Today I want to talk about the five key skills of a marketing manager. Now, if you’re an individual contributor, that is you’re just one person and you’re working for the marketing manager, I’m really making this video for your boss. Also, if it’s just one of you, again this is not really for you. I want to make really clear, I want to talk about the skills of the manager of marketing needs.

Hi, we have met, I’m Hugh Macfarlane and I’m super passionate about B2B marketing and in particular I want to make B2B marketing a respected management science around the world. This video blog is a part of what I do towards that end, there are lots of others contributing of course. This my modest contribution to it.

Today, obviously, we’re talking about the five key skills of a B2B marketing manager.

So I googled the term ‘key skills of a marketing manager’ and I’m going to share with you some key conclusions to the four that I found and then I’m going to argue why they’re wrong and what it really needs to be.

So again, I googled these and the first that I found was from SAS and it’s called the ‘9-Skills Every Marketing Manager Needs to Look for’. Good start, right? Social skills, social media skills- Sorry, I’ll start again. Sales skills, social media skills, journalism/storytelling skills, process design, data/analytics, domain expertise. The person who put the blog together who had actually referenced those from somebody else added some softer skills including collaboration and exceptional communication, creativity and leadership.

The second one I found was from the University of Florida: ‘Five Essential Skills for the Future Marketing Manager’. Again, quite promising, right? Critical thinking, project management, analytical skills, holistic approach and technical skills. Makes sense.

Marketo, this is now a little bit older, 2010 I think: ‘The Top 5 Skills You Need to be a Marketable Marketer’. Good spin, I like it. Analytics, assessment, forecasting, sales and communications. I’d buy that list, it’s good work.

Writtent cheated a bit, they actually had opinions of lots of others which that assembled, that’s not really cheating, it’s a good idea. Anyhow, I’m choosing just one of their expert views. That one’s called ‘Expert Views on Top 5 Marketing Skills’. Again just one of the contributors to that said know your audience, be a good listener, be open to new ideas, be accurate but nimble and know what the competition is doing. I couldn’t disagree more. I don’t care what the competition is doing, focus on your buyer and that kind of leads to what I think the top five skills are.

But, I’m going to first just synthesis what I think the others have said. Obviously a bit of editorial licenses, this is my take on it. I think the five that they were referring to were analysis, selling, prioritization, story-telling, and technical skills. Technical skills are broad to, social media is an example, skills at executing the tactic, I think is the technical skills synthesis. It’s a very broad thing, you need to be able to do marketing automation, lots of technical skills, but I’ve backed them under one heading.

Now, the problem with all of that is that mostly they weren’t talking about the skills that the marketing manager needs, but the individual marketer. Great contribution, thank you, valid. The question I want answered is what are the five skills the marketing manager needs. That’s what I’m going to take a look at right now. Give you my five key skills of the marketing manager.

All right, so here are the five that I think you’ll need as a manager. Skill development. Go back to that list of skills; analysis, selling, prioritization, story-telling, and technical skills. You need the ability to develop those skills in the team. Now, it might be that you don’t necessarily have those skills in abundance yourself and that’s perfectly okay as a manager, you don’t have to be the best marketer. You’ve got to be the best manager. But you do need to be amazing at building those five skills. So what’s that really mean? Maybe you just have great sources of training. Maybe you’ve hired mentors. Maybe you’ve got people inside the company. Maybe it is you. I sort of don’t care, you don’t need to have been the hero marketer whose become the manager, you need to be a great manager and one way or another you need the ability to develop those skills. I synthesised them to five but if you’d like, go back to the list that the other contributors have offered, but you need to be great at building those skills in your team. That’s number one.

Number two. Selecting and deselecting talent with those same skills. That is the hiring and firing process but against those skills. Getting really, really, good through the interview process or the testing process or both, whatever your recruitment process looks like, getting amazing at picking for the capacity to acquire those skills or the presence of those skills, and getting really courageous at moving people out of the business if they’re not going to come up to those five skill areas that you’re going to provide. That’s number two.

Number three. Having a buyer’s perspective. If you’re a manager, imagine that your team are going to be somewhat between amazing and not yet amazing but on their way to amazing. You are going to have to get great at helping them to do one thing that probably they can’t do themselves and that is to take a buyer’s perspective. Everything that you as a marketer needs to be to move a buyer from somewhere to somewhere. So you’ve got to be great at reflecting back to the marketing person who you managed and say ‘that’s great but what effect is that going to have on the buyer? Is there another way to do it?’ So you personally do need to have a buyer’s perspective to overcome the fact that your staff are likely to be younger no necessarily but they will likely be less experienced or more narrowly experienced than you are. You’re going to have to bring the buyer’s perspective. I know that in a bit, but you need that in abundance.

Number four. Selling process. I know that’s in the skills that we need the marketers to have, but you too. You know that my audience is only B2B and I only care about your understanding of the entire process and the entire process involves selling, not just marketing, therefore you’ve got to be pretty deep in the selling process. Frankly, I prefer that you’ve actually sold for a couple of years yourself, but at least you need to be really close to the selling process inch to end, because again don’t expect your staff to have that at the same level that they need it in the business. So that’s the fourth thing.

Finally planning and measurement. You expected me to say that because I’m a planning and measurement guy but I actually think that a marketing manager needs to be amazing at working at what should be doing and working at what’s actually going on.

That’s it. That’s my take on the five key skills of a marketing manager. Now, if you like this blog, can I ask you to do two things. Firstly, share it with others. Tell anybody else that works for you, a colleague, or friend, let them know about this so they can enjoy the blog as well. Secondly, if you haven’t already, subscribe. Go to or go to our YouTube channel, details are on screen right now. Go to one of those and subscribe. We put these blogs out every week and it’s the only way you’ll get the weekly updates. Hope that’s been helpful. Bye for now.

That’s it. Hope you found that helpful. See you next week, until then may your funnel be full and always flowing.