Marketing managers are tasked with matching an organization's products or services to consumer expectations and demand. They devise and implement effective marketing goals and strategies, determine product pricing, in order to maximize the company's profits or market share. Marketing managers study market trends and competitors to identify potential new markets and the need for new products or services.
Titles for marketing manager jobs can vary according to their industry, level of responsibility and area of specialty. Some common titles are: marketing director, marketing manager, marketing coordinator, commercial lines manager, product/brand manager, business development manager, and account manager/supervisor.
Day in the Life of a Marketing Manager
Marketing manager jobs and responsibilities are usually determined, in part, by industry and level of responsibility. However, on a typical day, most marketing managers perform the following tasks:
- Meet with department managers and staff to discuss budgets and contracts, marketing plans, and the selection of advertising media.
- Design and manage a company's advertising and marketing plans.
- Select the media for advertising (radio, television, print, online media, billboards).
- Negotiate advertising contracts and consult with advertising agencies on ad campaigns.
- Plan promotional campaigns such as coupons, contests or sweepstakes.
- Collaborate with artists and writers on copywriting, design, layout and production of promotional materials.
- Initiate marketing analysis of customers, competitors, collaborators, the company and the industry. This may take the form of focus groups, statistical surveys, test markets and on-site observation.
- Research, evaluate and track marketing factors (technological, financial and demographic).
- Run marketing surveys for new products.
- Analyze market response to ad campaigns, product packaging and merchandising policies and compile marketing activity reports.
- Analyze the cost of product development, including budgets, research and development, profit-loss projections and return on investment.
- Develop pricing strategies for products or services marketed to the target customers.
- Meet with clients to provide marketing or advertising advice.
- Direct the hiring of marketing staff, supervise their daily activities, assign work, and evaluate employee performance.
Marketing managers typically work in an office and frequently work more than 40 hours per week. They may travel for business. Many marketing managers work in advertising agencies or in corporate or regional managing offices.
Important Characteristics for Marketing Managers
Those who succeed in this profession tend to possess some key marketing manager skills. Solid analytical skills allow them to interpret industry trends and consumer research and devise the new marketing strategies. They need to be creative in developing new marketing campaigns. And they should be able to communicate persuasively with staff, management and consumers. Other important marketing manager skills to have include strong interpersonal and motivational skills that can help them relate well to people in various roles and positions. Also needed: the ability to make sound decisions and organize their time, projects and budget efficiently.
Typical Steps for Becoming a Marketing Manager
The path to becoming a marketing manager may vary slightly depending on the company or industry you plan to work for. Those who work in marketing manager jobs typically have followed these step:
- Earn a bachelor's degree. Most employers look for marketing management candidates who have a degree in business administration with an emphasis on marketing. But some companies require a degree related to their product, service or industry. For example, some high-tech companies favor candidates with a bachelor's degree in engineering or science as well as a master's degree in business administration. If you know what industry or company you want to work for after you graduate, find out what type of degree they require.
- Work as an intern while you're earning your degree. Many colleges offer internships in advertising agencies or corporate marketing departments. This experience can give you practical experience in marketing and can help you build a network of contacts in the field.
- Go to work in advertising, marketing, promotions, or sales. Even entry-level jobs can provide helpful "marketing manager training," as they give you an opportunity to immerse yourself in marketing-related work and to learn from managers and customers. Most employers look for this type of work experience when they interview marketing manager candidates, so consider it an investment in your future career.
- Earn a professional certification. Completing a certification program can indicate to current or potential new employers that you've gained marketing manager skills that focus on the most current trends such as online advertising, SEO and email marketing.
- Consider earning a master's degree, with a specialization in marketing. This may give you a competitive edge to get a promotion in your current company or move to another organization. Again, do your homework and find out if, and with what organizations, such a degree might give you a career advantage.
Resources for Marketing Managers
- Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/advertising-promotions-and-marketing-managers.htm
- Professional Certified Marketer. American Marketing Association, https://www.ama.org/events-training/Certification/Pages/us-pcm.aspx
- Summary Report for Marketing Managers, O*NET OnLine, https://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/11-2021.00