Which Role Do You Need to Hire: Marketing Operations Manager or Project Manager?

Which Role Do You Need to Hire: Marketing Operations Manager or Project Manager?

Does your marketing department or organization need another manager? How many project managers is too many? And can’t you simply take on this role yourself, if you haven’t already? Though you may be a capable project manager yourself, and might even be capable of taking on additional work, it doesn’t mean that you should. Sometimes it’s wise to seek additional help.

Hiring the right manager can ensure that your business is profitable. By focusing on operations and helping to turn plans into action, managers can facilitate production, expedite the delivery of product, and implement marketing campaigns. The question then becomes, which type of manager is right for your business? Do you simply hire another project manager, or do you seek out someone who can take a holistic approach to your company’s operations?

Let’s take a look at two common executive marketing positions and determine which is the right choice for your business or marketing department.

Marketing Project Manager

A marketing project manager is responsible for executing only the specific projects he or she is assigned to. Primary responsibilities include establishing clear and manageable objectives, managing the risks attached to the project, communicating with the client and internal and external teams, and refining the requirements of the project as needed.

In practice, project managers are accountable for ensuring that the project stays on task, on time, and within budget. They track milestones and progress and provide updates to upper management and the client as the job progresses. Throughout the duration of a project, the project manager will oversee the execution of various tasks, and monitor the performance of the team. He or she will report the successes and failures of the individuals involved to those concerned if needed. In plain terms, the project manager facilitates the implementation and execution of projects, be they large or small. Think of a project manager as a film director; not everything falls within their domain, but for those things that do, he or she has complete authority.

A good project manager has the foresight to focus on the uncertainties and risks involved in any project, and will foster an open environment where concerns and opinions can be freely expressed and addressed. His or her primary goals are client satisfaction and project completion.

Marketing Operations Manager

Unlike the responsibilities of a project manager, which tend to be outwardly focused and always in flux, the marketing operations manager maintains a consistent and ongoing function within your business. Rather than focusing on a single goal or project, the marketing operations manager has broader, more comprehensive responsibilities.

An operations manager maintains the productivity of your marketing staff through recruitment and employee onboarding, upholds a safe and consistent work environment, assigns staff to projects, and maintains work schedules. Operations managers lead the team on a regular basis and may assume responsibility for maintaining reference materials and mentoring subordinate staff. They need to stay tuned into the current culture and best practices of the industry and then evaluate their current marketing strategies against future objectives.

If a marketing project manager is the film director, then the marketing operations manager is the film producer. Though the responsibilities may be less focused, they are no less vital. Whereas a project manager will primarily be focused on external projects – that is, projects on behalf of clients – your operations manager should be concerned with the internal operations of your company’s marketing department.

So Which Do You Need?

The difference between these two roles comes down to project longevity and scope. If you are seeking someone who can help implement a single project or multiple projects, then the marketing project manager is the role you seek. Often, this role can simply be transitioned from one project to the next as needed.

If, on the other hand, you have an ongoing need for leadership that goes beyond the scope of a single project, then a marketing operations manager will be a better fit for your organization. This role will be open-ended and calls for a full-time hire. Look for someone who can carve out a niche for themselves amongst your staff, and who can work closely with other management.

By hiring the right role, you’ll be on the path to finding someone who can help your company achieve its business goals.