How to Level Up to Marketing Manager
Ah... I'm stoked that you are eyeing that marketing manager position?
If I were you, the first thing I would do is take a quick snapshot of where you are now. Whether you are in an entry-level marketing position, a student, or looking at the marketing department and seeing greener pastures you can't measure the gap between where you are now and those marketing manager job descriptions you are seeing all over LinkedIn without an accurate starting point.
To take a snapshot, start with what your current responsibilities are. Assess your quality of work against the job description that you currently have. Then, I'd suggest you try to assess your work as if you were your manager. What would they say? Is there a difference? Why? Try asking for feedback from some of your co-workers? Maybe even give them your own personal assessment and see if they agree with it. Let them know that you aren't just fishing for compliments.
Make You Managers Job Easier
First, you have to own your own shit. What is assigned to you? Are you getting your work done? If your manager asks you to do something, how confident can they be that you get it done? This is a really big one for me. As a manager, if I can't trust that someone executes when I ask something of them then it's still my problem. I am still weighted with the burden of that task.
After you have your shit under control you can start getting to know your boss's goals. Maybe you find out that your boss is responsible for one specific metric. Let's say your manager owns the return on ad spend metric (ROAS) for your organization. Ask your manager what you are responsible for that directly affects ROAS. Then optimize your work to improve that metric. You'll find that all of the sudden you both start speaking the same language.
Generate Measurable Results
Now that you are getting a better sense of how your efforts closely align with your managers you can start refining the way you communicate your work to your manager. The more you feed them useful information the better the feedback and buy in they will have on the projects you work on.
Start practicing communicating with data. Periodically send super short updates with interesting findings. Maybe, you discovered an outlier landing page that has a high conversion rate. Maybe, you found that more target accounts interacted with social posts when they mention a specific feature. Then start refining how you report back to your manager. This is a big deal to me so I'm going to take a big breath and pause
There aren't enough people that can create an easy-to-consume report that tells a succinct story. Now, even fewer can take that report and create a short action list. Practice this. Practice creating these reports. Practice presenting these reports, and practice interpreting and giving your advice. Through experience, you will learn the best levers to pull to affect the report, but start ideating now!!
Get a Mentor
Mentors can supercharge your career and growth. They have definitely helped me diagnose some weak areas I needed to address in my personal toolkit. Finding someone who has experience and passion for marketing that can hold you accountable, be a sounding board and help you create a game plan is massive.
I'm a super fan of getting and keeping mentors, but to be honest I've struggled with keeping the relationship going for as long as possible. Mentors are like managers. They'll invest in you as long as it's rewarding for them. Don't be a lazy mentee.
Get Invited to Important Meetings and Projects
You've got your shit together... check
You and your manager are speaking the same language... check
You're starting to produce some results... check
Time to increase your collaborations and affect others. But... be cautious. The one thing nobody likes is the person in the meeting who takes up space, wastes time, and doesn't contribute at all.
So, when you get invited to meetings that are outside your direct scope of work remember these things:
• This is someone else's baby and they invited you because they think you might be able to help. Not Own. Let them lead, and don't railroad or distract.
• Listen. Figure out your role in how you can help.
• Always be prepared. Come to these meetings and over-deliver anything you commit to.
• Set limits that your manager will appreciate. Don't let anyone request more of your time than your manager would like. If you and your manager are on the same page here they will feel much more comfortable and even recommend you for projects without the need to micromanage your involvement.
•Over deliver. Whether that is in the turnaround time or value you bring.
If you do all of these you will have plenty of opportunities to work on impactful projects for the company. These will go a long way in leveling up your career.
Try New Things! Experiment
Marketing is fun, experimenting with tactics, language, visuals... just experimenting is the best. I love it all. The research, implementing, reporting, iterating, communicating. The whole process. It's probably why I would classify myself primarily as a growth marketer.
I think most good marketers agree. But great marketers... have discipline. There(Our) iteration might start wide like comparing facebook (meta 😂) ads to LinkedIn ads, but implement a high rate implementation process until we are testing the difference between two words in a product description.
Be Obsessed With Growth
Invest in yourself any chance you get. If at all possible, set a yearly personal growth budget for yourself. Take advice from your mentor and manager on areas that they think you should invest in. Be careful to not fall into the tutorial trap. Learn. Implement. Get your hands dirty. I have invested a lot into myself during my career, and I've never once thought I'd spent too much money or time.
When possible tie your personal growth with your company's growth. Throughout my career, I've been able to carve out a new position by showing a new way that I can benefit the company. Most of the time it meant increasing the revenue.
Be a Leader
Leadership skills are crucial for people wanting to earn a promotion into a management role. Management requires good leadership skills no matter what industry you work in or the goals that the team will work towards. When you are trying to guide a team on a new marketing campaign the leadership skills will help everyone stay aligned and produce quality deliverables.
When transitioning into a leadership role, you will need to build the confidence to make and communicate decisions on a day-to-day basis. You will also need to find tactful ways to move from being a tactical contributor to a leader.
The best leaders seek impact. Not authority. If you manage with clear communication with a focus on optimizing as a team towards a collective impact on the company you'll crush it.
Keegen Knapp Newsletter
Join the newsletter to receive the latest updates in your inbox.