For Marketing Managers: What does it take to succeed?
By Philip Mazloumian
Firstly, is there still career opportunities in the marketing field nowadays?
Maybe you're a marketing veteran, or possibly you are just starting to enter the field; either way, the outlook for growth in the marketing sector actually looks pretty good. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics, the demand for marketing managers will outpace that of all other professions over the next decade.
As a Marketing Manager, where should you focus your time to safeguard your long term prospects?
Marketing is a large profession with many sub-categories of specialization, and if a report by McKinley Marketing Partners is to believed, you're better off specializing in Digital Marketing if you want to protect / expand your career prospects (I'm sure this is not that big of a surprise to most of you). But it is nice to know that some 56% of the employers that took part in the survey were looking to hire marketing managers with digital expertise specifically.
I can personally vouch for this as I have been in the marketing field for a little more than 10 years, and in that time, I have had the ability to work on both sides of the agency / marketing (client facing) fence. And what an interesting 10 years it has been given the incredible impact digital has had on the field of marketing and sales (so much so it was the catalyst for the creation of our digital marketing agency React back in 2015).
But, what do you need to do in order to succeed as a Marketing Manager in a digital world?
I work with many business owners and marketing managers alike on a daily basis, and sometimes I do feel that they have become so lost in trying to keep up with the advances of digital marketing that they are overlooking the bare essentials that can lead to their success. I would stress going back to where it all begins and focusing first on what matters most, the customer, or to be more specific, your target audience.
Developing Buyer Personas (also known as Marketing Personas) is the foundation to your success
Modern humans leave a significant trail online (as the recent Facebook scandal demonstrated spectacularly). As a marketing manager, the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns comes down to why and how your prospects / customers use the online space to add value to their lives. You can create amazing opportunities for yourself to promote your brands, products and services by detailing this process and it is for this reason that companies and agencies around the world invest substantial resources to create their buyer personas. Hubspot has an excellent resource on how to create detailed buyer personas for your business which is well worth a read.
Digital marketing is huge, how do you know which tactics are right for your brand?
Firstly, you need to map out your customer's journey, this will help you determine the process by which your prospects go about using the online space to solve their problems and achieve their goals. It is this process that dictates what digital tactics are relevant for the promotion of your business.
Ask yourself, how will you measure success and more importantly, how will your management measure your success!
We see many marketing managers approach digital marketing with somewhat of a guarded approach mainly because it can be a little overwhelming to grasp. However, the opportunity it provides to enhance your career growth is incredible. Marketing managers have the means to prove returns on investment like never before due to the inter-connectivity of their buyer persona's online space and the tools now available to record the movement and interactions of their target audience.
If you refer back to the completed map of your customer's journey, you will notice there are key touch points along their journey whereby you can actually measure the flow of traffic through that point. For example, if you were to setup FacebookandLinkedInadverts to funnel traffic to your website, you can useGoogle Analytics to measure that traffic and hence determine the effectiveness of your social advertising budget.
This flow of website traffic is essentially a 'key-performance-indicator' (KPI) of which you can measure and compare its performance on a daily, monthly or campaign basis. You wouldn't stop with one KPI however; effectively, you need to establish the KPI funnel of which every business is unique.
The trick here is to identify the KPIs that are relevant for the promotion of your brands, products and services. When your KPI funnel has been created, take this information to your management, explain the logic behind the process, and on a monthly basis, share the growth of these KPIs.
Ideally you should agree on SMART Goals with your management (as well as with your colleagues over in the sales department). This will help both parties understand the value that your marketing initiatives are bringing to the business and allow you to calculate returns-on-investment (ROI) of your marketing expenditure. It also gives you a leg to stand on when it comes time for your annual performance review!
What more can you do to achieve marketing success?
To end this article, I would suggest you create some personal KPIs around self-learning and education and challenge yourself to undertake a digital course per quarter. There really is no better way to improve your knowledge within the digital space and I have shared a few excellent courses in the links below: