Marketing’s Unsung Heroes: 3 Key Takeaways from Our New Research on Marketing Managers & Directors

June 20, 2018 | Kirsten Lyons

You’ve read it in all of the year-end prediction blogs from Forbes to Entrepreneur that marketing is changing.

This existential anxiety marketers feel (and cope with in the only way we know how — blog posts) is reflective of a broader shift in our world, where we’re being held accountable to our companies’ bottom line instead of the more vanity-oriented engagement metrics of the past.

And this change, necessitating both strategic pivots and innovative execution, is felt most by marketing’s unsung heroes living at this intersection professionally: marketing managers and directors.

These often forgotten marketing movers and shakers are being pulled in a million directions, living between the C-suite demanding results and junior team members looking for guidance.

We teamed up with our friends at Heinz Marketing to learn more about these unsung heroes: How did they get where they are? Where are they going? What are their biggest struggles?

Check out some key findings below, and don’t miss the full report.


Who Are Marketing Managers and Directors?

After hearing from over 200 marketing managers and directors we learned:

  • Experience varies widely: While one-third of managers and directors have been in their role for over 10 years, half of respondents were firmly in the two-to 10 year category.
  • They are the keystone of marketing orgs: Over 70% of respondents had their roles developed specifically for them. This means these ambitious marketers are using the state of flux of the industry and their positions as springboards for growth.
  • They’re mentors: Nearly 70% of marketers at this level are people managers as well as marketing managers, developing their team while also executing alongside them.

With Marketing Power Comes Revenue Responsibility


While the actual metrics that marketers are judged against for their goals vary, a clear trend emerged: marketers today are increasingly tied to qualified leads and opportunities.

Whether they were judged on just sheer volume of marketing-qualified leads, marketing-qualified opportunities, or directly to revenue, three out of four of the most commonly tracked marketing metrics today are tied directly to driving lead quality not quantity.


Ready to learn more about marketing’s unsung heroes?

They are Usually Learning on the Fly

While goals are mounting, training for these unsung heroes is not following suit.

In fact, 90% of respondents received little to no formal training at all when they began their job, and 50% of directors and senior directors received no training at all.

These fearless marketers are figuring out what works as they go along, with little support and virtually no formal training.


A Hand in Everything

Marketing managers and directors are heavily involved in almost every single marketing activity their teams pull off, in both strategy and execution roles.

While they routinely work on both strategy and execution for most initiatives, those functions where marketing managers were most frequently involved in both were campaign management, with 64% of respondents responding affirmatively, and content marketing, where 53% of respondents do both.

And those figures are even higher for marketing managers and directors without any direct reports, with over 55% indicating they are responsible for strategy and execution on email marketing, marketing automation, content marketing, and campaign management.

Those stats are staggering when you consider the time that goes into both strategy and execution for all of these critical marketing activities, making these dedicated folks truly marketing’s unsung heroes.


Supporting Marketing’s Unsung Heroes

But what we learned about these scrappy, self-taught marketing powerhouses doesn’t end here.

How do these marketers find their way into these roles? Where are they heading next? And what does the research tell us the path to success look like for those who manage marketing managers and directors, aspire to be them, or are marketing’s unsung heroes?

Explore these questions and other key insights on marketing managers and directors in the full report, and get even more critical insight from the report’s authors in the webinar on June 28 ET.

Learn More about our Research on Marketing Managers and Directors

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