Two months ago, I took on a new role as US marketing director at a global company with an HQ in Europe. Each center has its own CEO but works together on executive alignment and intracompany billing.
The US business is expanding its brand into the North America, so I was hired by this center’s CEO and VP of Sales to own everything from US digital marketing strategy, events, and creative vision with my own annual budget - separate from corporate marketing. We’re essentially the marketing experiment to try new things and test our way into a better user experience at the corporate level. It’s been fantastic and I have solid support from my local colleagues. But now I’m being pulled in two directions and need some advice from anyone who can relate to this situation.
Since I’m in marketing, I’ve met with the full (albeit very small) marketing team through daily stand ups each morning and have gotten to know the CMO well. So fast forward to Thursday, the US hosted an international sales call where I was introduced to the team. My boss, the CEO, doesn’t like our very outdated brand style for the US market and has been vocal about it (corporate marketing is extremely slow to evolve it even slightly). So, he got the go ahead from the CSO to experiment with our own designs in the US market and see what is received best based on the flow of sales presentations. I’ve been gradually modifying it based on internal feedback and used a modified design of our “approved” deck to present on what I’ve been working on for US marketing on an international sales call. The CMO flipped out on my boss for using a deck (for internal use) with changes that weren’t approved by him - in front of everyone on the call.
The next morning, the CMO ripped me apart on Slack with rapid fire messages for my boss not ‘respecting the brand’ and pointed out that I should be telling them why branding is important. I mentioned I was working with a freelance designer on a couple of specific projects, and why did I not submit my design requests through corporate for them to work with their resource and come back to me. Beyond that, I’m having separate calls with our agency on US digital marketing tactics to improve our market share where it’s HIGHLY competitive, and I had invited the CMO as “optional” (prior to all of this) to be courteous and keep him in the loop. However after our first meeting yesterday, I feel like I’m walking on eggshells with him on this call. He focuses far less on numbers and strategy and much more on the poor branding being exactly how he thinks it should be.
I’m in a really awkward place of company politics now. On one hand, I report to someone I respect who’s telling me to work independently of corporate marketing. Then, I have the CMO and his right hand woman who are incredibly stifling, but technically I do not report to them. I feel it’s been left up to me to defuse this situation and I want to stand my ground, but also want to keep a good working relationship with the CMO. Has anybody been in a situation like this? Or have experience on how to handle it?
I would greatly appreciate any advice!
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My manager does not listen.
she will jump in and take the conversation in the wrong direction and provide wrong information.
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