Skills Strategic Leaders Of Marketing Operations Must Possess
It’s undeniable that the marketing profession has seen an incredible rise in marketing operations lately. Marketing technology is more sophisticated than ever; things move fast towards a “digital-first” marketing mix. So, strategic marketing operations leaders need to enhance their skills to take up this challenge.
Did you know that companies that invest in marketing operations can experience a 25% increase in overall marketing effectiveness? Since marketing operations are seeing constant growth, leaders like yourself have to think even more strategically. Nevertheless, at the same time, you’ll need to execute complex programs. Hence you must evolve your marketing skills, talents, and capabilities.
Now’s the time for marketing leaders to take the reins and guide highly technical teams to success!
But what does a successful and strategic marketing operations leader look like? Which critical skills do you need to succeed and bring business growth?
In this post, we explore the 7 crucial skills of influential marketing operations leaders. Keep notes because we’re going beyond technical expertise!
Top Marketing and Leadership Skills A Strategic Marketing Operations Manager Must Develop
All marketing operations leaders should have in mind how to accelerate business growth. In order to do so, as an operations leader, you have to ensure your marketing strategy delivers business value.
Even if you’re not at the top of your game with all the skills in this list, you’ll understand the strategy aspect of it. Then you can decide how you can improve your marketing skillset.
At the end of the day, it always comes down to strategy. But to build your strategy, you need the right tools AND skills for your marketing plan to work. So, please, let me explain.
First off, what is marketing operations?
A simple definition of marketing operations is that it is an end-to-end optimization and governance of marketing processes.
Strategic marketing leaders that practice constant optimization have a lot to gain. With technology and automation integrations, you can effectively deploy campaigns, optimize funnels, and define goals.
In this way, you always keep your team in focus. The best way to do that is by tracking data properly and utilizing reports that help you gain insights and then apply them.
All this makes budgets easier and your marketing plan more actionable. Plus, you get to have smoother communication routines within your marketing team and other departments as well.
Marketing operations is the foundation of marketing success and growth mainly because it enables your business to scale.
Having the definition in mind, now we can proceed to explore the marketing skills you need to develop to a) improve your career goals b) help your business grow.
Here are the marketing and leadership skills you’ve been waiting for:
1. Project Management
A strategic marketing leader can’t deal with the pressure without improving project management skills.
You’ll find organizational skills very beneficial, especially if you manage multiple tasks or projects simultaneously. It’s a no-brainer that you’ll have to frequently make decisions regarding numerous assignments. Most times, these may be at different stages of development as well. So, to not miss deadlines and keep track of important information, you have to up your organizational skills game.
Trust me, this will help reduce stress, plus you’ll manage to perform your managerial duties more efficiently.
As a marketing manager, you’ll need to coordinate events and meetings. Of course, you’ll also have to record and file documents and tons of information. Also, there will always be a need to create strategic schedules for major projects. And, between juggling all the above, you’ll have to be there for your team, helping members with their tasks and ensuring they finish assignments on time.
Hence, communication skills go hand in hand with project management. During your day, you have to communicate with a range of people, including coworkers, team members, and your company’s customer base.
Thus, you must find smart ways to communicate requests, expectations, and ideas as clearly and as effectively as possible. Collaborating with your team to make decisions is essential. Plus, you’ll have to develop rapport with clients and customers. So, marketing leaders have to improve active listening. In addition, they must be able to address feedback and criticism.
Finally, another big part of your job will be to write press releases or quarterly summaries of how effective your efforts are.
For example, you might become a big fan of Slack, Asana, Wrike, and Zoom if you get to know them!
2. Leadership Skills
The responsibilities of strategic marketing managers are never-ending. You need sound leadership, good communication skills, and data analysis expertise to help make strategic decisions.
Your goal should be to ensure that processes keep running smoothly. Indeed, you can provide the data and build out strategies, but above all, you need to be a problem solver and set the tone for what will happen next.
Soft skills are your best friend when it comes to showcasing sound leadership. Even if you’re not a good communicator, please know that it’s something you can learn and improve.
Such skills usually have to do with how you interact with other people. For instance, as a marketing manager, you must have the ability to manage a conflict that arises among your team members peacefully. Enhancing your soft skills will aid you in managing and leading your team effectively.
Managers in the eLearning industry are responsible for leading their team and motivating every member to achieve a specific goal. Hence, this job will often require you to oversee and facilitate various activities from different offices and departments.
Guiding each team in working toward those objectives while setting common goals is crucial. So, begin with making sure that you are establishing strategic goals. Then, to bring the results you need, you have to find ways to motivate employees to perform well. Some of the best advice I can give you here is to mentor less experienced team members. Of course, monitoring and tracking KPIs is also vital.
Finally, delegating tasks to other employees is a key skill you need to conquer. So, you must learn to trust your team members and see that they will get to the finish line!
3. Revenue Growth Mindset
Nowadays, focusing on strategic marketing operations has become the growth center of eLearning organizations. Along with the influence and impact of awareness, acquisition, adoption, and advocacy, you hold the power of bringing money to your business.
Hence, eLearning marketers must look at themselves as the chief growth officers of the organization. For this reason, you must continually work to identify opportunities. That’s a prerequisite to taking the business forward.
As a marketing operations leader, you must know that efficiency and structure are the foundation of your organization’s marketing department.
However, the real growth occurs when you influence revenue.
To make it happen, you have to keep your team priorities aligned with the most critical business objectives. Also, you need to figure out if you are spending too much time on projects that won’t significantly impact growth and sales.
Having a growth mindset means that you need to think about the bigger picture. That’s how you get new clients on board.
4. Competitive Analysis & Content Marketing Expertise
Having the charisma and being business savvy are hallmarks of the strategic marketing opportunist.
Content marketing is a cost-effective way you can use to bring organizational agility and help your marketing career and organization thrive.
By applying your content marketing skills to the annual marketing strategy and operating plans, you can make the right decisions to help your business excel.
To make the right competitive moves, you need to know where you stand in your niche as a business. What’s your position against your competition? Having a clear idea of what you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong will help you create effective marketing strategies for your products and services.
By mastering the skills of doing a competitive analysis, you’ll have a better idea of what your target audience needs. The valuable insights you’ll get from the data will drive you to exciting conclusions. Only then you’ll know what kind of content you need to create.
Then, apart from your internal resources, you should explore outreach solutions to promote your content. Thus, you have to create alliances and leverage different channels to promote your products and services. Again, communication skills are key to increase engagement outside of your organization.
If you’re looking for the best habitats for strategic marketing opportunities, look no further. Your organization will appreciate your marketing accountability because of the data insights you will provide them with. It will help ignite alignment to stakeholders and make room for scalability.
What you must do is find what your competition does best and then do it better! This is often the value creation role most visible and appreciated by the C-team.
5. Content Development
To carry out your duties, you must use a variety of hard and soft skills. If you are interested in excelling as a marketing manager, there are several skills you can enhance. Some of these marketing manager skills might come naturally, while others take time to develop.
When talking about hard skills, these have to do with industry expertise or technical knowledge. For example, you should be able to evaluate and even edit marketing materials (including photos and videos).
Demand generation is so crucial in this digital marketing era we’re living. As a strategic marketing leader, you need to find new ways to drive demand for your products and services. Most importantly, you have to do so with new and existing customers. And the best way to do it is by accelerating their movement through the purchase cycle.
So, you must be able to identify targets and then start creating awareness and interest. Thus, you’ll manage to establish a trusting relationship that is engaging and meaningful. As you might have probably guessed, content development is a clear strategy you can use to share valuable information with your target audience.
By continuously creating content in different formats (eBooks, articles, webinars, etc.), you can sustain the interest of your target buyers over time. Best of all? You can do so based on the purchase / re-purchase cycle. And, if applicable, you can then pass along qualified leads to sales teams!
Some managers opt to improve their SEO content writing skills. Others choose to work solely on the content marketing strategy and ask eLearning bloggers to create the content for them.
6. Email Campaigns
Another important skill strategic marketing leaders should possess is being able to deliver effective email campaigns.
For sure, marketing is in many ways a creative endeavor. Why not develop unique and interesting ways to sell products or promote your brand via email marketing?
Strategic marketing managers can come up with original ideas and bring those ideas to life in innovative ways. A successful email campaign needs to capture and hold your audience’s attention. So, by all means, I encourage you to use your creative skills to plan and create email marketing campaigns that will speak to your prospects.
Don’t be afraid to brainstorm ideas with graphic designers and artists within your team. By evaluating the aesthetic appeal of your marketing materials, you can devise creative methods for promoting and distributing your products even beyond email marketing.
Everything is possible. From planning and executing promotional events and activities to taking the eLearning industry by surprise, you can leverage proven email campaign strategies to boost awareness!
7. Marketing Tools
Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) staff can be different at their core of expertise. I mean that they can vary from project managers, data gurus, and programmers to market researchers and financial analysts. All of them can perform functions for marketing operations.
Consequently, marketers have to expand their skill set to excel at technical and analytical skills besides the traditional marketing skills.
The above combination of skills is essential in today’s marketing environment mainly because it is data-heavy. By being good with data, you have the opportunity to deliver experiences across an increasing number of channels.
Marketing operations managers or directors like you have to oversee the tools, data, automation, and integrations for the company. For this reason, you must know your way around certain tools.
If you haven’t noticed already, marketing managers are in danger of having a data overload. Success is all about the data we collect, but they aren’t even used to drive strategic decisions most of the time.
When the data is too much, it is even harder to look at the metrics that matter. But, I don’t want you to get lost in the numbers. For this reason, here are some tools you’ll love using to bring the marketing results you need:
- Competitive Analysis Tools (Ahrefs, SEMrush, Google Advanced Search, SimilarWeb)
- Acquisition Metrics (Kissmetrics, Unbounce, Marketo, Google Analytics)
- Product Adoption (Contentsquare, Qualaroo, Userlytics)
Companies need to invest in products, but they also need marketing managers with the right skillset to come close to reaching an ROI. Strategic marketing ops managers empower teams by providing professional development opportunities. Both for their selves and for their teams.
Do you want to be one of the elite?
eLearning companies can leverage strategic marketing managers like you to work on leaky funnels, conflicts between sales and marketing, underutilized automation, siloed analytics or even misunderstood customers.
If you make it your goal to develop all the marketing skills in this list, you’ll be able to step into your eLearning company’s marketing infrastructure and increase the pace of execution or fix any other overarching deficiencies.
The majority of companies have calculated a revenue threshold of millions where they have team roles explicitly dedicated to improving marketing operations.
By following my tips, you can become a marketing ops professional everyone is going to envy. You’ll be able to work alongside sales operations and create more effective strategies and plans to increase revenue.
From scaling your eLearning products to having high lead value, or both it’s a win-win. Software and technology companies in the eLearning niche have been the pioneers of this role. So, being more strategic and improving your marketing and leadership skills will help you bring a data-first approach to growth.
Remember that the 3 primary job functions of a Marketing Operations Professional are: technology, data, and alignment.
Focus on these, and you’ll see your career skyrocketing!