8 Traits of Effective SMB Marketers
October 2, 2012 1 Comment
All of us come across some great, mediocre and (I’m sorry to say) terrible marketers as colleagues, associates or competitors. I am always on the look-out for marketers who have overcome challenges and set their brands apart to see what I can learn from them. Based on my observations, these are the eight qualities needed to be an effective marketing manager for an SMB company.
1. Time management
Working in marketing for an SMB means being constantly pulled in different directions. Salespeople want prospect presentations; whereas HR wants video shoots for recruiting purposes. Social media require monitoring and contributions daily because they are direct channels of communication with customers. Activities have to be measured, analyzed and reported on. And the list goes on. Successful marketers need to be masters of time management to keep the entire range of internal and external customers happy, while demonstrating ROI for their work. Make the most of every minute!
2. Get-it-done attitude
Marketing professionals have to tackle challenges at work head-on. The best solutions to problems often mean getting their hands dirty (but they usually enjoy every minute of it!). At SMBs, where there are always shortages of budgets, resources and time, only those marketers who take the lead can survive. They look for free applications, research and tools that help them get things done and drive results. They also look for data that will help them make good decisions quickly. Basically, if you can’t go over, go around!
3. Listening skills
Good marketers listen to social media, monitor leads and sales; track their industries, watch out for legislation or policies that will affect their businesses; talk to customers about their experiences (especially complaints) and much more on any given day. Insatiable curiosity comes in handy for marketing people as this is a means to get information that might not be available through traditional sources. You have to listen before you are ready to talk about your brand!
4. Balance of analytics and creative
All successful marketers need to have creative flair while keeping a sharp focus on analytics and results. As discussed by John Ellett of Texas CEO Magazine, “They bring science and financial sense to the discipline as well as art and intuition. This allows them to be both rigorous about ROI and passionate about your brand.” Make smart decisions and then execute them in a creative way!
5. Networking talent
Marketing can never function in a vacuum. Rather, we need input and feedback to ensure our projects are approved, progress properly and meet expectations. To get this cooperation, it is necessary to be proactive to reach out to colleagues, other departments, senior team members and coworkers who can offer details. Outside contacts provide another level of perspective and it is critical to have various circles that can be tapped for advice. Marketing is a vehicle to communicate and can only be as good as its information sources.
6. Love of learning
Working for SMBs means marketers have to figure out themselves how to use the tools, applications, software and everything else needed to fulfill their job responsibilities. There are always new challenges and the marketing profession seems to change constantly and progressively faster each year. Marketing people cannot stagnate. They have to embrace and enjoy building new skills.
7. Entrepreneurial spirit
Marketers for SMBs can differentiate their brands and take them to the next level by knowing the market, the customers, the pain points and the unmet needs better than anyone else. This ability to predict and act quickly to seize new business opportunities is an important trait of marketers because it enables them to contribute to their companies’ growth.
Complete confidence in our current abilities and judgment is sometimes at odds with reality. Many of us, for example, regard ourselves as better-than-average drivers! The tendency toward overconfidence extends to the way we act at work. As marketing managers, you can never take things for granted or there is a risk of significant and costly mistakes. Anticipating failures and developing plans to overcome them is the best way to ensure success.
I am still in the learning phase and working to build these qualities but, regardless of our experience and age, I don’t think any of us should ever be done learning. Are there other qualities you think are critical to marketing success for SMBs? What traits are you working to develop in yourself?