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Characteristics of Effective Campaign Managers September 21, 2009

Posted by Mike Gospe in Integrated Marketing, Just for Campaign Managers, Marketing Operations.
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“I’m looking to hire a campaign manager to oversee our integrated marketing programs. What are the characteristics of the best campaign managers?”

I get asked this question a lot. Earlier in my career, I worked as a campaign manager at HP, Sun, and Ariba , so I’ve seen the good, bad, and the ugly. I’ll be up front with you and say that I’ve made my share of mistakes along the way. That experience opened my eyes to the marraige of marketing expertise with an appreciation for internal politics.

The biggest challenge campaign managers have is that they have a purview over an integrated marketing campaign (aka the “big picture”) but no direct authority over the team players who will execute the campaign. They walk a tightrope between meeting the campaign goals while aligning and carefully guiding a team of folks who have other masters. With that in mind, the most effective campaign managers have these traits in common:

  • A recognized, well-rounded marketing leader familiar with the target market
  • Proven leadership experience in “managing by objective” Attentive to detail, but smart enough not to micro-manage
  • Diplomatic and politically savvy
  • Patient
  • A good facilitator, seasoned in active listening techniques
  • Excellent written and oral communicator (with the team, to upper management, and in front of the steering committee)
  • Knows when and how to provide constructive feedback in real time during team meetings; knows when and how to provide direct feedback in one-on-one settings
  • Is prepared to make hard decisions and trade-offs for the greater good of the campaign
  • Most of all, doesn’t let their ego get in the way of sound recommendations

There’s art and science in this role. The science comes from understanding sound marketing best practices. More important than understanding the specific products being sold, the best campaign managers bring an awareness and appreciation for the customer and their business problems and opportunities. While they usually won’t know all the answers, their expertise comes in knowing the right questions to ask the team in order to define, architect, and execute the best, most effective integrated marketing campaigns. That’s the art.

Looking for more information on integrated marketing campaigns? Please see Chapter 7 in Marketing Campaign Development.

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