To begin with a great marketing manager needs to be a great manager, and ideally a leader. This is true for most managers. A great marketing manager must have a style, approach and attitude consistent with the brand and culture of the organisation. This is also true of all managers.
And there are many other qualities marketing and other managers will have in common. There are also a number of qualities that are more likely to be unique to great marketing managers.
Nine of the more important of these qualities follow:
- A clear understanding of what marketing is.
- Marketing is a behavioural science. It is in essence the business of causing specified target audiences to do what you need them to do, in order to achieve your objectives.
- A clear understanding of what marketing is not.
- Marketing is not advertising. Advertising is a small subset of marketing. The other aspects including the product, service, customer engagement, price and distribution being more important, and all have the potential to reduce advertising costs.
- A clear understanding of what a brand is and what branding is.
- Your brand is what your target audiences say it is. Branding is the process of reducing the gap between what your brand should be and what it is. Branding drives sales, repeat business, referrals, margins, staff retention and staff performance.
- A commitment to the customer.
- The optimal brand, branding strategy and marketing strategy are developed by the organisation based on what is known about the target audience and how best to manage the behaviour of that audience. Customer focus is essential.
- A commitment to data.
- Marketing strategy has for far too long been based on intuition, perhaps supported by some research. Cost effective marketing involves, gathering all the hard data required to make decisions based in evidence rather than unreliable intuition.
- A commitment to the product.
- Zara, the world’s 5th largest and fashion brand, despite the business having no advertising budget. It is a highly profitable business because it focuses on offering a product (clothing and service) that meets and exceeds customer expectations.
- Strategic planning expertise.
- A strategic, as opposed to tactical, view of marketing and the capacity to develop a comprehensive strategy is essential for a great marketing manager. They also need to ability to source and the aptitude to use data in developing that strategy
- Data monitoring and analysis expertise.
- Marketing, brand and branding are becoming more and more about data. Any one can apply intuition – but it requires expertise to set aside intuition, gather and assess the data required to develop a 21st century strategy and fine tune that strategy over time
- Social and digital media expertise.
- The death of traditional advertising and communication is accelerating. A marketing manager addicted to traditional media will almost certainly fail to maximise return on investment. They need a strategic understanding social and digital media.