Forewarned is forearmed – understanding today’s Marketing Manager
I spend a lot of my time discussing the subject of marketing with start-ups. This can be anything from providing a ‘Marketing Office hours’ session at Seedcamp to providing individual 1.1 mentoring to start-ups at Microsoft Ventures and Techstars. All conversations are different and are all (in their own unique way) very rewarding. However, over time, I have come to realise that the general understanding of the role of today’s Marketing Manager is very out-dated and in some cases, completely off the mark.
So what is it like to be a Marketing Manager? To help you understand how today’s Marketing Manager (your future customer) ticks, and the pressures that they are under, please find below 5 key insights into their world:
1. The Marketing Manager is ‘The GATEKEEPER’ to the Marketing purse.
Assistant Brand Manager, Brand Manager, Senior Brand Manager, Marketing Manager, Brand Director, Marketing Director – lots of titles, but who really holds the keys to the Marketing purse when it comes to new startup tech innovation? Answer: the Marketing Manager.
2. The Marketing Manager is a NUMBERS person
Today’s Marketing Manager has to be aware of where every penny of their budgets is going and will be required on numerous occasions to defend their investments internally.
As a startup don’t be fooled by big brand budget numbers and believe that vast amounts of funding is available for your product. Brand budgets are now heavily scrutinised and challenged on a daily basis – gaining access to funds is a lot harder than it used to be.
3. The Marketing Manager is the MADTech expert
Marketing Managers are now under incredible pressure to be the internal experts of the ever-changing tech scene. Firstly, they need to be aware of what tech is out there and secondly, they need to decide what is the best tech for their brand – both are huge tasks that take a lot of time, patience and a high element of risk taking.
If you can convince them that your tech is the answer to their problems and that they need to search no more, you will be saving them valuable time and effort, and you will also be helping them to reinforce their role as the company’s MADTech expert.
4. The Marketing Manager has lots of PARTNERS
A lot of startups that I speak to aren’t aware of one of the most crucial pieces of the brand jigsaw – the agency. Contrary to popular belief a brand team doesn’t do everything that is required for their brand. They have numerous agency partners to help them. These agency partners are (and in no particular order) the Media agency, the Creative agency, the Social Agency, the search agency, the experiential agency, the list can go on and on.
The point here is that if you are successful in gaining some business with a Marketing Manager, you will also be working with an allocated agency to help you (and the brand) deliver the project in hand. In summary, the Marketing Manager isn’t the only marketing person that you will need to build relationships with to be successful – far from it.
5. The Marketing Manager isn’t the only STAKEHOLDER involved
Finally, even if your meeting with the Marketing Manager goes really well and they seem very interested in working with you and your new technology, other internal stakeholders (eg. procurement, legal) may still have to be convinced and this can take some time.
Today’s Marketing Manager is a very different creature from years gone by. He /she has the responsibility of ‘gatekeeping’ ever scrutinised brand budgets and to do this, they need to more financially-savvy than ever before. They are also under tremendous daily pressure to keep up with new technology, to keep numerous agency partners aligned and at the end of the day, build and maintain good relationships with other internal stakeholders – what a job!
However, the one thing that all Marketing Managers have always had in common is a passion and love for the brand they represent – anything that can help their brand get ahead of the competition will always get their attention.
As the saying goes ‘forewarned is forearmed’. If you can show that you have empathy with the aforementioned Marketing Manager’s needs and also share a passion for their brand, you will definitely be a step ahead of your competition in gaining some brand work for your product – GOOD LUCK!