Oct 02, 2011 Written by 

To make it as a successful marketing manager, there are many traits that you need to have. It no longer is just about understanding and delivering in a marketing capacity, but more importantly being able to understand the fundamentals of business and have an ability to execute the company’s business plan from a sales and marketing perspective.

Marketing Managers today are very different to a marketing manager 10 years ago. While having an overarching capability to ensure that your team delivers the marketing plan as it was meant to be delivered, it is also equally as imperative to be kept up to date with the latest in marketing techniques, changes in economic and political environments and an ability to work closely in partnership with sales professionals.

Here are some characteristics that a successful marketing manager should possess:


A strong vision for what they want to accomplish for the brand in the short-term and long term and an ability to articulate this vision across multiple platforms and communications channels.

Strategic Thinking

Being able to develop a marketing strategy that is in line with the overall business strategy and ‘think’ strategically in all aspects of marketing is not only something that a Marketing Manager needs to possess – it is also a deal breaker. If a Marketing Manager is not a strategic thinker, then they are simply not a Marketing Manager and another role would be best suited to their capabilities. A Marketing Manager needs to have a firm understanding of market trends, be able to develop a targeted marketing strategy and meet company goals.

Business Acumen

The marketing department must understand and deliver on the overall company business plan. That means understanding the fundamentals and influencers of business. Knowing the market, what makes it tick, how it is going to develop, change and evolve is paramount. A successful Marketing Manager can drive business and improve growth through innovative business solutions.

Customer Centric

A successful Marketing Manager needs to be in bed with the customer. They need to understand every aspect of the customers’ traits, likes, dislikes and drivers. Being in bed with the customers means sharing the covers, adapting to habits that are not always appealing like snoring, and understanding each other’s sleeping patterns. It means knowing if the first thing the customers does in the morning is pick up their Blackberry or iphone or whether they wake in the middle of the night to have a drink or go to the toilet. All high level Marketing Managers walk in their customers shoes regularly to understand how it feels like to be the customer. They take on board feedback and adapt product and service delivery accordingly. A Marketing Manager also knows who to target and when with capabilities of finding the customer no matter where they may be hiding.

Brand Champion

Passion for your brand is a deal breaker. If you don’t love your brand, you can’t market it. Inspiring your team, customers and the market to love your brand is about inspiring them and seeing the passion alive in every single brand touch point.


A bit of personality goes a long way in marketing. When you speak with an entrepreneur or business leader and ask them about the personality of their favourite marketing manager, the answer will always be along the lines of 'having a great personality, straight-forward, strategic and a bit of fun'. Remember, as a marketing manager, you are not an accountant or lawyer. People expect you to be well presented, on top of your game, innovative and confident.

How does the traits of a marketing manager effect a small business owner?

When hiring a marketing manager, make sure they tick every item on this list. By hiring the right marketing manager, your business can grow leaps and bounds. It could be the difference from being where you are today, or being an industry leader. Just because you have a small business does not mean that you cannot have the best.

Talk through your dreams and aspirations as a business owner with your perspective marketing manager. Get their buy-in and inspire them to want to work for you not because they will be paid a certain rate, but because it is their dream too.

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Mellissah Smith

Mellissah Smith is a marketing expert with more than 20 years experience. Having founded and built two successful marketing companies internationally, she is well recognized as a industry thought leader and innovator. Mellissah started her career working with technology and professional services firms, primarily in marketing, public relations and investor relations, positioning a number of successful companies to list on the various Stock Exchanges around the world. She is a writer, technology developer and entrepreneur who shares her thoughts and experiences through blogs and written articles published in various media outlets. Brag sheet: #2 marketer to follow on Twitter (2003), Top 150 Marketers to Follow (2015), Top 10 innovative marketers (2014), 60K+ followers on Twitter with 97% authentic.

1 comment

  • Vib

    A marketing manager's role will vary depending on which industry you work in, which country you're in, size of the organisation and many other variables.

    A marketing manager definitely needs to meet customer requirements in a profitable manner.

    Another characteristic I think is vital is the ability to assist other departments in the business or atleast have some working knowledge of what everyone else does in the business. Because every department in a business is linked in some way or the other.

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