The Beat: Skills

You might have technology and process, but have you got the skills?

Welcome to The Beat by Rockstar CMO. I’m Ian Truscott, a 3xCMO, trusted advisor, strategy consultant and Chief Bottle Washer at Rockstar CMO. In this newsletter, I’d like to share a mix of what’s caught my eye from our community, our podcast and our street knowledge blog.


Thanks again for opening this newsletter, and I hope you’ve had a good week. I’ve been having fun kicking off a new fractional CMO role, so I am just slightly behind with everything (normally, I send this on Sunday).

This week on the podcast, we shared something that my chum and resident Strategy Advisor, Jeff Clark, has been working on for a while: his rather excellent Marketing Operations Assessment.

Based on his decades of marketing operations leadership, it's a five-point program that pokes at every aspect of a large marketing team to give CMOs an independent handle on what’s going well and where the team needs a tune-up. (We do refer to Marketing Operations as “The Machine” around here).

His recent experience at Forrester and the clients he worked with have given him a great perspective on this stuff, and we discussed it quite a bit in planning the launch of this service (in conversations that were not all recorded for the podcast! 🙂)

During our conversations, I noticed it was significantly about people: assessing the team's skills and competencies, regardless of the marketing function or discipline. As a bit of a techie, I’d say - “But Jeff, do we need to broaden this to talk more about technology or processes?”

Well…. no, not entirely. These might be important, but I agree with his focus on people.

Aside from doing this marketing leadership thing, I spent years as a developer, vendor, analyst, big agency chap, and consultant on every side of the content management software category. One truth is a common thread through that experience: a mediocre software tool implemented well will always beat a great product implemented badly.

This holds true for any marketing tool, technique, or strategy, whether email marketing, Agile, digital, content marketing, or demand: Success lies in the people who implement it. So I definitely agree with Jeff.

Coincidently, this week Forrester dropped an episode of their “What it Means” podcast that includes an excellent discussion on skills and competencies. Wondering what the difference is?

Well, the way they define it:

Skills are really the atomized elements of a competency; a competency is what has business value; and people with competencies make up the capability.

This leads me to the title of this newsletter, “Skills,” which gave me an excuse to listen to some classic hip-hop from Gang Starr and their 2002 track “Skills.”

(For new subscribers, hello! I name each newsletter edition after a song).

Please take a look at the links below and get in touch if you suspect your marketing machine or the crew that looks after it needs a tune-up.

Enjoy your week,



Ian Truscott | Chief Bottle Washer Rockstar CMO

Street Knowledge

The good stuff from Rockstar CMO, our community and other stuff I’ve liked:

Get your Monday Marketing Mojo Working

Some classic chilled hip-hop from jazz-rap pioneers Gang Starr…. Skills!