Are you a new marketing manager?
For starters, keep in mind that pretty much everything you do will be seen by customers. That's the nature of your job, after all.
As a result, you carry a lot of weight on your shoulders. Many members of upper management are likely to think that the success of the company hinges on your work.
Don't let it bother you. Instead, let it inspire you to do a great job.
Here's your checklist for success.
1. Continue Marketing Yourself
You're obviously at least moderately successful at marketing yourself, otherwise you wouldn't have landed the job. Now is not the time to stop promoting your own personal brand.
Why? Because you're first and foremost a sales rep.
If you don't come across as someone who knows how to win friends and influence people, you're not likely to be viewed as a success.
That's why you should dress the part, learn how to work a room at conferences, stand out in meetings, and never eat alone.
If you keep yourself in a marketing state of mind, you'll find that you can do your job much better.
2. Know Your Company
Another way to be successful: know your company, inside and out.
First of all, make sure you understand the mission of your company. It's amazing how many people work for a company and don't even understand its mission.
Some of those people are in management.
Don't be like that. Know your company's mission statement and make sure to define all your initiatives with an eye towards fulfilling that mission.
Also, take a look at the company's history. Which of its past marketing strategies have been successful? More importantly, which ones haven't been successful?
Capitalize on previous successes. Learn from the mistakes of others as well.
Next: get to know the company's sales cycle. How long does it take to close a sale on one customer? How much does that cost? Where do leads generally come from?
Also, take a look at the existing marketing channels that the company is using. What are its online and offline strategies? Are there any inefficiencies that need to be addressed? Where is the company lacking in getting out its marketing message?
Also, consider the tools that you have available. How can you use those tools to help the company achieve greater success? What tools do you still need to do your job?
3. Know Your Customer
Far more important than knowing your company is knowing your customer. If you don't understand the people in your target market, you're almost guaranteed to fail.
Take a look at the existing customer base. Grab all the data you can on the people who've already made purchases.
Do the customers share common interests or demographics? What other traits are common?
Once you've got that data, it's a great idea to create buyer personas. Those are realistic representations of people who are likely to make a purchase. They're invaluable when it comes to segmenting your market.
Pro-tip: if you really want to know your customers, handle support calls for a little while. Jump on a support line and let callers tell you what's right and wrong with your company.
It's possible you'll learn more by interacting with customers than with all the market research in the world.
Keep in mind that you'll also be able to use the info you glean from your support experience to fine-tune your buyer personas.
4. Know Your Competition
It would be so nice if your company had a monopoly on the product or service it's selling. Unfortunately, that's probably not the case.
You're going to have to deal with competitors. One of the smartest things you can do as a marketing manager is to get to know those competitors very well.
Why? Because, as Sun Tzu said: "If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles."
Start by looking at the marketing strategies of your competitors. Some of that should be easy to find because, after all, your competitors ad campaigns are publicly visible.
Are some of those strategies more successful than others? More importantly, are some of those strategies more successful than what your company is currently doing?
Learn what you can from your competitor's campaigns. Imitate the best ones as much as possible without running afoul of intellectual property violations.
Keep in mind that you should try to understand everything your competitors are doing to close sales. That means their online, offline, and PR strategies.
5. Set Goals and Reach Them
One of the first things you should do as a new marketing manager is set goals. Then, you should reach them.
It's very important that you reach your goals. That's going to give you some level of prestige within your own organization.
To that end, make sure you set goals that are attainable. If you just reach for the sky and miss, then you're going to be viewed as someone who doesn't deliver.
6. Walk the Tightrope
As marketing manager, you have to strike the right balance between keeping upper management happy and making sure customers are satisfied.
That might be challenging at times. That's why you have to work on marketing your own approach to executives while promoting your company's brand to its market.
Learn to keep both sides happy and you'll succeed.
7. Stay Well-Read
Marketing is an art as well as a science. You and your team need to generate creative ideas that will resonate with potential customers.
To that end, you need a healthy imagination. That's why you should be constantly reading.
Study the great advertising campaigns of ages past. Is there anything in them that you can work into your own campaigns?
Learn from the great marketers of today and yesterday. You'll likely find inspiration for some of your own strategies.