The annual review. The once a year emotional and psychological career gantlet faced by marketing managers and marketers alike. However, it doesn’t need to be a harrowing experience. Rather than allowing HR and your boss to dictate your performance review, own the narrative and turn your annual review into an opportunity to tell your story on your terms and get the raise you deserve.
All it takes is understanding three points of view – that of your boss, your client, and your employer.
1. Understand What Your Boss Cares About
Your boss cares about how you affect her job. Is having you on her team making her executive role as Chief Marketing Office (CMO) easier – or does your performance not have a high impact on her performance? If it’s the latter, you’re going to need to step it up and evolve in your role. For those of you who have evolved, this is what your capacity as an employee probably is going to look like to your CMO:
A. You’re able to self-manage
As a marketing manager, you’re probably responsible for all campaigns, strategies and communications. You’re able to self-regulate in that role and don’t require a high level of guidance from the CMO. High-profile marketing managers are those who can collaborate with CMOs, but who don’t require direction from them.
B. You’ve expanded your department
Whether it’s sourcing additional opportunity for revenue, customizing services or creating a process flow, marketing managers due for a substantial raise are superstars who have done all these things.
When you’re sitting across the table from your CMO, know that she measures your impact upon her ability to act as CMO. Over the course of the year, you’ve excelled in handling multiple projects without missing a beat. Some of the best marketing managers are handling upwards of a dozen to two dozen client accounts while also managing brand campaigns and overseeing the professional development of the team for which they’re responsible.
2. Understand What the Clients Care About
Clients are an entirely different breed in that their main priority is how effectively you serve them – and how you make them feel about working with your company. Successfully dealing with clients is equal parts service and rapport. Clients are going to want to see that you understand them and can reflect their vision through your campaigns. They want you to be prompt, consistent, innovative and pushing the envelope to help increase their visibility.
Bringing your client relations and track record to your annual review is a tricky maneuver since it’s not a tangible asset. Sure, you can show how you’ve helped clients grow and expand their reach, but what ultimately matters here is how clients feel about you. Do they like working with you? Have they said any positive words throughout the year? Does your boss recognize that clients experience seamless communications with you? These are all signs of a happy client – and that sentiment is what you bring to the table at your annual review.
3. Understand What Your Employer Cares About
Here is what do care about: your raise. However, to get your raise, here is what you need to care about:
Understanding the Difference between Your Boss and Your Employer
Understanding who owns the company. Your boss (the CMO) is not the decision-maker. At best, your boss can act as your advocate. The ultimate decision, however, rests with your employer. Far from your advocate, your employer is a high-level thinker. As the owner of the company, this means he’s looking beyond your day-to-day tasks. What he does care about is your value to the business.
While your boss is looking to build a team to help her reach her department goals, your employer is looking to grow the company. When evaluating your value, he’s going to be determining how you contribute to that growth. You may be performing well with clients and various accounts, but those are task-oriented accomplishments. What you need to concern yourself with is moving beyond tasks and looking at goal-oriented actions.
Understanding Your Employer’s Goals
To be goal-minded through the year, meet with your CMO and employer early in the year to set some benchmarks that would determine your success. Of course, nothing stays the same throughout the year, especially in your role. However, you can still use that to your advantage during your annual review.
You can also see your annual review as an opportunity to survey a broad span of time and determine how priorities might have shifted or expanded through the year. If this is the year you’re asking for a substantial raise that goes beyond the standard 5% increase, then take a moment to plan ahead and strategize how you’ll present your value to your employer. Consider the following:
- How have the needs of the company evolved over the last year or since you took on a managerial role? Ask yourself how have you adapted to those changes, or have you been the one to evolve the company or your department in some capacity? You can demonstrate your value if you can show that you’ve grown in your role or that you’ve used to the role to help grow the company.
- Does the company face any growth obstacles that you’ve helped overcome? Are there any upcoming hurdles or gaps that you’re going to be vital in helping the company cross?
To make an effective impression during your annual review, you need to do your homework and strategize a compelling argument for your case. Your annual review isn’t just a performance check and a green light to ask for a pay raise. Rather, if you’ve been winning all year long, then this is the time to present your story and get the raise you deserve.
How do you control the narrative during your annual review? Share your tips in the comments below.
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