How To Become a Marketing Manager (Plus Duties and Skills)

Updated July 11, 2023

A marketing manager develops strategies to improve revenue and grow a company's customer base. If you have a background in marketing and excellent leadership skills, you might thrive as a marketing manager. Learning the duties of a marketing manager and how to become one can help you determine if it's the right career path for you.

In this article, we explore how to become a marketing manager, describe what they do and answer some frequently asked questions about the role.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

What does a marketing manager do?

A marketing manager's responsibilities can vary depending on the company and industry. They may devise and implement a marketing strategy for a company's products or services. Creating this strategy may involve conducting market research and trend analysis to measure consumer demand for the company's products.

A marketing manager may also supervise a team of marketing assistants and collaborate with other company departments to ensure the success of their marketing strategy. They may also work with external partners, such as an advertising agency, on marketing campaigns and promotional activities. Additional duties of a marketing manager can include:

  • Determining a marketing budget for advertisement campaigns

  • Evaluating the effectiveness of a marketing campaign in relation to established goals

  • Finding the most effective ways to market a product or service in print, media and digital platforms

  • Creating marketing plans based on industry and competitor research

  • Evaluating the marketing team's work and offering constructive feedback

  • Using research to analyze different markets and learn more about consumers and competition within the target market

  • Developing and monitoring several marketing programs to use throughout the year that help target potential customers based on the market research

  • Presenting and making recommendations to senior leadership on the type of marketing program and when to use it to better target customers

  • Working with other members of the company to execute the marketing plan, such as sales or business development personnel

Read more: What Does a Marketing Manager Do? (With Job Requirements)

How to become a marketing manager

Here are some steps you can follow to pursue a career as a marketing manager:

1. Earn a bachelor's degree

Many employers prefer to hire marketing managers with a bachelor's degree. You can earn a bachelor's degree in marketing or another related field, such as business management, communications or advertising. Coursework can include promotions and advertising, data and statistical analysis, market research, consumer behavior and communications.

While completing your degree, it's helpful to complete at least one internship in marketing. Internships are extremely valuable because they can help you determine if the role or company is right for you. During an internship, you can also begin making professional contacts in the field.

Related: What Can You Do With a Marketing Degree? 22 Careers By Degree

2. Gain experience

Marketing managers often have several years of relevant experience before moving to a leadership position. You can find entry-level positions as a marketing assistant, coordinator or specialist to build your professional experience. If possible, you can also try to find part-time roles while you're still in college to start gaining experience quickly. Entry-level roles can help you learn how to create and execute marketing messages to target audiences.

Related: 10 Entry-Level Marketing Jobs To Jump-Start Your Career

3. Consider a master's degree

While optional, earning a master's degree in marketing or marketing business administration can help you learn more about the profession and show your dedication to the field. During a graduate program, you may take advanced classes in consumer behavior, new product development, social networking and brand management. You may also take courses to broaden your knowledge of business operations, such as finance and leadership.

Even without a master's degree, you can continue to learn about trends in your industry to ensure you can apply the most up-to-date knowledge in your marketing campaigns. You can learn more about marketing and your field by reading the latest industry news and blogs online. There are also many types of seminars or webinars you can attend to gain knowledge regarding marketing tools and processes.

Related: Should I Get a Master's Degree? 9 Factors To Consider

4. Join a marketing association

There are various marketing associations that can help you in your career path. Many offer courses for continuous learning or events to help you network with people in your industry. Some associations also have additional in-demand credentials, like specialty certifications. Research some marketing associations in your area to find one that aligns with your industry and career goals.

Related: Become a Networking Expert in 7 Steps

5. Prepare your resume

When you're ready to apply for a marketing manager job, prepare your resume to show potential employers your qualifications. Your resume can be most effective when it includes education, achievements, skills and other information relevant to marketing manager positions, in addition to your work experience. You can use posted job descriptions to update your matching skills and tasks with the keywords employers use. You can also look at job descriptions of other marketing manager positions to learn about the types of skills you can develop to advance your career.

Related: 10 Marketing Resume Examples (With Download and Tips)

Skills for a marketing manager

A marketing manager uses a range of hard and soft skills to develop effective marketing strategies, analyze consumer trends, lead teams and collaborate with other managers or executives. Here are some key skills for a marketing manager to have:

Marketing manager hard skills

Hard skills relate directly to a marketing manager's role or industry and often involve technical or specialized tasks. Here are a few hard skills that marketing managers typically have:

  • Data analytics

  • Knowledge of marketing software platforms

  • Customer relationship management

  • Digital marketing

  • Email marketing

  • Design

  • Social media platforms

  • Advertising

  • Search engine optimization (SEO)

Marketing manager soft skills

Soft skills are abilities that can be helpful across various jobs and industries. Here are some essential soft skills for marketing managers:

  • Collaboration

  • Leadership

  • Adaptability

  • Attention to detail

  • Empathy

  • Communication

  • Active listening

  • Organization

Related: Top Marketing Manager Skills To Have (And How To Improve Yours)

Marketing manager salary and job outlook

The national average salary for a marketing manager is $135,030 per year, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The salary for marketing managers depends on several factors, including the candidate's experience and education levels and the size, type and location of the company. Most marketing managers work full time, though there may be part-time or contract opportunities available.

According to the BLS, the number of people working as advertising, promotions and marketing managers could increase by 10% by 2031. The BLS says this growth might result from more companies using complex marketing to reach target audiences, leading to a demand for marketing managers who can help develop outreach and pricing strategies. The agency also notes that more positions may open as current marketing managers change jobs or retire.

Related: 26 High-Paying Marketing Jobs in 2023 (With Salary Info)

Frequently asked questions

Do marketing managers require a certification to work?

While certification is usually optional for marketing managers, earning one can be helpful to your career advancement. Here are two certifications marketing managers can earn:

Professional Certified Marketer

Provided through the American Marketing Association, the Professional Certified Marketer (PCM) credential demonstrates proficiency in marketing strategy. To earn a PCM credential, candidates take an exam that tests core marketing concepts. Areas of the exam include marketing strategy, research and data analytics, pricing strategy, consumer behavior and product and services positioning.

Certified Marketing Executive

Sales and Marketing Executives International offers the Certified Marketing Executive exam. Only those who already work as marketing managers or other executives can take the test, so make sure to verify your qualifications before applying. The exam evaluates candidates' knowledge of various areas, including developing marketing strategies through SWOT analysis, strategic marketing concepts, marketing throughout the product life cycle, messaging techniques and professional skills, such as communication and ethics.

Related: 15 Marketing Certifications (Plus Definition and Benefits)

How long does it take to become a marketing manager?

At a minimum, it may take between seven to nine years to become a marketing manager. This timeline includes four years to earn a bachelor's degree in marketing or business and three to five years of experience in marketing, sales or a related area. Many employers have those educational and experience requirements for marketing managers. If you choose to earn a master's degree, it can take an additional two years to complete this degree.

Are there other positions similar to being a marketing manager?

There are many jobs that can be similar to a marketing manager. For example, a social media manager can develop content for social media accounts and oversee other content creators to develop promotional campaigns. Another similar job title is a brand manager, which is someone who works in publicity to ensure that people or companies promote themselves in appropriate, effective ways.

Related: 10 Common Careers in Marketing (Plus Salaries and Tips for Success)

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