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The role of the campaign manager: 5 key traits September 6, 2011

Posted by Mike Gospe in Just for Campaign Managers.
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A client recently asked me for some advice about hiring a seasoned “campaign manager.” Whether your organization has a formal role designed to manage integrated marketing campaigns, or you are a solo product manager trying to guide the organization, or you sit somewhere in between, these 5 traits are worthy of your aspiration.

I dusted this excerpt from an old article of mine. Feel free to add traits that have made a difference for you.

  1. They are experienced all-around marketing athletes with proven leadership abilities. Clearly, the best campaign managers understand how marketing works. They have deep marketing knowledge in at least one of the following areas: customers and target markets, marketing strategy creation, product knowledge, marketing expertise in a specific region, proven leadership in a marketing media type (such as field marketing or press relations). In addition, the best campaign managers bring marketing knowledge and political savvy to the role.
  2. They know when and how to delegate. Campaign managers take their success not from their own actions, but from the accomplishments of the team. They look for opportunities to involve others in mapping the campaign strategy. And in so doing, they encourage and nurture the team’s passion and energy.
  3. They are excellent in “managing upwards” and gaining and maintaining visibility for the team. Every business has its political nuances. The best campaign managers can spot these and keep the team out of trouble, while interfacing with management proactively and effectively. Team players look to campaign managers to resolve or escalate issues when required. Campaign managers are adept at managing the process so that the team players can do what they do best.
  4. They are accountable, but they don’t micromanage. This is a tricky balance because campaign managers are responsible for delivering the campaign strategy and plan, but they can’t build it alone. Their ultimate success is achieved by being a resource and guide for the team and ensuring that their collective contributions are aligned appropriately. When campaign managers cross the line and micromanage the execution of the specific activities and offers, team members may take offense and sabotage the process. To avoid this trap, the best campaign managers add value, not by dictating action, but by setting clear objectives and timelines and working to remove obstacles. They leave the execution of the details to the functional experts.
  5. They know how to manage their role as the campaign evolves. The best campaign managers always focus on the “big picture,” lead the charge, and then get out the way. When the go-to-market plan has been created and approved, the role of the campaign manager changes. Initially, the primary duties of the campaign manager are to unite a cross-functional team, guide strategic discussions with the team, and facilitate the development of the marketing plan. Once management approval for the plan has been granted, the campaign manager’s role shifts to focus on results and providing status updates and recommendations for campaign adjustments should market or business conditions change.

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