Now more than ever, all organizations are looking for the discipline of marketing, to help cure their organizational woes. With that said, excellence in marketing is more important than ever.

Thus, the great CMOs and top marketing professionals, in all types of organizations, are looked to for leadership and I believe they all share common character traits. As it is always easier to remember an odd number (in this case 9) items, you will find I have listed 9 characteristics of great marketing executives or CMOs below.

1. The highest degree of personal values, ethics and integrity. Superior ethics may not always win the marketing battle but most always win the marketing war.

2. Continual positive outlook and enthusiastic vision. This is a key separator between great, good and poor marketers.

3. Use of creativity to differentiate yourself from the competition. When products or services appear the same to the customer– creativity by the top marketing professional in approach and positioning makes all the difference.

4. Reliability, consistency and dependability. These three traits separate the average marketer from the superstar marketing professional. Enough said!

5. A sense of being "human" that builds brand loyalty. Being human and using humor makes your efforts and campaigns likable, and people like brands that make them warm and fuzzy.

6. Unyielding belief in your organization and yourself. Real winners KNOW there are no shortcuts and that they will "win" in end by doing the little things right.

7. Creative posturing that differentiates you in your market and makes you clearly known by all of your stakeholders. Superior positioning reduces competition– which is a great and value added bonus for doing your job well.

8. Passion to excel and to be the best at what you do. This is a personal characteristic that is evident to others. There is no sense in striving for second best. So… don't!

9. Push the envelope. The marketer who appreciates the past, is dedicated to the present AND pushes the envelope with a vision for the future is the one that will achieve success.

So, remember the discipline of marketing is more important than ever in 2010 and beyond… and it is the job of the top marketing executive, to exhibit the highest degree of excellence in all that s/he does. Have you seen such a great marketing executive in action? Does your organization have such a person driving your marketing initiatives?

If not, there is no better time that in the beginning of a new year to review this aspect of your organization.

Ryan Sauers is President of Sauers Consulting Strategies. He has a Masters degree in Organizational Leadership and is a Certified Meyers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).

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