Construction Marketing

Marketing Manager Skills That Pay The Bills

If you do everything in this guide, you will be more prepared to dominate your company’s marketing, make more money, and propel your career forward as a marketing professional. The problem is…

Estimated Read Time:  40 minutes


If you do everything in this guide, you will be more prepared to dominate your company’s marketing, make more money, and propel your career forward as a marketing professional.

The problem is marketing managers often get roped into tasks that don’t actually move the needle. Then, they’re getting blamed that the leads haven’t increased.

We have to take back control, but that first means taking MORE RESPONSIBILITY and determining the tasks that lead to serious ROI. If we do this and prove out the activities that win, we will get more than just more money—we get the freedom to do what we want when we want, and the respect we deserve.

Throughout the guide – 25 marketer managers share their most important marketing tasks! Here are a few to kick it off:

What’s your most important marketing task?

Create SMART goals, create, measure and optimize campaigns
“Most important tasks for a marketing manager, in my opinion, are: – Creating, measuring and optimizing client campaigns around their SMART goals/business objectives. – Communication and transparency with clients and other team members so everyone has a pulse on the account. – Closing the loop on projects to see if you’ve been successful or are “learning forward” for something tangible.”
– Darrell Kramin, Digital Marketing Manager at Bluespire Marketing

Marketing Manager Skills Keep information flowing through sales and marketing teams
“Marketing managers are the glue that holds it all together. They are the beating heart of the sales/marketing body making sure that the information flows seamlessly so the body can keep moving forward.”
– Courtney Algeo, Marketing Manager at Horizontal Talent

Christine Olson - Midwest Rubber Find ideal customers and create better content and messaging
“Help sales communicate with their customers, find and communicate with ideal customers/prospects based on the success and relationships with real customers, as well as discovering and using customer insights to create better content and messaging along the customer journey for both digital and in person encounters.”
– Christine Olson, Marketing Manager at Midwest Rubber

This guide will be covering: 

The Ideal Marketing Manager (The Top 9 Marketing Skills That Pay The Bills Diagram)

The Ideal Marketing Manager

Ideal Marketing Manager - Desktop

We asked 100 marketing managers some important questions! Here’s what we learned:

Skills to pay the bills – why do boss’s give raises?

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  1. You actually ask – How to do it: Appeal to their desire to ‘save face’—“Almost two-thirds of workers have never asked for a raise,” a recent PayScale survey found.
  2. You articulate your value – How to do it: Appeal to their desire that you give your all at work. Robin Pinkley, author of ‘Get Paid What You’re Worth,’ puts it this way, “You can’t assume that your boss is keeping track of your progress. You need to keep a record of your contributions and show it to your manager.”
  3. You know the going rate and advocate for it – How to do it: Appeal to their sense of fairness. “We are as hard-wired for fairness from above as we are below. The mere mention of grossly disproportionate salary differentials is sufficient to kick in an employer’s desire to be operating a fair system of reward and punishment.” – Forbes
  4. You establish a clear KPI, and then knock it out of the park – How to do it: appeal to their sense of ‘justness’ – if there’s clarity around what constitutes success and you hit it, your boss will want to give you a raise!
  5. You make yourself essential by handling hard things – How to do it: Appeal to their understanding that you’d be expensive to replace. On average, it costs 30% of your salary to replace you, according to HRDive!
  6. You ask at the right time – How to do it: Here are some times to ask according to
    • When you’ve done something spectacular, a big achievement can justify a pay bump. For instance, you saved your company from losing its number-one client, or you introduced a new accounting system that cut the organization’s operating costs by 10%. Achievements like these demonstrate you’re a key employee.
    • When the company is doing well, you have more negotiating power when there’s more money in the budget—which there often is after a big earnings report is released. Vice versa, if your company is going through a decline, or has recently made a large investment for potential growth, now isn’t the right time to ask for more money.
    • When your boss gives you more responsibility, if you’re taking on significantly more work, you should be compensated for it.

Biggest soft skills that pay:

The LinkedIn research team dug into what the most in-demand soft skills are today—here’s what their research found:

  • Creativity
  • Persuasion
  • Collaboration
  • Adaptability
  • Time management

Complementing that, new research from Josh Bersin about how design, business acumen, and a new generation of digital skills are rapidly differentiating the highest paying jobs of the future.

If you’re curious what job titles some aspire to in your field, they seem to lean towards niches like market research, email marketing, and content marketing while favoring the top of the responsibility chart.

Here are the highest Paying Marketing Jobs

  1. Corporate Communications Director Average salary: $124,054 Salary range: $77,000 – $173,000
  2. Marketing Research Director Average salary: $111,907 Salary range: $74,000 – $157,000
  3. Director of Email Marketing Average salary: $102,588 Salary range: $58,000 – $161,000
  4. Director of Digital Marketing Average salary: $99,040 Salary range: $60,000 – $148,000
  5. Content Marketing Director Average salary: $95,854 Salary range: $56,000 – $139,000
  6. Product Marketing Manager Average salary: $90,769 Salary range: $60,000 – $130,000
  7. Demand Generation Manager Average salary: $83,143 Salary range: $59,000 – $117,000
  8. Brand Marketing Manager Average salary: $73,357 Salary range: $49,000 – $107,000

The closer to contributing heavily to revenue = the more companies are willing to pay.

But let’s get into the skills and how to acquire them, as well as how to increase your knowledge of them.

What’s your most important marketing task?

Alexis Hayes - Digital Marketing Manager Skills and Courses
Fit all the pieces of the puzzle together
“Marketing Managers have to wear a lot of hats. We have to be an expert and have knowledge in all the pieces of marketing. It’s crucial we understand how each aspect plays into the other so we can strategize to make sure each marketing effort has a positive impact on the end goal.”
Alexis Hayes, Digital Marketing Manager at Gradient Financial Group

Keep a cohesive look and keep the brand top of mind
“Bringing our brand to the forefront of people’s minds. We want to create a cohesive, look, feel, reputation, voice to inform and promote the company to our target audience and beyond.”
Audrey Kearns, Marketing Manager at Mom’s Design Build

James Ashworth
Focus on long term objectives, generate leads and retain customers

“Supporting the brand we represent. Marketing communications is intended to use messaging to increase and facilitate conversions, lead generation, sales, and customer retention. In my currrent role, I wear many hats so it’s essential to remain focused on the longer term objectives without getting bogged down in the day-to-day “can we do this?” and fire drill type projects.”

James Ashworth, Marketing Manager at JPI Healthcare Solutions

Ideal Customer – Start with WHO

If you can understand the customer you will win. You have to help identify existing ideal customers with company leadership and start to define a clear, ideal niche.

Some companies start with ‘personas,’ but I think that’s bullshit. If you have real customers already, they can easily serve as a template for who you want to go after. Unless you’re a startup with no customers, cut out the ‘personas’ and go after the ‘ideal existing customers.’

Understand their pain

Once you know who you’re talking to, you have to empathize with them.

I don’t mean sitting around theorizing.

I mean, get out on the job site with them, get out in their home, or get on a Zoom call with them for god sakes if you have to. Look them in the eye with no agenda and ask them WHAT HURTS NOW. Particularly in regards to the type of services you offer, and what your company supposedly solves.

If you understand a company’s ideal customer deeply, you can be a linchpin

Deeply understanding your customer is super hard.

In fact, almost all marketing managers avoid it. They let that be the jurisdiction of the salespeople. If that’s the case, I can almost guarantee you the salespeople in your organization are making more than you. Why?

You have to get uncomfortable—you have to talk to people. You have to extend beyond what is normally considered the marketing manager’s job.

Seth Godin put it this way in his book ‘Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?’: “Discomfort brings engagement and change. Discomfort means you’re doing something that others were unlikely to do because they’re hiding out in the comfortable zone. When your uncomfortable actions lead to success, the organization rewards you and brings you back for more.”

All of your marketing can then hinge on the ideal customer, their pain points, and why they choose your company

We’ve shared our ‘ideal marketing plan’ before, and it has a great example of how the decisions you make should all drive back to real people and what they might like.

Another reason to get out of the hypothetical is that you can ask questions like “what events are they attending,” and if it’s a real person, you can see that on social media, etc.

Here’s an example of how we’ve done this in the past:


Title:  Medium-Sized Business Marketing Director

Steal this format

Ideal Marketing Manager Skills

A couple of things to note about forming ‘Ideal customer profiles’ or Personas: 

  • Obviously, yours might not need to include title if you aren’t selling business to business, but much of the other items apply (psychographics like income, help understand pricing tensions, and the way they see the price, etc.)
  • I like including a ‘pain point’ in the title of the ‘ideal customer’ as well, so it always reminds us of something difficult they’re dealing with.
  • As much as possible, make the problems real things you’ve talked with them about.

Knowing how to identify, relate, and talk to a company’s ideal customers is a core skill that will make you indispensable.

Courses related to Ideal Customer Work

  1. University of Minnesota – User Research and Design
  2. Hubspot – How to Create Detailed Buyer Personas For Your Business

What’s your most important marketing task?

Make sure your brand is consistent on all marketing materials
“To always make sure your brand is being represented correctly, especially on all digital platforms. It is the Marketing Manager role to be the bridge between sales and marketing so that the company is always on the same track of hitting sales together.”
Dani Planto, Marketing Manager and Content Creator at Makinex Construction Products

Countryside Plumbing and Heating
Keep the company visible

“To me the most important task is keeping our company visible – via advertising, logoed trucks, audio and visual presence so that if you have an issue with plumbing or heating, you know our name.”

Cindy Croes, Comms & Mktg Manager at Countryside Plumbing & Heating, Inc.

Melissa Hatfield - Hair by Brittany
Keep connected with your audience with a customer service mindset

“Keeping a connection with your audience! I believe, at the end of the day, every marketer is an amazing customer service representative, and we’re on the digital frontline.”

Melissa Hatfield Digital Marketing Specialist at Hair By Brittney


Eryka Hawkins - Marketing & Trade Show Specialist
Position your brand & increase sales

“Building and executing our brand goals by maximizing ROI and increasing sales. To discover how to best position your product offerings to your audience in innovative ways.”

Eryka Hawkins, Sales and Marketing Specialist and Trade Show Coordinator at CleanTools Inc.

Brand / Positioning – Understand and then Sell The Problem. Storybrand, where customers came from. The language they use.

The Logo.

The Colors.

The Tagline.

The Mission Statement.

….All the social media headers, swag, and even tone of voice in many cases down to the proposals and ‘thank you for buying’ emails.

Basically, everything that you do CAN BE steeped in the brand and positioning in the market.

Here are some important questions that can help you get this marketing skill built out in a jiffy:

  • What can we say that no one else can say—or doesn’t say—that we’re competing against?
  • What is the moment of emotional impact, and how can we get photos of people looking like they’re going through that moment of impact? Where would they be, and how can we make it dead obvious? (It’s ok if it’s cheesy – but ideally not a stock photo)
  • What is an aspirational identity that our ideal customer would be stoked to be part of?
  • How can we make a feeling of community around that? “People like us do things like this”

Understand and then sell the problem.

Most people don’t get why their marketing doesn’t inspire people to action.

There’s no desire.

There are no leads from the website.

It’s dead.

It’s because the problem isn’t bad enough for the customer yet. Salespeople can get in and aggravate the problem, and they do. It’s a little smarmy, but it works.

If you can find a way to aggravate the problem, you’ll win.

It sounds terrible, but the truth is it’s often honest.

For us, an example: “Is your ‘pretty but ineffective’ website losing you customers?”

For a remodeling company: “Does your house make your kids want to hang out at the neighbors?”

For a sales software company: “Are your leads slipping through the cracks?”

Create a Story around their transformation with Storybrand

Here’s the template from Storybrand we use to help extract important elements from clients quickly so that we can share that story on their website. You can use all of this positioning information in any of your marketing materials.

Key Element 1 – A Character: 

What do they want – What do your customers want as it relates to your product or service?

A story can only be started when we introduce a character and what it is they want. The character is the ideal lead that comes on your site. What does your ideal lead want?

Key Element 2 – Has a Problem:

Villain – Is there a root cause of your customers’ problems? Can you personify this root cause as a villain? What is the villain in your customer’s story?

External – What is a problem your customers deal with as it relates to your product or service?

Internal – How is this villain making your customers feel?

Philosophical – Why is it “just plain wrong” for your customers to be burdened by this problem?

And Meets a Guide:

Empathy – What brief statement can you make that expresses empathy and understanding?

Authority – How can you demonstrate competency in solving your customers’ problems?

Who Gives Them a Plan:

Process – Are there 3 or 4 steps your customers can take that would lead them to a sale or explain how they would use your product after the sale?

Agreement – List the agreements you can make with your customers to alleviate their fears of doing business with you.

And Calls Them to Action:

Direct – What is your direct call to action?

Transitional – What transitional calls to action will you use to on-ramp customers?

That Ends in a Success: List the positive changes your customers will experience if they use your product or service.

That Helps Them Avoid Failure: List the negative consequences your customers will experience if they don’t use your product or service.

Character Transformation:

From – How was your customer feeling about themselves before they used your product or service?

To – Who will your customer become after they use your product or service? What is their aspirational identity?

What do your customers really think, and what language do they use?

A great way to get this information is to ask for an honest review from great customers.

Next level = have a video person go out to them and ask genuine questions about why they like working with you.

From this, we got = “they save us a lot of time.” Oddly enough, I wasn’t thinking ‘time’ was a huge value proposition before looking at those videos, but now I do, and use it in our brand and positioning, in our ads, and in our content.

What’s your most important marketing task?

Make sure your brand is consistent on all marketing materials
“To always make sure your brand is being represented correctly, especially on all digital platforms. It is the Marketing Manager role to be the bridge between sales and marketing so that the company is always on the same track of hitting sales together.”
Dani Planto, Marketing Manager and Content Creator at Makinex Construction Products

Stay focused on revenue target
“Keeping all direct reports and cross-functional team members focused on the main goal. It’s so easy to get distracted with shiny objects, fun new tactics, cute creative, but staying focused on the revenue target and bringing everyone back to that is most important. From a list checking/tactic perspective, I would say the most important thing is building robust creative briefs- the brief is the most important way to ensure every campaign and a new initiative is kicked-off in a sound way, bringing every team member along for the ride.”
– Andie Ostrowski, Marketing Manager at Sports Engine, NBC


Strategic Marketing Planning + Distribution. What are your top 3 digital marketing channels to own – top 3 non-digital? Go hard.

What should your team be spending their time on?

If you’re the WHOLE marketing department, what other budget do you have?

To be clear, I come from the perspective of having little-to-no budget in my previous marketing manager role to now playing the marketing manager role in a company I own and having 3-5k a month maximum in marketing spend.

Others have a very detailed approach to marketing planning:

Marketing Planning Process - Ideal Marketing Manager Skills

From my point of view, marketing planning comes down to these key points:

  1. Ensure you have a clear mission. Ours is “To change our clients’ lives by helping them get higher on Google and get better leads, and to champion the underdog through volunteering and giving in our community.”
  2. Work with leadership to understand revenue goals.
  3. List the places that own your ideal customer’s attention.
  4. Make a list of possible referral partners.
  5. List ways to collaborate with referral partners.
  6. Come up with clear goals.
  7. Identify what’s worked previously and how you could double down.
  8. Identify a couple of new channels to aggressively experiment with that you have a reasonable guess that your ideal customers or referral partners spend a lot of time on.
  9. Figure out who’s responsible for what actions, their frequency (daily, weekly, etc.), create meetings, and delegate to specialists as appropriate.
  10. Create ways to monitor the feedback, like spreadsheets, Google Data Studio reporting, and accountability calls and meetings scheduled in a recurring way on the calendar. Make pivots to the plan quarterly to line up with what’s creating the most opportunity.

Darrin Lynch of marketing agency Irish Titan said something that really stuck in my mind: “A good rule is too make sure you spend less than 10% of your time on ‘strategy’—as otherwise you often re-do your work too often.”

Where did your current customers come from?

All you have to do is take a look at the percentages of all of your highest value customers (or all of your customers by revenue) and where they came from. List them out in a spreadsheet, and detail what method you attribute them coming to you under (Referral, Organic, Outbound, etc.). Then, use Google Sheets or Excel to graph them out in a pie chart. This is a fantastic way to see what’s working and double down on those methods. Make a copy of our template for doing this – to make a similar graph to the one below.

Lead Source Graph - Marketing Manager Skills

Based on that, what are your top 5 digital marketing channels to own?

A sure way to fail (as a small team) is to try to prioritize everything.

Even if you were on every social channel, at every conference in your niche, partnered with every referral partner available, and on every podcast, you shouldn’t give them equal attention. You can’t make everything epic.

Perhaps if you’re a home builder, you decide to go after:

  • Local Home Shows
  • Instagram
  • Facebook + FB Ads
  • Google and blog traffic
  • Google ads

If you’re a digital marketing agency like us, you may decide to own:

  • Google and blog traffic
  • Podcasts in our niche
  • Linkedin for referral partners
  • Video marketing
  • FB + FB ads

The point is you have to come up with the big time channels to keep a hard priority on what’s going to create the most business.

That doesn’t mean you abandon all the other channels. For instance, we are on Instagram; we just don’t make it a huge priority.

Otherwise, you could spend 3.5 hours putting a video clip onto the 10 social media channels, and spend less time on engaging, growing an audience, etc. on the platforms you really care about (commenting on other people’s stuff, getting the team to engage quickly, connecting with new people).

What are your non-digital channels to go hard on?

Channels are important.

So if you haven’t yet, write down the top 5 channels that you believe are most likely to generate revenue for your company. 

Marketing is best when it borders so close to sales that y’all are best friends. Master this connection, and your skills will indeed… pay the bills.

Courses to dive deeper into strategic marketing & distribution:

  1. eCornell – Marketing Strategy Course
  2. Udemy – Strong & Effective Marketing Plan (Template & Examples)
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What’s your most important marketing task?

Less is more—you’re responsible for strategy and sticking to it
“To create the strategy and hold the company to it. Less is more. Make sure you accomplish things that will actually improve the business’s goals.”
Jason Byer, Marketing and Partnerships Manager at Crowdspring

Bob Stanke, Marketing Lead Generation
Grow and develop a team, budget, and plan
“Team management, hands down.  Growing and developing your team is what marketing leaders should be doing most of their time. Budgeting and planning are also crucial.”

Bob Stanke, Director of Marketing, Demand Generation Homes for Heroes

Manage people while doing your marketing tasks
“I consider the most important task is being able to manage other people while still completing your set of tasks efficiently. Another important task is keeping your company growing and continuing to keep up with the world. There is always going to be bigger and better things to do for your company, it is deciding if it aligns with the business and will get the business to the top.”
Miranda Powell, Marketing Manager, Christenson Automotive 


Social – Building an audience, content proliferation systems + stand out content.

Social media is where a lot of marketers get stuck.

They spend their time there because of the quick feedback they get from an audience (or lack thereof).

Other marketers barely use it all because they’re categorizing it as ‘lead generation’, and it often does that very poorly.

Rather, I think social media (organic, not paid) is often better categorized as ‘increasing brand awareness’ and increasing REFERRALS.

Building an audience

First, you have to get people to like your page, to connect with you as an individual on Linkedin (because individual reach is so much better).

It’s too much of a difficult and evolving topic to cover at length in this guide, but if you learn how to build an audience on 2-3 key social media channels, you’re way more likely to be a sought after marketing manager.

Here are some examples of things I’ve seen work:

  • Commenting and liking on 5-10 accounts on a regular basis that have a large following of the types of people who are your ideal customers.
  • Connecting with a solid amount of people daily while also putting out useful content (one way to find them is looking for people who liked and commented on big accounts like you).
  • Sharing your social accounts as you guest on podcasts, write blog posts, do videos, etc.—using social media handles in your other content.
  • Collaborating with influencers on content—and collaborating with referral partners on content on a weekly basis. Sharing and tagging them on social media.
  • Not being afraid of going scrappy and using personal accounts as appropriate—measuring engagement on posts and switching it up on a regular basis to drive engagement, reach, and good vibes.

Content proliferation systems + stand out content

Content is two-fold.

There is content that primarily lives on your website and content that lives on these social platforms.

A mistake I see a lot of people make is always trying to move the conversation ‘back to their house.’

Not everyone wants to go to your house!

But it doesn’t mean they can’t be a customer.

It’s time to OWN 2-3 social media channels and go hard on them.

  1. Take courses on engagement.
  2. Follow the best of the best on those channels.
  3. Absorb ‘the culture’ there and experiment wildly with new formats and new posts.
  4. Make a list of attributes that the best posts possess.
  5. Develop a strong ‘perspective’ that the company operates. It can be contrarian to what the old-school aspects of the industry say. It’s best if it’s not vanilla.

You NEED to get some level of autonomy with your team to be able to post without 5 levels of approval.

I’m sorry, but that doesn’t really work on social media. Get closer with the decision-makers, and explain to them why being able to ‘operate on the fly’ within certain parameters is really important based on the nature of social media.

Courses to Level Up:

  1. Hubspot – Social Media Marketing Certification
  2. Udemy – Social Media Marketing – Complete Certification Course
  3. Northwestern University – Social Media Marketing Specialization

Marketing managers share their most important tasks:

Create consistency from proposal to social – tone of voice
“For me, my most important tasks are related to overall brand management & unifying all messaging. Whether it’s a proposal, web update, social media post, or print collateral, everything must look/sound/feel like it comes from a single entity, regardless of who is writing/designing the piece.”

Ashley Wolfe, Marketing Manager Loeffler Construction & Consulting

Understand customers, and create targeted lead-generating content
“Making sure that the content that is being put out there is always consistent, and always helpful to your audience. Creating value is an aspect that must not be overlooked in favor of simply “checking a box” and sending something out.”

Anna DiTommaso, Baseball Bucket List

Marketing Manager - Ideal Marketing Manager

Website Strategy – 5 things to transform your website from a CREDIBILITY website to a MARKETING website.

I don’t believe that every marketing manager needs to be able to design and develop a website.

However, they should focus on increasing conversions on their website, and they should understand how content plays into that. They should also know when the website needs to be redone, or more often than not, modified.

5 things to transform your website from a CREDIBILITY website to a MARKETING website

Many websites are just there for credibility.

They are like an online business card.

But a website can be so much more. It should be your “tank” that drives your marketing strategy. And your other marketing tools can serve as the motorcycles that drive around amongst the forest trees.

Here are 5 ways to move from a credibility website to a full-on marketing website:

  1.  Blog posts that are related to each of your service pages.
  2.  Each selling page has reviews featured with a photo of the reviewer and where it was left.
  3. Videos throughout the website, particularly on high traffic pages.
  4. Call to actions within blog posts and at the end of every page above the footer.
  5. Content strategy and releasing blog posts at least weekly. Ideally, a mixture of landing pages for niches or cities as well as blog posts.

Beyond this, we really get into SEO strategy. But suffice to say, a huge part of moving your companies website into that serious marketing vehicle is making the right BUCKETS of content and making sure those templates are effective at getting the result each should get.

Courses to Level Up:

  1.  Cal Arts Online – Web Design: Strategy & Information Architecture
  2.  Hubspot – Growth-Driven Design + Developing a Website Strategy
  3.  Udemy – UX & Web Design Master Course: Strategy, Design, and Development

Marketing managers share their most important tasks:

Wear a lot of hats – from paid ads, SEO, and email automation 

“As a Digital Marketing Manager, my most important “functions” are website management, paid ads, SEO, email, marketing automation, and project management. My goal as a Marketing Manager is to take prospects from brand awareness through conversion.”

Nora Hartman, Field Nation


In-person Marketing – Own 2-3 events a year hard. Find out what works – then scale, niching matters.

When you can get out to in-person events, they are the absolute best way to get in front of people there is. We specialize in home services, and truck wraps and yard signs are actually wildly effective. If you identify the ones that work for your industry, your team will thank you.

In-person marketing feels real and tangible, and it affects us in a different way.

“People like us do things like this” – Neighbors refer each other business.

WOMA = word of mouth advertising.

The more you can support these kinds of conversations, the more you win. Perhaps it’s swag; maybe it’s giving away flowers in a neighborhood you’ve been canvassing.

Thinking creatively and outside the box can drive huge leads and business. If everyone else is not doing it, the more impact it has.

The more leads and business you’re able to drive systematically, the more compensation makes sense for you. The better your employer does, the more they will be confident giving you a raise.

So think creatively—but what’s the bare minimum? What are the fundamentals?

Own 2-3 events a year hard

I believe every business should identify at least 2-3 events that they are at every year, so they can sharpen their effectiveness at those events.

As a marketing manager, I suggest you get out at those events because you hear objections, you find ways to cut through the noise, and you see how flat most offers fall on people’s ears. No one cares about you, and this is so much more obvious at events. You have to sharpen your offer and get creative about how quickly and pointedly you can offer your pitch and/or some type of giveaway or intro offer.

Other things that will sharpen your pitch:

  • Try cold calling for 100 calls. Experiment with different language to tweak it until someone stays on with you for a minute. That language might affect the way you write your homepage and landing page copy.
  • Post on social media on your own accounts about marketing (I love Linkedin) and mix in little pitches for your services to test copywriting skills and calls to action. Social media is a great way to sharpen your copywriting skills.

But I digress. The core concept here is that you identify 2-3 events that your ideal customer attends and keep going, and get better about connecting there and how you do those events. They offer more value than just the event itself. Look for referral partners at these events and schedule some podcasts and collaborative content together.

Find out what works – then scale (niching matters)

Here are the things you’ll want to experiment with to make the most effective events possible:

  • The booth needs to be a clear and obvious pitch for your services (I’ve made the mistake to get too cute with this before – and dressed up as a wizard to do ‘marketing fortune-telling.’ Even though we signed 80k in business off that event, we could have done way better if we were a little clearer with our services.
  • Have some kind of free element to grab people’s attention. For example, we might have our hot sauce as a little gimmick or a free consultation on 5 things they can fix about their website.
  • You might find some little piece of your process, some branded swag, or an offer that you’ve found compelling in the past that you can give away with minimum burden on your team to deliver.

Don’t forget to really think about your ideal customer and push to be at events where they exist. Think critically about what events your company is attending and question leadership if they are just shelling out the cash and showing up at events out of habit.

It’s your job to answer the big questions.

To question leadership.

To provide value and not let the organization get stuck.

If you’re just taking orders and not helping your company level up, then don’t expect to drive your income (and more importantly, your value) up in ways that are undeniable.

Just be constructive, and when you offer a problem,  offer a solution as well.

Courses to Level Up:

  1. Demand Metric – Event Marketing Training Course ($1,997)
  2. Bizzabo – Event Marketing: The 2020 Guide (Free)
  3. Marketing Profs – Event Marketing Course ($199)

Marketing managers share their most important tasks:

Generate qualified leads by generating interest & communicating the USP

“Generate awareness and interest in your company and your offerings. Communicate the unique selling proposition of the company to target audiences. Generate demand via qualified leads

Megan Loch, Sr Marketing Manager, Ecolab, Inc.

Levi Meyer - Marketing Manager

Managing staffers and contractors

In my personal role, it’s managing staffers and contractors who handle social media, paids, email campaigns, and events. I’m the 30,000 foot view guy looking at results and dictating strategy.

Levi Meyer, Buffalo Bill Center of the West

Traffic – SEO/PPC – 5 things you should do for SEO if nothing else. 5 Things You should do for PPC if nothing else.

I do think it’s huge to learn the basics of SEO + PPC no matter what. Perhaps even take a course and get into them for a little while.

As a marketer focused on search engine optimization, I can only say how important I think traffic (and specifically great traffic is), and probably everyone reading this understands that as well.

Suffice to say, you need eyeballs.

SEO & PPC bring eyeballs.

If you are in need of something to do in between delegating things, you can create content. You can invite people to be part of your content—and leveling up on content marketing and paid ads should be the first thing you do as a marketing manager starting out if you haven’t mastered them yet.

YouTube video

5 things you should do for SEO if nothing else

  1. Write Meta-titles and descriptions for your top 10 pages, and make sure those pages have 500 words or more.
  2. Submit your sitemap to Google with Google Search Console
  3. Do local directory listings – Use or even Fiverr!
  4. City or niche landing pages
  5. Write for another website with traffic and link back to your website.

4 Things You should do for PPC if nothing else

  1. Remarketing!
  2. The top 50 keywords that someone would google your services
  3. Your best video pitch for your services on Facebook + Youtube – make sure the first 7 seconds has your brand, your face, the problem you solve and your value proposition.
  4. Negative keywords

Courses to Level Up:

  1.  Udemy – Ultimate Google Ads Training 2020: Profit with Pay Per Click ($12.99 – a steal!)
  2.  Hook Agency – SEO Basics – Learn SEO For Beginners Quick (Free Article)
  3.  Udemy – SEO 2020: Complete SEO Training + SEO for WordPress Websites ($9.99)

Marketing managers share their most important tasks:

Create compelling content with SEO Strategies and drive sign-ups

“I am a content marketing manager, so my priority is creating compelling content with strong SEO strategies to drive traffic to our site. Our email newsletters are a huge driver of traffic for us, so that is one of my main focuses as well. I am also prioritizing driving signups from our blog with CTA banners, and focusing on adding them to our strongest SEO performers.”

Shelbie Watts, Content Marketing Manager, Homebase


Analytics – Types of analytics & data for every key platform, ways to improve your site based on Analytics, advanced techniques

Analytics are a core discipline as a marketing manager. You need to know how to track what is working well for your company, and that can be a combination of CRM analytics (perhaps Salesforce or Pipedrive) and Google Analytics, Search Console, and SEMRush or Ahrefs.

Whatever your platforms are, you should be mastering them.

The core questions you should focus on as you become a master are:

  • What is working well?
  • How can I attribute specific leads back to principles of what is working well?
  • How can I increase real efforts based on what is working well?

If nothing is working that well, what is your best guess on what will work well and how can I increase efforts there. Your industry and your core audience will define those things.

Once you have core data on what has worked well though, you should trust yourself and that data—not any course, consultant, or even guide like this.

Trust the data.

Ways to improve your site based on analytics

If you haven’t installed Analytics yet—obviously do that. But here’s a brief guide with Google Analytics.

  1. Track contact form submissions and phone calls and make changes to increase those in the design and development of the site, or delegate.
  2. Figure out where your traffic is coming from and identify how you can get more of it.
  3. Use Google Search Console to figure out what terms people are searching for. Then look for ways to increase that traffic with deeper content and earning links to those pages.
  4.  Find out where people are dropping off the site in Google Analytics > User Flow, and find improvements for those pages.
  5. Get attribution by looking at ‘Reverse Goal Path’ and finding which pages are driving conversions, and prioritizing those as low hanging fruit, to improve design and content, doubling down on what’s working.

We asked marketing managers – “what tools could you not live without” – This is what they said:

  1. SEMRush
  2. Google Analytics
  3. Google Search Console
  4. Google Data studio
  5. Moz
  6. HubSpot
  7. Project Management Tools (Wrike, Asana, Trello)
  8. SharpSpring
  9. Slack
  10. Salesforce
  11. Hootsuite
  12. ActiveCampaign
  13. Screaming Frog
  14. Google Ads
  15. Adobe Suite / Adobe Creative Cloud
  16. Microsoft Teams
  17. Cosential
  18. WordPress
  19. PathFactory
  20. Ahrefs
  21. WordPress
  22. Facebook / Instagram
  23. WordStream
  24. DemandJump
  25. Google Sheets
  26. Canva
  27. Mailchimp
  28. Sprout Social
  29. Grammarly
  30. ZoomInfo
  31. Marketing Cloud
  32. ManyChat
  33. Intercom
  34. 3rd party graphic/video design services
  35. Constant Contact
  36. Calendly
  37. Excel
  38. Supermetrics
  39. Stock photos
  40. Tableau Slack
  41. Buzzsumo
  42. Google Tag Manager

Courses to Level Up:

  1. ConversionXL – Technical Marketing Mini-degree
  2.  Udemy – Google Analytics Course, Get Certified in One Day ($13.99)
  3. Berkeley X – Products, Distribution & Sales ($249)

Marketing managers share their most important tasks:

Taylor Winn, Amazon Fresh
Create compelling content with SEO Strategies and drive sign-ups

“In my role, campaign management, data analysis, and optimization have been central tasks. Ensuring the campaigns feature the correct content is step one, understanding how your customer/user is responding is step two and making changes to improve is step three.”

Taylor Winn, Sr. Vendor Manager


Public Relations  – PR Basics, 5 ways small businesses can crush at PR, mixing social, PR, & strategic partnership

P.R. is not easy in my experience. It takes a long-term mindset. I’ve been able to be featured on the local NBC news station, and had smatterings of run-ins with big influencers and being featured on content but have run a little dry with ‘big time mentions.’ That being said, we’ve made a habit of being mentioned. Here’s how to get in that groove and why.

The reason every marketing manager should be at least moderately aware of P.R. is that it borders on WOMA, or Word of Mouth Advertising. And when P.R. goes bad, it can be very bad.

Just like reviews, the best combatant against bad P.R. is good P.R. So just like you should be trying to get a review a month and incentivize your team to get 5-star reviews, you should be creative about how to get into news stories. Besides just classic, big-time P.R., you can pitch the media, put out press releases, and be involved in charitable work.

Beyond just the P.R. aspect of being involved in charity. My favorite part of this type of effort is the positive impact it has on the psychology of your team. “Internal marketing” is something I think about a lot. Providing swag, an educational course a quarter, and volunteering and donating all help our team have a better mindset and help us start down the path of our long term vision of making the community around us better.

But how about the nitty-gritty? What can you do now for your Public relations as a marketing manager?

PR Basics that everyone should have down

  1. Make sure you have your story straight.
  2. Create lists of time-sensitive tips around holidays or big events.
  3. Sponsor and participate in community and charity events.
  4. Use Google Alerts to do ‘social listening’ and be part of the discussion when your company is mentioned.
  5. Send out at least one press release a year about something newsworthy your company is doing. Here is a template from Hubspot + here are services for distributing that.

3 ways small businesses can step up their PR game

  1. Make a media kit and reach out to local channels pitching segments that would be useful to their audience. The best distribution is making friends at publications and local stations.
  2. Find the influencers in your niche and/or location and involve yourself with them.
  3. Use HARO (Help a Reporter Out) or PRWeb to make pitches directly at journalists.

Mixing social, PR, & strategic partnerships

The ultimate PR strategy is mixing and matching all of these things.

If your company doesn’t have 3 other companies with an audience or influencers you regularly collaborate with, you should.

Be useful to them—figure out what your company has to offer and help.

Once you’ve built these relationships, get in a rhythm of creating content together—do events, leverage each other’s social media, and create a ‘council’ that can be useful to your combined ‘tribe.’

You can create a ‘tribe council’ (we call ours the guardians) that promotes together:

  • You can create content in the form of podcasts and videos that get turned into social media clips and micro social media content like quotes. You can tag them, comment, and hype each other up.
  • You can do events together, review each other’s courses and events, and you can tag each other in groups, and promote each other without looking like you’re ‘self-promoting.’ You can be good PR for them.
  • You can create referral agreements (or keep it informal), you can feature them in your course or content, and tell the world about their courses and promotions when it’s time.

First, start with 10 key strategic partnerships, and then identify your ‘dream 100’ to go after and come up with 5-10 steps to deepen the relationships. Don’t worry about how you’re going to get paid back. Put out goodwill into the world—especially in a niche, and it will come back to your company in the form of business.

Not good enough for your boss? Get a new boss. This is the game of P.R. and strategic partnerships, and frankly, marketing. Try it with 10 partners and see if the referrals you get don’t increase.

Courses to Level Up:

  1.  Udemy – The Ultimate Public Relations Masterclass  ($10.99)
  2.  Lynda – Public Relations Foundations – includes Media Training (Lynda subscription – $25 a month)

Marketing managers share their most important tasks:

Public Relations, messaging, and writing

“Juggling. Performance management, coordinating deliverables, developing messaging/writing, website/persona stuff, retargeting, PR”

Pete DeOlympio, Senior Marketing Manager at Cambridge Healthtech Institute


Wrapping up – Time for Take-Off

Though my time was somewhat brief as purely a marketing manager, I did get a 20k raise during that process. What did I do to get that raise?

It was simple.

I asked my boss what they wanted.

Here’s the exact script and what to do:

“What would I have accomplished in the next 6 months that would make my value undeniable?”

“Yes, and what else?”

“And what else?”

All the while writing what they say down and trying to make the goals as ‘S.M.A.R.T’ as possible.

Specific – Measurable – Actionable – Realistic – and Time-bound.

Shoot for 5-10 key metrics THAT YOU REALLY HAVE CONTROL OVER.

Don’t let them pin you to stuff you can’t affect. Focus on MQL’s – Marketing Qualified Leads. And make sure that what a marketing qualified lead is clear cut and your salespeople can agree on that criteria too.

The #1 Skill to Master to Drive Your Income up as a Marketing Manager

The #1 skill is not:

  • Having copywriting knowledge
  • Being a bad-ass SEO and keyword strategist.
  • Learning persuasion, dabbling in sales, and perfecting your offer at in-person events.
  • Being a killer designer.

Although, I could say all of those really facilitate being an amazing marketing manager and could significantly help your career if you work on them.

You may not want to hear this – but the #1 skill is having the discipline to actually DO THE WORK DAILY

Knowing your strengths and being an actual DOER – meaning you spend 3-4 hours a day on the activities you’ve seen in the past drive up leads

I still play the marketing manager role on our team, so for me, that’s working on killer content, creating videos, and collaborating with referral partners on content, as well as copywriting on social media in a way that supports those referral efforts – and PRESSING PUBLISH.

I know some people will disagree with defining a marketing manager role as a DOER.

But then again, is it really great content if people don’t disagree with it?

Final tip: Identify a ‘point of view’ for your content that maybe is even a little bit ‘spicy’ or provocative, and build that into every piece of content your company puts out.

Ours is that most marketing agencies focus too much on fluff, “warm and fuzzies,” brand and strategy, and not enough on the marketing actions that actually get results = like writing content, design, and development, and link-building to get higher on Google and hook better leads.

Disagree? Great. Comment below on why I’m wrong. 😉 Frankly, that will drive this post up in the algorithm and create constructive discussion. I’d rather be honest than avoid controversy.

Agree? We’d love to be a partner to your company as you create systems around what drives leads. Send us a message now to get started – if we’re not the right fit right now, we’d love to connect with you a marketing agency or freelancer that aligns with your goals.

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