Mind the Gap

By Charles Besondy

The famous recorded message (“mind the gap”) one hears before de-boarding or boarding a train in London’s Tube is actually darn good advice for any company. Just like the message warns passengers to be careful of the dangerous gap between the train and platform, I’m warning companies to be mindful of gaps in their marketing resources.

The gaps I’m referring to are formed during periods of transition when the human resources in product marketing, strategic marketing, marketing communications, channel marketing, etc. are inadequate in terms of head count, experience, or skills.

This inadequacy or void sucks momentum out of the organization and invariably leads to missed goals, overly stressed employees, and a decline of morale.

Here are six situations where dangerous gaps frequently appear in which interim management is ideally suited to step in and maintain momentum and focus.

  1. Early-Stage Start-Up. Any start-up, particularly a high-tech start up, needs seasoned marketing talent in the early days to drive marketing requirements, conduct research, develop a positioning strategy, analyze competition, etc. The early stage company working on Series-A funding is seldom in a financial position to attract a full-time CMO, or to lure one away from an established company. An interim executive is an ideal solution.
  2. Maternity/Paternity Leave. A 2-3 month maternity leave can cause havoc in a marketing organization that is already thinly staffed. Fill the gap with an interim manager.
  3. Leave of Absence. Whether it be for a sabbatical or medical leave of absence, the vacancy is always a challenge for the organization to manage.
  4. Unexpected Termination. When a key manager is terminated or resigns unexpectedly the company has to scramble to either reorganize or fill the position. While the recruitment process is underway why not bring an interim manager in to keep the ball moving up the field?
  5. Temporary Workload Increase. Product launches or major initiatives can pull resources away from important day-to-day business. An interim manager can run the day-to-day activities, or assist with the special project. Either way, momentum is maintained.
  6. Waiting for Godot. We’ve all seen it. The company has created a spec for a key marketing role, but recruitment is taking forever as the hunt for the perfect candidate runs its course. An interim manager can step in and, even if not perfectly suited for the job, handle many of the duties. This keeps the company moving forward and reduces the pain associated with a lengthy recruitment period.

Mind your gaps. Look to interim management within the marketing function to keep your organization on the fast track.

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