How Do I Become a Marketing Manager?
In the 18th and 19th centuries, it was the the Industrial Revolution that launched professional marketing. Innovators like Josiah Wedgwood (and hucksters like Timothy Dexter), helped develop standard practices and procedures, which largely remained the same over the next few hundred years.
Today, the Digital Revolution is responsible for a new launch: a radical, updated marketing strategy that accommodates our complex, interconnected world.
Many different people have given rise to this brave new world — not all of whom work in marketing, mind you — but the position most responsible for modern marketing is the marketing manager, one of the highest-ranking roles in the profession. Below, we’ve highlighted some of the defining features of marketing managers, including a job description and projected salary, as well as ways to become a marketing manager, including degrees in marketing and on-the-job experience.
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Marketing Manager Job Description
- Manages the long-term and day-to-day marketing activities and programs for an organization
- Researches and analyzes market trends, demographics, pricing, competitor products, and other data to plan marketing strategies
- Tailors marketing strategy to meet business objectives
- Finds, hires, and assembles a marketing team
- Effectively communicates marketing vision and strategy to a team, and ensures key expectations are met
- Collaborates with creative team to create promotional materials, website content, advertisements, and other marketing-related projects
- Manage marketing budget and monitors results
- Identify market weaknesses for business development and lead generation
Salary and Job Prospects for Marketing Managers
The marketing industry should enjoy major growth in the next few years. In the United States, digital marketing spending is predicted to exceed $100 billion by 2019, up from $56 billion in 2014. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, advertising, promotions, and marketing managers are, perhaps unsurprisingly, among the most in-demand professionals in the country, with 250,000 currently working in the field. Hiring is projected to increase 10% over the next decade, adding 24,000 positions and nearly doubling the average rate. (Comparable jobs in sales management and general management occupations will grow 7-8%.)
Pay is highly competitive, as well.
The median annual wage for marketing managers is $130,000, and upper-level managers or managers with advanced degrees may earn even more. The highest 10% of marketing managers earn $210,000 per year. The top-paying industries are (in order): professional, scientific, and technical services; management of companies and enterprises; finance and insurance; manufacturing; and wholesale trade.
Using Your Education to Become a Marketing Manager
Most marketing managers have at least a bachelor’s degree (nearly 60%), though not all necessarily have a degree in the field.
Still, the benefits of a bachelor’s in marketing are obvious enough: in addition to developing essential marketing skills and techniques, students build a basic foundation of marketing knowledge through courses like:
- Principles of Marketing
- Marketing Strategy
- Marketing Research
- Supply Chain Management
- Consumer Behavior
- Organizational Behavior
For working professionals or anyone interested in an advanced degree, there are several master’s in marketing degrees to consider. (37% of marketing managers have a master’s degree.) The most popular is the MBA with a concentration in Marketing, which combines a rigorous MBA curriculum with advanced marketing courses. Alternative degrees include master’s programs in Social Media Marketing, Advertising, or Marketing Research.
For more specialized tracks — particularly if you’re already working in the field or know a specific professional track you want to pursue — a master’s in Communication or Public Relations are in-depth, hands-on programs that can improve career and salary prospects.
Thanks to the rise in online education opportunities, more and more marketing professionals are opting for quick, affordable routes like digital bootcamps or Marketing MOOCs, which include certificate options and typically feature highly practical, career-oriented curricula taught by working professionals. (In some cases, these benefits can actually make a high-quality bootcamp or MOOC more valuable than a formal but mid-tier master’s.)
Using Your Skills and Experience to Become a Marketing Manager
One of the most important factors in becoming a marketing manager is experience. Nearly 40% have 5-10 years of experience, and 20% have over 10 years.
Still, most employers are straightforward: if you’ve got the skills, you’ve got a chance at the job, particularly in a big-picture field like marketing, which requires a wide range of skills and strengths. Some of the most common of these include:
- Critical and analytical thinking
- Written and verbal communication
- Public speaking
Valuable hard skills include:
- Proficiency in a CRM software, i.e., Salesforce, Oracle, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, SAP, etc.
- Budget management
- Product development
- Financial planning and strategy
- Familiarity with web design, graphic design, and production
Looking for other ways to advance your career? Following prominent professional marketers on social media can help inspire new ideas and keep you updated on the latest marketing trends and strategies from industry leaders. (It’s also a useful talking point for job interviews.) Ditto studying marketing books or simply developing the right habits.
As a final note, specific certifications can help you land a marketing manager job, as well. The following is a brief list of some of the most popular:
- AMA Certified Professional Marketer
- DMA Certified Marketing Professional
- Google Analytics
- Facebook Blueprint
- Google AdWords
- Bing Ads
- Code Academy