The traits of a successful marketing manager
A great marketing manager can be the difference between success and failure, or growth and stagnation.
We’ve seen a few marketing managers here at Marketing Eye. The thing about them is that they never stay too long in one place. It’s a transient industry, so they come and go. That’s just the reality of an agency environment. However, you do what you can to hold on to the best ones, because a great marketing manager knows their marketing stuff.
They are strong tactically. They can apply those tactics to real world situations. They are super organised. They understand analytics and they have attitude.
That is what I look for in a superior marketing manager. And they are the ones I keep for as long as I can.
So let’s break down some of these traits.
1. Tactical prowess
The best marketers have tactical skills that could put Vince Lombardi (NFL) or Kevin Sheedy (AFL) to shame. I’d love to see a marketing tactician coach a football team, I’m certain it would be something to behold. If you are a tactician, you know how to analyse, treat clients and use social media to its best effect.
A great tactician is a strategic thinker, a pioneer. They are blazing new trails in marketing. They know whose problems they are solving and they understand what problems exist. As the Harvard Business Review notes: “Strategic leaders take a broad, long-range approach to problem-solving and decision-making that involves objective analysis, thinking ahead, and planning. That means being able to think in multiple time frames, identifying what they are trying to accomplish over time and what has to happen now, in six months, in a year, in three years, to get there. It also means thinking systemically. That is, identifying the impact of their decisions on various segments of the organization—including internal departments, personnel, suppliers and customers.
2. The art of being organized
The super organized know there is a place for everything. They know the tasks that must be completed on a daily, weekly, monthly and often annual basis. They write things down, process their ideas and then diarise them. They have one inbox and processes to manage that inbox. There is clarity to the correspondence that comes in therefore there is clarity to the correspondence going out. The super organized marketing manager has a system for everything and that includes client and staff management.
The great thing is that by being organized your work performance improves, you have more energy because there is less clutter (physically and mentally) and most importantly you are in control. Your clients feel safer when you show them how much control you have. So I look for organization in a marketing manager, because the organized marketer is the one who will best look after clients and the portfolio of work that comes in daily to the office.
3. Understand analytics
If you don’t understand analytics, then you are either at the start of your marketing career or need to get with the times. There’s a great article from Forbes about mastering analytics. I suggest you read it. I would also hazard a guess that the topline marketing manager has also read it, or read something like it. In short the successful marketing manager knows what data is useful and what is not. They know when to institute analytics on a client’s behalf. They know how to coordinate and utilise data to best suit a client’s situation. They know how to use analytics to make real time changes. And finally, they formulate real time knowledge.
4. Social media sensibility
There are right ways and wrong ways to utilise social media, but the best social media managers do more than just drive engagement. They are content creators and curators. They are social media data analysts and experimenters. They are news junkies who know what everyone is saying and what the key messages from those discussions are. They are a public relations manager, a customer service representative and a community facilitator. Social media is more than posting on Facebook or LinkedIn, it is about having your fingers in pies and on pulses. It is not just about driving engagement and building relationships, but also starting the discussion that changes a mindset.
5. Attitude equals altitude
The right attitude can elevate a marketing manager to heights unheard of and they bring that attitude to the entire team. That is why top marketing managers are invaluable. They raise the quality of work for everyone in the organisation. As Winston Churchill once said, “Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.”
These are the traits I want to see in my marketing managers. They are the traits and skills that set the good apart from the best. But to make it in this very competitive environment they are critical to industry success.