5 skills a Marketing Manager needs to master

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.

Need some tips to improve your Social Media marketing strategy?

Following up from my previous post, I wanted to do another article on Social Media Marketing and how you can improve your strategy. So when this blog post landed in my Inbox, it was the perfect opportunity to share it around.

The team at GetAmbassador.com have come up with 10 easy Social Media marketing tips to consider when creating your strategy. Here we go!

1) Have a plan!
This should go without saying, but the first rule of creating a Social Media strategy is to have a plan of attack. The plan should have measurable goals that can be analysed once complete to determine whether the plan was executed successfully. Just because it’s ‘social’ doesn’t mean it’s any different to any other marketing initiative. Set yourself specific objectives that can be tracked.

2) Produce valuable content
The customers who view your Facebook business page have particular needs, so the most effective way to keep them coming back is to provide content that addresses those needs. That’s also the best way to encourage social sharing, which will ultimately increase your following and have a greater impact on your business. The more content your produce, the more your customers will take it in and keep coming back.

3) Keep your brand identity consistent
To ensure your customers come to know and trust your brand, you must provide them with the same experience however they interact with you. Whether it’s through social media, via the contact centre on in-store, your message and tone should be consistent across the board. There is nothing more satisfying that hearing a customer say they know your brand and want to engage with you on a personal level.

4) K.I.S.S. – Keep It Super Simple
Just because your competitors are on every social network available, doesn’t mean you have to be! The key to a successful social media marketing strategy is to determine which channels will provide the best access to your target audience and focusing your efforts there. There is no point in having a blog linked to your Facebook or Twitter pages if you’re not going to consistently populate it with relevant content.

5) Quality over quantity
Every business on social media would love to have millions of fans and followers, but this can’t be all you aim for. Social media marketing is only valuable if it helps grow your business. If you have a huge following but those people haven’t been converted to customers or refer your brand to others, it’s not as good as having a smaller group of highly targeted individuals. Make sure you identify your key target audience and keep them engaged with your content.

6) Produce different types of content
My previous post spoke on this very point, that Facebook posts with images have a much higher rate of engagement than text alone. Plus, if you’re into creating video content on new products, almost 3/4 of customers are more likely to visit your website if they watch it. You can’t simply write blog posts and link them to all your social networks – this won’t get you very far and you could lose a lot of customers.

7) Engage with your followers!
This one might also seem a bit obvious, but you would be surprised how many business make the mistake of neglecting the social aspect of Social Media Marketing. You need to engage with your customers and prospects on a personal level – but not just to market your products. Actively engaging with your fans and followers rather than focusing on marketing to them will help them gain your trust and see you as the go-to brand for their needs. Start a discussion, or put up a tweet with an open-ended question so customers can converse with you. Show customers the personality behind your brand.

8) Make it easy to connect
To be successful, you need fans and followers – that’s a given. But you need to make it easy for them to connect with you. Why not include social buttons to all your networks on every page of your website (usually in the footer), so customers can easily join and follow you. You should also include a sign-up link in your email marketing and blog.

9) Tackle negative comments head-on
It’s becoming more and more common for customers these days to take to social media to voice their opinions and share bad experiences they’ve had with a brand. But you should never ignore or delete these negative comments. Make sure you’re responding to them in a timely and positive manner and more often than not, you will get the customer who posted a negative comment turn about face and say something extremely positive.

From experience, it is absolutely crucial that you respond to every negative comment within at least 24 hours, so the customer knows you’re not just forgetting about them. If you let them know you’re looking into why they had a bad experience, they will be happy someone is taking the time to listen and help them out. Sometimes things can spiral out of control on social media, because it is such a public forum. If you need to, take it offline, but post the positive result at the end so everyone else can see the issue was resolved.

10) Measure your results
You need to check your social media marketing results from time to time to identify what’s working and what isn’t. Unfortunately this is not a simple ‘set and forget’ type business – you could end up wasting money and not reaching as many customers as you should. Work out a list of objectives to achieve and a schedule of content – if you stick to your schedule and review your performance against your objectives, you will ensure that your networks will continue to grow.

Social Media can be the main source for learning about new brands, products and services and is undoubtedly one of the most powerful marketing tools for businesses today. These 10 tips are just a snapshot of things you could do to help you reach a higher rate of success and growing your business through social media marketing.