There’s more and more talk of marketing automation these days. But if the marketing automation manager job remains a mystery to you, here’s a firsthand account of what the role is all about.

One trend that emerged from this year’s Creative Team of the Future research was an increased need for workers who can tackle tasks that require creative and technical know-how. Marketing automation manager is a prime example.

The Creative Group Salary Guide defines the marketing automation manager as an individual who “administers marketing campaigns; tests and analyzes workflow, lead generation, lead nurturing and lead scoring; and identifies tactics for improvement. Marketing automation managers must be comfortable with customer relationship management software such as Eloqua, Marketo and Salesforce, and possess web development and digital design skills (HTML at a minimum).”

To learn more about this specialty, we caught up with Sandra Patterer, worldwide senior director of Marketing and Communications at Unisys. Her team is responsible for marketing automation and demand generation for the company, among a host of other marketing functions. Patterer began her career at an agency and moved in-house 15 years ago. For the past eight years, she has been focused on marketing in the IT space.

TCG: At a high level, what does leading a team responsible for marketing automation entail?

Sandra Patterer: Basically, I’m all about leads, leads, leads! Running events, working on email campaigns, executing nurture campaigns — whatever it takes to get B2B prospects interested in Unisys’ IT solutions. My goal every day is to use all of the tools in our marketing arsenal in ways that lead to strong opportunities for our sales team.

What might we find you doing on a typical day?

I focus on helping my teams move forward in any way I can — from event planning to campaign execution using our marketing automation tool to handling lead inquiries, I’m available to provide direction and support.

I also work closely with our solutions team. We collaborate on the creative side and together determine the types of assets for a campaign that will generate the strongest results. When we identify a successful program in the United States, we’ll work with other regions to launch it globally.

In addition, I manage the relationship with our televendor, whose goal is to identify marketing qualified leads and secure meetings.

What do you like most about your job?

When a campaign is successful for the company, we’re seeing strong leads come in and meetings set up, and the sales department is happy with the job we’re doing — that’s what gives me satisfaction. It’s also great when my team is recognized for the work that they are doing. But the best part of the job is mentoring.

I feel that I’m in a really great position to help the company succeed by growing our demand generation framework globally. When our sales team is successful, the company wins.

What’s the most challenging aspect of the role you’re in?

The biggest challenge is determining how marketing impacts the sales pipeline. We know when someone fills out a form, opens an email or registers for an event. Our goal is to track all activities we perform back to what leads to a won opportunity so that the company sees the value of the marketing contribution.

From your experience, what can managers do to make sure marketing automation managers on their team are challenged and satisfied?

The folks on my team are working with our marketing automation tool on a daily basis. To help keep them motivated, I show them the big picture and impact their work has on what we’re trying to achieve from a marketing perspective. It’s important that we’re linked with campaign plans strategically, all on board with the target and success metrics, and keeping everyone looped in from the beginning.

Can you recommend some resources for developing marketing automation skills?

To learn more about marketing automation, I suggest checking out American Marketing Association, Marketo, Oracle Marketing Cloud and SiriusDecisions.

Are you hiring marketing professionals? We offer flexible staffing solutions to meet your freelance, full-time and project needs. Check out our creative staffing solutions now!