This article came across my Inbox this week, posted on the Marketing Association blog. The reason I wanted to post and share about it is I get asked a particular question quite often:
What is your dream job?
That is the million dollar question, isn’t it?! I’ve often thought about what I would absolutely love to do every day for the rest of my life, and there are several factors that contribute to this. I would love to be hands-on with anything to do with digital marketing, but I would also love to be a senior manager and lead/mentor a small team to be the best that they can be.
Which is why this post, the 5 skills a marketing manager needs to master, is crucial for success in upper management.
1. Project Management
Mastering a management role is probably one of the hardest parts of being a Marketing Manager. You need to be an integral part of every marketing manager job you have. You also need to have a team who are reliable and who you can count on, so you have an overview of their day-to-day tasks to ensure everything they are doing lines up with the project brief you’ve been handed.
As well as internal relationships, you also need to manage the client. Ask yourself – what would I want to know if I was the client? If there are any issues, queries, anomalies or other potential pitfalls, you need to constantly be in contact with them to keep them updated as to how everything is going. If you go more than a few days without contact, especially if it is on a massive, technical brief, you could risk having an upset client.
2. Strategic thinking
As the Marketing Manager of any business, it is vital to be able to think about and approach problems with a completely unique perspective – this is the strategic viewpoint that you need to master. You need to be able to think about things a little bit differently to everyone else. After all, you are the senior manager!
When you’re making decisions, these can’t be done hastily or on short-term thinking, if you’re going into a meeting about the 5 or 10-year vision of the company. You need to understand how to manage the unique needs of every individual involved in the project. Will this help the client achieve their internal goals and deliver on budget?
How can you think about things in a way that will excite and motivate your team, so they – and your client – can succeed with this project? You need to be able to execute the strategy you have put forward – if you can’t, rethink it.
I love this quote I found by Albert Einstein:
We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.
3. Problem solving and critical thinking
No doubt your job will be riddled with issues and challenges – but it’s how you handle these and push forward that will really test you as the Marketing Manager. Remember this: your team will need you. Your clients will need you. And your direct manager (perhaps the CEO or Marketing Director) needs you to show results – and more often than not, the needs of these people will clash and you’ll need to find an answer for them all, while keeping them happy with the direction of the project.
To achieve this, you must have strong decision-making skills and the conviction to stand by that decision. Don’t ever sweep issues under the rug – it will come back to bite you if you do.
4. Technical and analytical skills
I know from many years of experience working with SEO and CMS systems that I have more of a technical and analytical mind that a creative mind. I am much happier working behind the scenes and with HTML than designing outstanding creative. This goes for Marketing Managers too – they have an analytical mind and are capable of understanding and sorting through the incredible amounts of data available today. But all this goes far beyond simply knowing how data can affect things like consumer behaviour and segmentation – this is what will lead to far more effective marketing strategies for your clients.
As well as this, Marketing Managers needs to be savvy when it comes to technology – this will greatly influence a marketer’s role. This means you constantly need to be aware of new tools, apps, widgets, programmes and software that can help you build and sustain client relationships and to deliver effective information and services.
5. Interpersonal Communication
I did a paper on Interpersonal Communication while I was studying at AUT and I found in fascinating how you’re able to hone in and develop your communication skills. This is key to being a Marketing Manager – how you listen to, embrace, understand, empathise and respond to your team, your bosses and your clients.
You must become an expert communicator on both an internal and external level: this will be tested on a regular basis! But it is your job to make communication is open, honest and operating at all times, for the benefit of everyone involved.