Marketing Challenge: Fighting Ill-Fitting Favoritism

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(Image by Mark Matcho)
(Image by Mark Matcho)

As CMO of Hanover Manufacturing, Shayla Summers oversees all marketing strategy and execution. Having direct reports she can count on completely is vital to her success—and the company's. Her crack team includes digital, email, and event experts, among others. She also has analysts on her team, but they report to functional area leaders.

Well aware of the growing importance of customer data and data-based decision making, Summers decided to round out her leadership team with an expert marketing scientist—to whom all the analysts will report—to complete her powerhouse data and analytics team.

With full approval for the position from Founder and CEO Sutton Hanover, Summers launched a search to fill the slot. Over the ensuing weeks she narrowed the field to three candidates.

Then came the call. Hanover explained to Summers that his son—who recently completed a master's degree in marketing and communications—expressed interest in the job, so the CEO asked Summers to talk to his son about the position. She did and he wasn't a good fit. He lacked the necessary experience and analytics background, the leadership skills, and the team attitude the position required.

Summers delicately explained this to Hanover, but he balked. He instructed Summers to draft a plan for coaching his son to help get the training and experience he needed to succeed in the VP of marketing analytics role. Concerned that Hanover's son would ruin her team's dynamic—and its ability to succeed and grow as planned—she debated what to do.

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