Is a career as a marketing manager right for you?

Marketing managers oversee every aspect of a business’s marketing efforts. And if you’re a creative go-getter with a knack for digging into data and analytics, then marketing management might just be the right place for you to shine.

Here’s what to know about this high-demand career, including marketing manager responsibilities and average pay, plus some helpful tips for getting started in the field.

What is a Marketing Manager?

First up, what does a marketing manager do?

Marketing managers take on a wide range of responsibilities related to the promotion of a product, service, or brand. Depending on the specifics of the role, a marketing manager job may entail work on a business’s entire suite of products and services, or it may be relegated to a single promotional item.

Regardless of the scope, it’s the marketing manager’s job to generate buzz, communicate information, and support the efforts of the sales team. They’re also tasked with managing a business’s customer retention and acquisition efforts. All of this is primarily accomplished through print and digital marketing campaigns, which the marketing manager must organize and optimize as needed.

Marketing Manager Job Description

A marketing manager creates, delivers, and tracks all promotional work related to the marketing of a product, service, or brand—or all three. Their job is both creative and strategic and requires careful oversight of a business’s marketing team, budget, and objectives.

Marketing Manager Responsibilities

A career in marketing management comes with a lot of responsibility. For the right person, however, the challenge of a marketing manager job is more than worth it for the variety that it brings to their work life. These are some of the specific tasks that a marketing manager might be faced with on any given day:

  • Brainstorming creative marketing campaigns to promote a business’s products or services
  • Creating or assigning out the creation of landing pages, graphics, and marketing content
  • Hiring and maintaining a team of marketing employees
  • Defining marketing objectives and key performance indicators (KPIs)
  • Calculating customer value and understanding a business’s acquisition funnel
  • Setting and managing marketing campaign budgets
  • Establishing relationships with various promotional platforms and influencers
  • Tracking and monitoring all data related to a marketing campaign, including reach, engagement, and conversions
  • Monitoring campaign performance and spearheading adjustments as needed

On a more general note, marketing manager jobs often include additional tasks related to building brand awareness in the digital space. This entails close supervision of a company’s social media and ad campaigns, usually in collaboration with a social media manager.

A final (but no less important) task of a marketing manager is risk management. As a marketer, you must understand the regulatory policies that govern your industry and what you can and can’t say in advertising materials. Especially if you’re managing others, you’ll need to know and understand these risks—and guard against them to stay in the good graces of the law (and your customers).

How to Become a Marketing Manager

What is required to be a marketing manager? It depends on who’s doing the hiring.

Because of the diversity of marketing manager job requirements, this isn’t really a job in which you can learn everything as you go. As we’ll explore in this section, you’ll probably want to have a degree in marketing or a related field or proven real-world experience in some aspects of marketing. Even better if you have both.

If you’re exploring how to be a marketing manager, then the first place to start is with establishing authority in the role. As with any career, there are various paths that you can take, but they all come down to gaining expertise in the types of tasks a marketing manager is expected to excel at. 

Marketing Manager Education Requirements

A marketing degree is an obvious jumping off point for a career in marketing management. Not all marketing manager jobs require it, but it can go a long way toward improving your chances of getting hired.

Marketing management is a multi-faceted career that requires proficiency in many different areas. One major benefit of a bachelor’s or master’s degree in marketing is that you’ll get a chance to explore all of these areas at once, including business management and marketing finance and statistics.

Other degree programs that might serve to meet marketing manager education requirements are business administration, management science and quantitative methods, entrepreneurial studies, or business/corporate communications.

Do You Need a Degree in Marketing?

Not necessarily.

Some marketing managers opt for experience in place of a degree. Internships and on-the-job learning in a non-managerial marketing position are both effective ways to get your feet wet and explore the career, and they can also lead to a potential management position down the road.

That being said, many marketing manager job requirements will prioritize having a degree. If you want to be a good candidate for the role but don’t want to pursue a four (or more) year education to get there, consider getting a two year associate’s degree in a relevant field, which can open up the door to marketing internships and other means of gaining experience.

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Average Marketing Manager Salary

Do marketing managers make a lot of money? Yes!

The average salary for a marketing manager in 2019 was $149,000, according to U.S. News & World Report. The median salary (meaning that half of marketing managers made more and half made less) was $136,850, and even those in the bottom 25% of earners still took home $97,710 a year.

Where to Find Jobs for Marketing Managers

Figuring out how to be a marketing manager is as much about knowing where to look for a job as it is making sure that you have the right credentials.

Marketing management is a high-demand, high-skilled job, and there is a lot of career potential for those who are interested in pursuing it. Do keep in mind, though, that being a marketing manager is not an entry-level position. More likely than not, you will have to work your way up to the role, especially if you are interested in working with larger and more established companies.

Everyone has to start somewhere, thought, so where should you begin your search for marketing jobs? Here are the most common employment options for aspiring marketing managers.

Work In-House for a Company

Companies in all sorts of industries need talented marketers and marketing managers to conceive of and execute their promotional campaigns. These include:

  • Retail brands
  • Hospitality brands, including hotels, restaurants, and salons and spas
  • Food and beverage companies
  • Healthcare companies
  • Law firms
  • Colleges and universities
  • Technology and software companies
  • Publishing companies
  • Entertainment companies, including film studios and music labels

It might be helpful to think about what your general interests and areas of expertise are and then to offer specialized marketing services for companies in that sphere. The unique marketing needs of a law firm or tech startup are going to be different from the marketing needs of a book publisher or brewery, and having insider knowledge about a specific industry will only add to your qualifications.

Work for a Marketing Agency

Some companies choose to outsource their marketing efforts to an agency instead of hiring in-house marketing employees. If you choose to go the agency route, you’ll get the opportunity to work for multiple types of clients, which can be a bonus if you like to mix it up with your work.

As with working in-house, specializing in a certain industry can help you get hired at a marketing agency, and agencies themselves often specialize. This type of job can also be suitable for a jack-of-all-trades marketer who enjoys taking on a wide variety of clients and campaigns.

Go Freelance

Another option is to work with businesses on their marketing strategies as a freelance marketing manager. This will give you total independence to take on only the clients and campaigns that interest you most. Bonus: you’ll likely get to work remotely, too.

If this is your game plan, use online job boards, social networking sites like LinkedIn. Don’t be afraid to use your own professional contacts to see what positions are available. As with any marketing manager job, you’ll need to show prospective clients exactly what you can do for them. Keep a portfolio of your work that illustrates your experience and your results. That will help you easily convey the value that you bring to a company.

Is Marketing Manager a Good Job?

Whether or not being a marketing manager is a good job for you will depend on your skills, your interests, and how hard you want to work.

Marketing managers are expected to deliver concrete results to their clients, so there’s no sitting on the sidelines and hoping that everything just works out on its own. Managing a marketing campaign (or several marketing campaigns) is an active job that requires flexibility and creativity, and there is also the added responsibilities of overseeing a team and a budget. 

If you’re up to the task, though, there are a lot of jobs available—and a lot of profit to be made.

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Written by:

Laura Mueller