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Experience Today’s Marketing Manager Needs

Category : general marketing


Juggling ActI found myself recently in the position of backfilling a position that I held as a small business Marketing Manager. Not only was I overly picky about selecting candidates to interview, but I found myself amazed at the amount of experience for which I was looking. Today’s small business Marketing Manager position has evolved into so much.

This is not your large company marketing group. We don’t have a group for web marketing, a group for developing sales campaigns and related marketing tools, a group for print advertising, and on and on. I found myself looking for someone that has a little experience in alot of things rather than someone that was specialized in one area of marketing.

Now, if you are specialized don’t freak out about what I’m writing. Larger companies, agencies, and self-employed marketing professionals are all excellent locations for someone that has specialized. I’m writing from the small business perspective and what I need in that role. Here are some of the major elements of experience for which I was looking:

  • Content Writing: I wanted someone that had exhibited writing experience. That could be white papers, application notes, web content, ad copy, etc. Marketing starts with content!
  • An Understanding of SEM/SEO: I was not looking for someone that had proven experience optimizing a website. What I did want is someone who understood the concept and why optimizing web pages and paid search campaigns for search engines was so important in today’s marketing mix. If they mentioned anything to do with keywords, they made it to the next round. Interesting note - one of the candidates was touting his Google Adwords experience so I turned my monitor around, handing him the keyboard and asked him to show my top performing ad group. He had no clue how to find that most basic element.
  • Lead Generation: I was betting I wouldn’t get this experience, but I actually did. I was happy to have candidates in for interviews that had displayed experience in lead generation campaigns. The best candidates talked about “Qualified” leads.
  • Exposure to Social Media: Oddly, this was tough to find. Maybe it’s because I’m so connected with social media that I expected to see more experience with some aspect of the communication medium. No one I interviewed had direct experience (I’ll be curious to see what two years down the road brings). But, the candidates that displayed and articulated the importance of social media in the marketing mix proved to me they were current. I will say that each of my final round candidates did invite me to hook up on LinkedIn. Very nice touch.
  • Sales Campaign Experience: It was important to me that the candidate had some experience in working with sales on sales campaigns.
  • Market Research: Everyone seemed to have this. But, many could not spell out the steps they took in their research.
  • Creativity: I needed some display of “out of the box” thinking. Something that would lead me to believe the candidate could lead us in new directions and challenge me in my thinking.
  • Ability to Learn: I’m not crazy – I didn’t expect to find every characteristic I listed above. But, I wanted the candidate to have some of the experience and proven track record for learning “on-the-job” and quickly.

I found the whole process very interesting. I never took a step back before to really put down on paper the experience that I thought the small business marketing manager should have. It’s a fun and exciting juggling act that at times can be stressful and at times be immensely gratifying.

Comments (18)

Too bad I don’t need a job. I think I am your man!

Sounds like an exciting and challenging job.

I think those are all reasonable things to look for in a marketing manager today. I’d probably look for the same qualities were I in your shoes, Pat.

To my surprise, I have most of the skills you’re looking for! If I had more experience and I willingness to relocate, I’d considering sending you my resume.

Great punch list of skills the small business marketer needs to succeed. I would add data analysis as crucial skill set for the new marketer. The ability to track the effectiveness of campaigns is a big shift for small businesses. Someone who can sift through this information and make clear decisions is very valuable.

In my previous experience, generating leads can be a tool to help you make loads of money. Esp those lead which has no obligations and just require a simple registration.

I made a couple of thousands from generating leads alone.


I think you have hit on each of the key points needed to run an online business. I am new to internet marketing and I have enjoyed the roller coaster ride of learning – ti sounds like you have to. James Brausch has helped me a long tremendously and still is. He has some great software like Artemis Pro that automate some of the points you hit on. Thanks for your post it is great.

A fun juggling act indeed! That is to be expected when taking on such a stressful and rewarding job.

I had previously tried buying leads & although many sites promise you a close rate of twenty percent or more that isn’t always the way it works. I have been generating organic leads through article writing. I used Glyphius to go over my resource box & Artemis Pro to send them out. As a beginner it certainly takes a while to follow all the steps listed in the blog but once you have your business rolling & everything is in place it is certainly nice not to answer to a boss anymore. :-)

Your quest to fill the position sounds very interesting. Since I freelance and have never worked for someone other than the client who has no clue about marketing, I was curious where I stood compared to others. From your examples, it sounds like the answer is not too bad.

You covered pretty well all the basics here but is missing the most important ones:
Do they like doing this? Are they passionate about this job? What blogs and sites do they read daily? Are they willing to improve every day?
Because if you don’t wake up every day hungry for being better it will be just another job, right?
That is the part I like to discover in people if I would try to hire someone.

I was just reading a blog by James Brausch a successful internet marketer about how when he interviewed people for positions he realized how silly it was because it really may not be relative. He runs an internship that allows him to check out the actual work before extending any type of offer. I think the points you hit on are accurate. I have signed up to receive your emails. Thanks

Ability and pleasure to learn and accept advices from other people is the most important requirement for a job in this field. There are too many people who believe they know it all and can’t accept any advice.
That can be so frustrating..

You hit the nail right on the head… the small business Marketing Manager does in fact wear an insane amount of “hats”.

He or she must be extremely well-rounded, very resourceful, and able to work with relatively tiny budgets.

On the Content Writing bullet, I’d probably add something about copywriting experience and look for someone who understands teachings of well-known copywriters like Caples, Hopkins, Kennedy, etc.

On bullet two, you are SOOOO right on about people BS’ing about Google AdWords and PPC experience. I’ve seen people who’ve passed Google’s certification exam who didn’t grasp the basics of organizing a campaign.

The social experience is an interesting issue as well. The toughest part with Exposure to Social Media is that in SO many cases the jury is still out on the business ROI with social media as a category. Nevertheless blogs like LonelyMarketer.com are a bare minimum necessity for any small company’s marketing plans.

The one thing I look for that I didn’t see on the list:
Sense of Humor

It’s very tough to thrive under pressure and come up with effective campaigns if you find someone who’s wound up too tight.


Joshua Feinberg

I find that while management is largely people management, a marketing manager (especially an online marketing manager) should have a strong project management background. I like to be confident that whoever’s managing will be able to take a project from the concept stage and see it through to the end, true to the original vision. Anything of substantial complexity that they were responsible for, really.

I’m really glad I stumbled on to this post. I’m a small business manager with all the skills you list above.

I’m planning on emigrating from South Africa to the UK later this year so I’ve been applying for jobs and sending out my resume.

Pretty much every single recruiter is coming back to me with the same remarks: “You’re not what our clients are looking for.” Rather than a diploma and 14 years of frontline marketing success they want someone with a marketing degree and the ability to create business plans.

All of this is leaving me feeling pretty despondent. Maybe I need to change tact and start looking at small business employers directly.

Recruiters obviously follow a structured list of qualities, none of which seem to include what you’ve outlined.

Isn’t that the beauty of a job like this? So many challenges yet so many rewards. It’s surely not for everyone…

I used to come from an MNC and will agree with you that many marketing specialists in large scale organisation do NOT possess the kind of skillsets that a small business marketing specialist is required to perform. In fact, things changes so fast in the marketing world that if one is not tapping into the online world, then i would boldly say that their strategies are of ancient days and not very competitive.

Looking at your list, to be honest, i believe it should be definitely longer than that..:)

You are very right but “real life” doesn’t need such persons. It is my bitter experience and I almost know everything which you have explained. You know I have to wander almost 6 months to find a job but everyone wanted a person who will be expert at all. It is possible that someone would know all of them but it is almost impossible that a person will be expert at all and will be finding a job, because, He/She supposed to be the owner of own ventures.