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We Can Do It? We DID Do It.

What do you think of when you hear the words “marketing mix?” Email, social media, content, data—any number of tactical channels that combine to create a marketing strategy?

While that’s one right answer—it’s not what got the 2014 Marketing Hall of Femme honorees into the chief marketer seats at their respective companies. Of course, they’re expert marketers who know what it takes to develop marketing strategies that yield measurable results. But they also understand that a true marketing mix isn’t complete without a little inspiration, personal dynamism, open-mindedness, and a lot of passion.

“Being an agile learner is especially important for marketing people right now,” says Kathy Button Bell, VP and CMO at Emerson Electric and 2014 Marketing Hall of Femme honoree. “We have an inherent ability to do that because we’re always communicating—communication is what we do.”

One might be forgiven in thinking that retaining a top seat in the C-suite is about control—but it’s actually about having the strength and self-confidence to relinquish control. 2014 honoree and Denny’s EVP and Chief Brand Officer Frances Allen knows that firsthand. By trusting her social media agency, Allen and her team hit content marketing pay dirt with a clever tweet after Auburn lost the College Bowl. The tweet, which lamented the loss with a cheeky plug for comfort food, was posted late in the evening by someone at the agency—and if Denny’s had more traditional, stringent rules of approval in place, the brand would have missed its chance to be highly relevant in the moment.

“Given the speed at which everything is changing, you’ve got to move fast yourself,” Allen says. “If you try to control the conversation and follow the classic approval guidelines we grew up with in the marketing world, it’s just not going to work anymore.”

Trust is also a vital ingredient internally.

“You’ve also got to hire great people and empower them to work their magic,” Allen says. “I have the most amazing team and they’re the ones who make this all happen.”

If you’re going to effect change, you’ve got to keep your ears and your eyes open, says 2014 Marketing Hall of Femme honoree Susan Cohig, SVP of integrated marketing at the National Hockey League. The voices of colleagues, business partners, and employees are just as important as the voice of the customer.

“To be successful in whatever you do, you need to learn all about it; it doesn’t matter what it is,” Cohig says. “If you’re working on hockey as I am, then you need to know how a team runs and you need to know how the business of sports and entertainment works. You also need know what’s happening from an operating perspective—from the perspective of a salesperson working on a sponsorship deal all the way to the perspective of an usher taking the tickets.”

That’s when you’ll see the kind of real results that come from dedication. Because the title is nice—but the title is not everything.

“People can be very focused on just getting to the next job and the next, but they don’t have a set of true accomplishments they’ve achieved along their path,” says Leilani M. Brown, CMO of Starr Companies and 2014 Marketing Hall of Femme honoree. “Take the job where you can own something end-to-end and say, ‘Yes, this is what I did and here is the proof.’”

Learn more about our honorees by downloading our free eBook, “18 Leaders Who Put the Femme in Phenomenal.”

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