Career development: Moving to a new sector

Grant Duncan and Jonathan Harper
Spencer Stuart

Many businesses are looking outside their own industries for marketing talent. This is an excellent opportunity for marketers to swap sectors and broaden their careers. But it is not easy. This extract from a report by Grant Duncan and Jonathan Harper looks at the challenges facing the transitioning marketer.


Early in 2011, together with colleagues from the global Spencer Stuart Marketing Officer Practice, we interviewed 39 CMOs and a few senior hiring managers from around the world to hear their first-hand experience of making the transition to a new sector. We found that CMOs have multiple reasons for changing sectors, including the desire for personal development, the opportunity to take up a new challenge, and the drive to make a difference. CMOs who have been through the experience report that their understanding of the marketing function and what it is capable of has been amplified by working in a new sector.