Marketing managers are the professionals who oversee the planning and implementation of marketing strategies and campaigns. These professionals work with marketing, sales and design teams to initiate campaigns that increase consumer awareness and interest around a certain product, service or business. If you're interested in working as a marketing manager, you may benefit from learning more about the job's description. In this article, we discuss what a marketing manager is, what their responsibilities are, how to become one and what skills you need to develop in order to meet the requirements of the job description.
What is a marketing manager?
A marketing manager is a professional who directs, plans, coordinates and evaluates the implementation of marketing strategies with the assistance of a marketing department or small marketing team. These professionals often serve as the liaison between marketing directors, vice presidents or chief marketing officers (CMOs) and their marketing teams.
For those who have a passion for marketing as well as a desire to spearhead the marketing activities of a company or small business, making the decision to become a marketing manager may be the right career path to pursue.
What responsibilities do marketing managers have?
A managerial marketing role goes beyond following style guides, pitching creative ideas and working on one major marketing project at a time. Marketing managers have a great deal of responsibility in their company. Knowing what to expect is essential to planning ahead and acquiring the necessary skills to obtain such a role. Some of the key duties and responsibilities of a marketing manager include:
- Setting marketing objectives to monitor and ensure the profitability and visibility of a business' products or services
- Developing and initiating marketing strategies that align with company goals
- Collaborating with marketing and sales teams to plan and execute marketing and advertising campaigns
- Managing campaign budgets to ensure projects stay within outlined parameters
- Planning, implementing and improving promotional and lead-generation campaigns
- Preparing marketing materials for digital and in-print advertising
- Measuring, evaluating and providing analyses on results of marketing campaigns
- Preparing reports to communicate results and success of campaigns to marketing directors, vice presidents or CMOs
How to become a marketing manager
As a marketing manager, you're not only responsible for contributing the same level of work as a marketer within the team, but you also need to have the necessary skill set to execute and ensure these marketing campaigns are successful. Marketing managers are required to have a college degree in addition to ample experience working in business, marketing and advertising as well as a proven track record for effectively leading teams and executing marketing strategies. In order to work toward a career as a marketing manager, you can take the following steps:
1. Earn a bachelor's degree
Employers require marketing managers to have a bachelor's degree in marketing, advertising, business, communications or another related field at the very least. Having a bachelor's degree is almost always helpful in obtaining a job because employers view these degrees as a testament to your dedication and understanding of current marketing practices and trends. In some cases, employers may require a Master of Business Administration (MBA) as well.
2. Gain relevant work experience
Recent graduates typically start in entry-level positions, like a social media marketer or content marketer, and earn advancements that help them advance to the marketing manager role, although internships may be valuable work opportunities to apply for as well. That being said, it's essential to stand out in any workplace in order to gain impressive recommendations and the skills needed to successfully compete with other candidates.
No matter the position, take on additional responsibilities in the workplace, like leading team planning sessions, acting as the liaison between teammates and the marketing director and working on projects that may be outside of your role's specific responsibilities. Companies want marketing managers who think outside the box and have the track record to prove the value they can contribute.
3. Build your knowledge of marketing tools
While a bachelor's degree offers a basic understanding of marketing and the strategies employed, it's also important to gain hands-on experience with current marketing tools or emerging tools. Being familiar with automation tools, marketing analytics software and search engine optimization (SEO) tools can make all the difference in an application. You can start by researching which tools seem to be leveraged most often in the marketing teams at top companies.
4. Develop your marketing skills
Skills like communication, problem-solving, creativity, decision-making and organization are important to cultivate as a marketing professional. You can develop communication, planning and collaborative skills by sharing ideas and requesting input from coworkers. With more feedback, it's just a matter of making the necessary adjustments, applying new lessons and looking for new opportunities to go above and beyond expectations. It's also important to acquire leadership skills in order to be an effective manager.
5. Build a portfolio of your work
In the marketing field, many employers look for proof of skills and talent before hiring an employee. Through the various positions a prospective marketing manager acquires, they can build a portfolio of case studies detailing the planning process, execution and subsequent results of each campaign they've worked on. When a candidate can prove that their marketing strategies have helped an organization increase revenue and attract more customers, it makes a great impression on employers.
6. Consider investing in a certification
Certifications offer marketers the opportunity to get a more in-depth look at various aspects of marketing while receiving proof of completion in the process. Several certification options to consider include certifications in marketing tools and software, inbound and outbound marketing certifications and certifications in specialty marketing areas such as content marketing or social media management. While certification isn't a requirement for a marketing manager role, it can be advantageous for those who wish to stand out from other candidates.
That being said, it's important to research every program and only sign up for programs that are recognized by employers. Today, there are many certifications that don't offer the level of quality or prestige that most who enroll in the program expect.
Essential skills featured in a marketing manager job description
Marketing managers rely on a range of hard and soft skills to be successful in their jobs. Here are a few of the most essential skills needed to land this role:
Knowledge of marketing software
For marketing managers, it's important to have a deep understanding of and experience with various marketing tools. For example, employers might look for experience using automation software, analytics tools and digital applications like content, social media and email platforms. Marketing managers are responsible for overseeing the use of these tools and basing their marketing campaigns around them.
Ability to analyze and adjust marketing strategies
The ability to analyze and evaluate strategies, key performance indicators (KPIs), outcomes and return on investment (ROI) is essential in this role. It demonstrates to employers that you have the ability to achieve objectives and direct the flow of projects and campaigns. Being able to analyze commonly employed strategies and make the necessary adjustments to improve marketing KPIs plays a crucial role in a marketing department's success.
Related: ROI: Definition and Calculation
Employers include this as a required skill in their marketing manager job description because managerial positions require a great deal of responsibility. These duties often involve making decisions about executing certain strategies or assigning specific tasks to team members without consistent oversight. References can often offer real-life examples of effective decision-making in the workplace, and candidates can offer real-life examples as well.
Excellent problem-solving skills
As leaders of a marketing department or team, it's important for these candidates to be able to solve problems effectively. Marketing managers must be able to take initiative, collaborate with their team, brainstorm solutions and evaluate the efficacy of solutions they applied. Problem-solving skills are essential in every marketing management position in order to handle obstacles to marketing plans.
Effective interpersonal communication
Frequent and seamless communication between marketing teams, advertising teams and department directors is a regular part of a marketing manager's job. Therefore, employers often include effective communication skills as a requirement for the job. Build on communication skills like active listening, written communication and the ability to give and receive feedback in a motivational and positive manner.
Planning and organization
Planning for challenges, setbacks and success and organizing marketing materials, strategies and metrics is an important part of a marketing manager job description. In this role, the marketing manager is responsible for overseeing the planning stages of a marketing strategy and helping their team organize each step before, during and after implementation. Having strong planning and organizational skills gives managers the foundation they need to execute any marketing strategy.
Strong understanding of digital marketing practices
Social media marketing and SEO are just two marketing strategies that a marketing manager is responsible for. Employers look for candidates who understand different types of digital marketing practices in the industry, how to establish and execute them and what the best practices are for each type. Understanding the fundamentals of digital marketing and the specifics within a given industry helps candidates improve their chances of being hired.
Education and certification in project management methodologies like Scrum and Agile can make marketing managers more effective at their job. This is because they understand how to effectively plan and rapidly execute marketing campaigns while hitting the desired KPIs. For those considering an additional certification to enhance their resume, this is a top skill and certification to have.