What Does a Marketing Manager Do and How Do You Become One?

female marketing manager presenting

You’ve been in the business world long enough to know that certain positions just aren’t right for you. But there are also job roles that have caught your eye, even if you’re not completely sure about the details of the work. You’ve been watching from afar as the marketing manager and their team at your company goes about their day, but the question still lingers: What does a marketing manager do?

When it’s time to advance your career, you need to know all the ins and outs of the new career path you’re considering. Making the move to marketing—and eventually management—could be a great choice as you advance from your entry-level position. But before you commit, you’ll want to get the inside scoop on what it’s really like to work in this management career.

Look no further! We did the research for you by speaking to experts and rounding up the latest data so you can be confident that you know exactly what a marketing management job entails.

What is a marketing manager?

Marketing professionals play the key role of bringing their company’s product or service to the people who need it—and marketing managers oversee the teams that do this work. They may work through many different channels to accomplish this, such as direct mail, social media marketing or digital marketing. Marketing managers are vital to the success of a business since the work of their teams can directly affect a company’s profits and pricing strategies.

Marketing managers oversee a team of specialists who help them run marketing campaigns and meet objectives. In addition to directing campaigns, these managers run reports to determine the success of each marketing effort, and they collaborate with executives to set growth goals and remain competitive in the marketplace.

Where do marketing managers work?

Nearly every company in every industry relies on skilled marketing managers to spread the word about their brand and the products or services they offer. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that marketing managers can be found in professional and technical industries, the financial sector, manufacturing, wholesale trade and more. This variety of settings means that marketing managers have opportunities to work in industries that interest them.

Don’t think of marketing managers as sitting alone at their desk all day! Though marketing managers may appear to have a typical office job, their jobs are highly collaborative. Their impact on a company’s financial health means they’re often working with top leaders in their organization, and they may also need to travel to meet with clients or vendors.

It’s important to note that marketing management roles can vary depending on the structure of their employer. Marketing professionals often work as members of an “in-house” team where they are directly employed by a single business or organization to market their products and services, but others may work in an “agency” setting. In an agency setting, marketing professionals are hired by an independent organization that serves multiple clients.

What does a marketing manager do?

A day in the life of a marketing manager will look different depending on the size of the organization they work for. At a small- to medium-sized company, marketing managers are more likely to tackle a wide variety of job duties, according to Jenna Erickson, marketing manager at Codal. In general, “a marketing manager will spend their day coordinating their teams, doing research on potential campaigns and existing products/services, reviewing analytics and collaborating with various media and advertising organizations.”

Like other managers, marketing managers spend a lot of time communicating with those both above and below them. “Marketing managers are responsible for high-level reporting of their department or area(s) of responsibility and communicating that to company leadership,” says Greg Bullock, marketing manager at TheraSpecs. Bullock adds that they also need to communicate well and nurture professional relationships with the marketing specialists on their team in order to maximize their results.

Which skills are required for a marketing manager?

Every career requires some level of technical skills, and marketing managers are no exception. Staying on top of technical skills is vital for marketing managers, according to Bullock. “Even if they may not be regularly doing the technical work, they need to be able to discuss it intelligently with colleagues or contractors and also may need to jump in at a moment’s notice.”

We turned to Burning-Glass.com to uncover the top technical skills employers want to see in a marketing manager:

Top technical skills1

  • Product development
  • Budgeting
  • Project management
  • Marketing strategy
  • Social media
  • Digital marketing
  • Market research
  • Competitive analysis

Technical skills are important, but they aren’t everything. “Not only does a marketing manager need to be well versed in everything related to marketing, but they must be great business leaders and must understand all of the ins and outs of the company that they work for,” Erickson says. Soft skills that help you lead others can take you far in this management career. These are the top transferable skills employers are looking for in today’s job market:

Top transferable skills1

  • Communication
  • Collaboration
  • Creativity
  • Planning
  • Research
  • Writing
  • Problem solving
  • Organization
  • Presentation skills

What is a marketing manager salary?

Good marketing managers are a valuable asset for companies, and their typical salary reflects this worth. The BLS reports that the 2017 median annual wage for advertising and promotions managers was $106,130.2

There’s even more good news for those considering a marketing manager career: there’s a positive job growth outlook. The BLS projects that employment of marketing managers will grow 10 percent from 2016 through 2026, which is faster than the national average.2

How do you become a marketing manager?

There’s no set path for becoming a marketing manager, but our research reveals that both experience and education are required to make it in this field. A full 50 percent of marketing manager job postings wanted candidates with three to five years of experience, with another 21 percent requiring six to eight years of relevant experience.3

But it takes more than on-the-job learning to make it as a marketing manager. Our research found that 89 percent of marketing management job postings are seeking candidates with a Bachelor’s degree.3 The BLS recommends that aspiring marketing managers look into courses related to Management and Finance, and they suggest that an internship in addition to a degree program can help you gain the experience employers want to see.

Managing your career advancement

Now that we answered the question, “What does a marketing manager do?”, you probably have an idea of whether or not this management career is right for you. If the answer is yes, then the next step is to find an education program that will prepare you for the job.

Don’t stay on the outside looking in! Learn more about Rasmussen University’s Marketing Bachelor's degree program to find out how this degree can help you reach your management goals.

1Burning-Glass.com (analysis of 180,832 marketing manager job postings, Aug. 01, 2017 – Jul. 31, 2018).
2Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, [information accessed September 13, 2018] www.bls.gov/ooh/. Salary data represents national, averaged earnings for the occupations listed and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. This data does not represent starting salaries and employment conditions in your area may vary.
3Burning-Glass.com (analysis of 125,278 marketing manager job postings by education, Aug. 01, 2017 – Jul. 31, 2018).

About the author

Ashley Brooks

Ashley is a freelance writer for Collegis education who writes student-focused articles on behalf of Rasmussen University. She believes in the power of words and knowledge and enjoys using both to encourage others on their learning journeys

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