful community.

Q2 Why do marketers need leadership coaching? Why should a marketer know how to become a good leader?

I see a lot of overlap between what it takes to be an effective marketer and an effective leader. Both require great people skills (or soft skills). Going back to the first question, good marketer-leaders are needed for creating and nurturing communities.

This is the path forward for brands. Especially in a noisy world. It’s the brands that serve well that will create a genuine emotional connection. That connection and community make it easy for the community members to share their love of the community with others.

Leadership and servant leadership are vital for community. engaging in conversation, asking and answering questions, generously serving the community’s needs, creating special memories and experiences, and connecting the community members to each other – are leaders.

Leadership is never a one and done type of situation. Leadership is always evolving. As we learn more about the subject, we realize how little we actually know. For instance, a lot of leadership has to do with psychology and neuroscience.

I could definitely see this! Patience is vital Mom always said it was a virtue I see it necessary as a leader (and personally as a parent).

Great marketers are great leaders. Great leaders are great learners. But only so much can be learned from a book, podcast, or webinar. A coach can work one on one to unveil blind spots. Leadership is a great way to differentiate ourselves.

Q3 How did social media transform the concept of leadership?

Social media brought leadership much closer to home. It’s not just for the C Suite. We talk a lot about how social media democratizes our world. People who once had no voice or a very small voice were given the opportunity to share their thoughts, opinions, & stories.

This has been both good and bad. Some people have abused it and made social media a very negative experience (hate, trolls, lies, bullying, etc.).

But the flip side is that so many people have used social media for positive change in the world. People have become leaders for all kinds of causes. They have advanced a cause that would otherwise be invisible to most people.

Whether that is refugees, women’s rights, rare diseases, clean water or orphans and foster kids (a cause near and dear to my heart), we see leadership where there wasn’t any 10-15 years ago. How cool is that?

Ultimately, social media plays an integral role in leadership. We have a choice of where that leadership takes people.

Personally, I want to lead people to a place of positivity, encouragement, support, and love. Not because I don’t understand that negative things happen in this world, but because I choose to inspire and bring hope.

Leadership is not about the follower size but the depth of connection and inspiring people to action. And serving people. Don’t let the stats be the be all and end all.

Right. Some people have a unique background that might make them more pre-disposed but without any training it will not amount to that much.

Q4 Can one become a good leader or is it given? Where should one start?

Good leadership comes from learning, practice, and experience over time. Leadership is not something handed to people at birth. It’s not a question of genetics.

Some people develop an interest earlier in life depending upon their unique circumstances. Some people develop an interest later in life. Whatever the scenario, leadership can be learned and improved.

But it starts from a heart of actually wanting to be a leader. I’m solidly in the camp that leadership should not be forced. Is it possible to be thrust into a leadership position and still be successful? Sure. But it’s not optimal or sustainable for the long term.

It’s important for the developing leader to find small ways at the beginning to practice their craft. This idea of leading without a title is important.

We don’t need permission to lead. If we have knowledge, expertise, and background we can be a leadership resource. We simply have to be willing to share. As we demonstrate and practice leadership, more opportunities will arise.

Q5 What are your favorite leadership resources, books and mentors?

So many to mention that I know I will forget some. I tell people that being an avid reader has been an advantage for me. I read lots of books from business to personal growth to psychology to entrepreneurship.

I listen to audiobooks and podcasts. I watch some video (but not a lot because I read much faster) and webinars/online training. It’s part of a lifestyle of learning. But here is a partial list (in no particular order):

  • John Maxwell
  • Stephen Covey
  • Jim Collins
  • Simon Sinek
  • Seth Godin
  • Zig Ziglar
  • Brene Brown

Our previous leadership chats:


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