Want to be a CMO? Study up on the basics!
Want to be a CMO? Study up on the basics!

Check out these lessons learned from marketing pros in the franchise industry.

Reaching the pinnacle of your industry can mean a lot of different things, but to many marketing professionals, it’s becoming a CMO or director of marketing.

Working for a large brand, you’re not only responsible for the marketing vision of the company, but also for overseeing employees and vendors across marketing, advertising, public relations, graphic design and more.

I spoke with Honest-1 Auto Care Director of Marketing Rick Sage to find out what it takes to reach a high-level marketing position in today’s competitive market.

Sage didn’t always envision ending up in a senior marketing position when he began his career, but he always saw himself in a leadership role. He studied business at UMass and through the university’s BDIC (Bachelor’s Degree with Individual Concentration) program he focused his education on entrepreneurship and franchising.

After college, Sage held a position with Minutemen Press, a printing franchise where he gained experience in direct mail marketing and found that he loved helping entrepreneurs promote their businesses. He took a position with Russell Hockey Enterprises in Canada, where his performance led to a promotion to director of marketing.

Sage wanted to move back to the U.S. and came across the position with Honest-1 Auto Care. Although he didn’t have a background in the automotive industry, Honest-1’s customer-centric business model was something he knew he could apply his skills to. He became the brand’s director of marketing in October 2012.

He attributes his success to a few important lessons he’s learned throughout his career:

Be flexible
Marketing and advertising are constantly evolving, especially technologically. It’s important for any marketing professional to not get locked into one particular method. Open yourself up to new ideas and adapt to industry evolution.

Never stop learning
Even if you’ve landed your dream position, you have to keep educating yourself on your field. Marketing is always changing and a failure to continue learning will put other people ahead of you.

Listen to people
Franchisees know their local market and business needs, so Rick makes sure to listen to their ideas and issues to work with them to create a marketing plan that fits.

The most important lesson of all, however, might just be perseverance. According to Sage, the best career advice he’s ever gotten is: “Go after what you want. Whether it’s sales, marketing, operations or something else, figure out what you want and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it.”