Good Marketing Manager / Bad Marketing Manager*

12 08 2014

good badGood Marketing Manager’s (MM’s) know they can influence results and they measure the impact. They measure everything, followers, traffic, social mentions, inbound leads and other metrics, but they know the only one that matters has a $.  They are disciplined with their time and use data to help make decisions. Bad MM’s have no time or data.

Good MM’s influence the product, they get involved. They work with producers to influence the agenda, topics, speakers, workshops and even the social events. They take the time to learn about the customer and the industry and use that knowledge to build powerful marketing strategies and deep buyer persona’s. Bad MM’s blame the product.

Good MM’s know the products benefits, but they craft a story. They create content that adds value to the community even if they don’t attend. They take the initiative to create communication pieces and work with producers to refine it.  Good MM’s understand the nuances of all communication channels and tailor the message accordingly. Bad MM’s focus on the speakers, the topics and a discount, then repeat again and again in a different order.

Good MM’s seek out win-win partnerships with difficult to get organizations. They pick up the phone and speak to the partners, if possible they go and shake their hand. They use empathy and industry understanding to create strategic alliances with associations, sponsors, speakers and the media. Good MM’s find the influencers and engage them. Bad MM’s send two emails and wait for a response.

Good MM’s work with sales to create powerful sales funnels that generate quality leads. Good MM’s understand the sales pipeline, they partner with the sales exec’s to understand the objections and then create highly relevant engaging content that can help convert prospects. Bad MM’s don’t know their sales exec’s name.

Good MM’s are passionate marketers, oracles of information and sage advice, colleagues from inside and outside marketing seek them out. People want them on their teams, they do more than marketing, they take ownership and pride.

Good MM’s are ideas people, but they also know how to execute. Good MM’s seek out inspiration from all forms of marketing, art, science and life. They are generous with their ideas and apply their inspiration to the communication strategy, constantly innovating and testing.  Good MM’s understand process and how it helps execution, but they also know when to follow it and when to adapt it.  Bad MM’s hide behind templates and processes.

Good MM’s are valuable members of any team and colleagues for life.

* This post was inspired by The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz. One of the best business books I have ever read and recommended for any Marketing Director, General Manager, Managing Director or CEO. You can also read more about that inspiration here at Ben’s blog.

Most Marketable Skill

23 05 2014

ownershipI do a lot of interviews, on average at least 2 a week. Sometimes for an open role, but often just looking for talent we may need one day in the future and sometimes to see what exciting things other marketers are doing! I was recently asked what I consider to be the most valuable marketable skill. What is it that I think is essential for success in today’s job market? The skill that I feel is the most important, and why it’s so indispensable for people going into the workforce. To me that skills is:


You have take ownership. I know it may not be perceived as a skill, but basically I think ownership means:

  • You go beyond your job description, shed light on the gray areas, and help the team reach the goal.
  • You go the extra mile for customers and colleagues.
  • You have passion for what you do, and make sure you are always learning and listening for new ways to improve.
  • You always spend money (or allocate budget/expenses) as if the money was yours. If you owned the company would you spend the money on this activity?
  • It’s about taking pride in your work!

If you feel like you can’t own the project or job then find something else, because your lack of interest will show up in the way you walk between meetings, they way you discuss challenges with your colleagues and ultimately in the results!

It’s telling that in a business context you can always tell instantly when the owner is in the conversation. One of my lecturers at University (a long time ago) once told a story that has always stuck with me.  She once ran her own restaurant and she felt none of her staff wiped down a table the same way she did, and that it essentially came down to the fact that she ‘owned’ the table, she viewed it as hers, and as a result, she wiped it cleaner and showed that extra level of care and passion for doing even these simple tasks. It shows!

Choosing one word is always difficult. I could have easily gone with leadership, initiative, grace, passion, sharing, learning, resilience or any other number of skills which I also think are important. But ultimately I think taking ownership of your role, project, team or development embodies all these things. It also makes you more valuable to a team!


31 07 2012

Lot’s of people like to talk about ‘it’, as in she just gets ‘it’, or he doesn’t get ‘it’, but no one knows exactly what ‘it’ is…

I think ‘it’ is many things:

  • Bringing passion to what you do… everyday. (Hint: Turning up isn’t enough)
  • Truly listening to your colleagues and other people’s point of view. You don’t have to agree but you have to listen and understand.
  • Understanding customers experience with your event and your marketing.
  • Not being the expert… always learning… trying new things… challenge all assumptions.

I work with lots of cool people who get ‘it’, understand ‘it’, and try to apply ‘it’ everyday, ‘it’ makes ‘it’ fun!

Generation Flux

15 01 2012

Fast Company Magazine is a great read if you don’t read it you should. I finally got around to reading this article from the last issue called “This is Generation Flux: Meet The Pioneers Of The New (And Chaotic) Frontier of Business” and it struck a chord.

For anyone starting their career out in the event business I think it has a couple of key messages that can help anyone deal with the rapid pace of change associated with event marketing and management.  Change is the only constant in the event business. And for existing managers in the business I think the article points to a number of challenges we face in finding, developing and retaining talent in this new chaotic world.

In the article Robert Safian defines Generation Flux as more an attitude than an age and it’s an important differentiation. As the attitude is key to survival in this era of fast paced changed. The changes are fuelled by technology (the web, mobile, gaming and social etc) and more access to information than ever before forces us to be constantly thinking and adapting to whats next. How do you thrive when disruption is everywhere? I think a couple of things become more critical than ever:

  • Business model innovation – Companies must adopt innovation in all it’s aspects and create ways to test outside the normal controls
  • Adopt a test, fail, test, fail, test, succeed mentality
  • Embrace team work and a matrix org charts that empowers team leaders
  • Become ‘Skill hoarders” and embrace/develop a four year career path. Set up new employees for a powerful 2 -4 year development and management experience
  • Embrace technology in all it’s aspects, do not limit its access
  • As individuals – Seek a variety of experiences, move into different topics, and different roles

There’s no doubt a lot more to this list, and IQPC addresses many of these problems through our Academy and Leadership Development programmes. We could always do more, and should, and will, but I also think individuals have to realise this new reality and embrace it.

The Age of Ruthless Prioritization

15 07 2011

A colleague recently forwarded me this great article by Ron Ashkenas on HBR, entitled “When Managing Complexity – Less is More”. I believe that with the help of social media revolution (and the internet) we have entered a new age of complexity (or just lack of control) in conference marketing. Gone are the days of sending brochures to 10,000 people, finding out which lists work and sending more brochures to these list again, then repeating again and again and again. We now have twitter, facebook, linkedin, you tube, online PR, web analytics, email (and more email), SEO, PPC SEM, PPC advertising, banner advertising, bloggers and multiple other new forms of communication to get our message out. All of which we have embraced, and in most cases, all of which have their own unique form of measurement (or mystery) which is often only loosely tied back to a meaningful impact on our events.

As Ron articulately points out that “The reality is that without ruthless prioritization, smart workers will always identify new opportunities, therefore perpetuating a cycle of increasing activity that is difficult to break”. That’s what all these very smart event marketers are doing! We live (& market) in interesting times and we are in desperate need of ruthless prioritization, as Ron points out we need to do less, not more.

For event marketers, I think ruthless prioritization involves:

  • Developing ‘purple cow’ events
  • Focusing on ‘remarkable’ content tailored to delegates needs and different levels of the advocacy ladder, customer funnel or product life cycle to drive inbound enquiries
  • Developing one delegate acquisition (DA) strategy coordinating all activities and a separate sponsor acquisition strategy
  • Owning our keywords – We have to own our keywords and give great directions to our websites
  • We have to get the entire event team to be more active on social networks
  • Test, Test, Test – Continue what works and abandon what doesn’t
  • Measuring absolutely everything we do!

According to Ron “the number one problem facing managers today is complexity”, how much time do you spend working out what you can stop doing?

Are you committed?

19 05 2010

On my walk to the NY office this morning I stopped off for a coffee and saw this old, but wise quote:

“It’s like ham and eggs. The chicken is involved. But the pig is committed.”

So which are you? Pig or Chicken?

Enthusiasm is contagious

6 04 2010

Just watched this great Tom Peters video on BVO. I’m huge fan of Tom Peters, I haven’t read enough of his stuff, but what I have read is excellent, his blog is great, very insightful on Marketing, leadership and being ‘remarkable’ all done with incredible wisdom.

The video is full of highlights including:

  • When he talks about hanging out with freaks – How we need to challenge ourselves and allow others to challenge us. I love the analogy of going to lunch with the same people all the time…you learn nothing, ask someone in your office you don’t know that well and see what you learn.
  • Leaders are rarely the best performers, but they must be able to support the best and deal with all the personality issues that come with the best.
  • Nothings is as contagious as enthusiasm – It’s the most important trait in leadership.
  • Leaders are responsible for painting portraits of excellence; they are dealers in hope…
  • Experience is the brand… we forget this a lot in events, I often say “we live and die by our last event”, people often take this wrong way, but what I mean is if we have a good event, people will remember it, the experience.  I once put together a year long media partnership with an industry association based solely on the colossal shrimp tower. There was more to it of course but this partner remembered the experience and wanted to be associated with brand.
  • Who’s the most interesting person you have meet in the last 90 days?
  • You must recruit talent and organisations must be cathedrals to talent.
  • Life is a learning experience…

Also this gem, damned if you, damned if you don’t, just plan damned!