Marketers have an unfair advantage when it comes to managing people. Many of the skills that make great leaders are skills that great marketers possess. Here are the top seven qualities that make marketers great managers.
Experts in Human Behavior
Studying why people make decisions is a marketer’s job. Understanding what motivates others to action is also a critical management skill. Too often, employees are treated as a group instead of individuals. Marketers know that everyone’s motivations are different and can identify and appeal to those motivations.
The best marketers and managers have a great deal of empathy and understanding.
Company culture problems often stem from poor communication. Marketers are professional communicators. Language, tone, and medium are always part of the calculus. For us, communicating is careful and intentional.
Marketers know that relationships take time and ongoing support. Staying in touch is one part, but the message is also important. Content marketers know that if every contact with customers sounds like a sales pitch those messages will be ignored.
Whether the ratio is 3:1 or 10:1, valuable and appreciated messages should always be more frequent than asking for a sale.
The same is true for management. Conversations about personal and professional growth should happen far more often than criticism or corrective action.
Creative Problem Solvers
Handling disputes and conflicts are part of a manager’s job. Marketers bring creativity and strategy to these situations. There isn’t a guidebook to follow for resolving conflict on a team. However, marketers tend to notice trends, problems, and identify solutions that others overlook. These skills can be helpful for managing employees and business projects.
Listening, studying, and understanding customers needs, wants, and desires are part of a marketer’s job. Those skills apply directly to management. Feeling heard is one of the most common complaints among employees.
For as creative as marketers can be, we also have an analytical side. Marketing plans have to accomplish goals, which are generally measurable outcomes. The tendency to let reason rather than emotion guide our decisions is helpful when managing others.
Taking in the facts and making a pragmatic decision isn’t always easy for managers. Those who can blend analytical skills with empathy are less likely to be accused of favoritism.
Marketers test different approaches and review outcomes. If the desired outcome isn’t reached, we’ll review and adjust. We’re not afraid to change direction if the data is proving our assumptions wrong.
Marketers can bring the same optimization strategies to management roles. Instead of CAC or CTR, our performance metrics are employee engagement and productivity.
Marketers must be able to envision the future to some degree. Much of what we create isn’t for a return today, the payoff is sometime in the future. Marketers are also tasked with moving people to action by painting a picture of what could be.
This is also true of the best managers. Great leaders are inspired by future possibilities, and can inspire others around them.