Marketing manager is a high-paying and fast-growing career. However, in exchange for its six-figure median salary, the position includes a great deal of responsibility. To get this job, you will need an undergraduate college degree, along with years of work experience. Some aspiring marketing managers go on to earn a graduate degree to improve their knowledge of marketing and their leadership skills.
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The Work of a Marketing Manager
What exactly does a marketing manager do? This occupation involves overseeing an organization’s marketing, or its efforts to promote the brand and its products or services. Marketing managers may have a role in deciding what services or products a company will offer and how it will price them.
Developing marketing plans, campaigns and strategies is an important part of a marketing manager’s job duties. This position is responsible for tasks such as negotiating the costs and terms of advertising contracts and reviewing designs for print or digital marketing materials. Additionally, marketing manager is a supervisor role. The marketing manager oversees the collaborative team of marketing specialists as well as any outside contractors or agencies hired to create designs, write sales copy or make promotional videos. To handle all of these disparate responsibilities, the best marketing managers have a wide array of qualities, including creativity, communication skills, interpersonal skills, organizational skills, analytical skills and decision-making skills, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
For marketing managers, the median annual wage is $134,290, the BLS reported. Opportunities in this management job role are growing by a faster than average rate of 10 percent.
Degree Options for Aspiring Marketing Managers
If you want to be a marketing manager someday, you need to start by earning a college degree. A bachelor’s degree is the typical education required for marketing managers, according to the BLS. Naturally, marketing is a logical major for aspiring marketing managers. In a bachelor’s degree program in marketing, you might take classes in the principles of marketing, consumer behavior, marketing communications, market research, digital marketing, global marketing, nonprofit marketing and strategic marketing management. Some marketing programs allow students to choose a specialization, like market research and analysis, search engine marketing and social media marketing.
Other majors can also prepare you to work as a marketing manager. Marketing is an important part of business, and majoring in general business can help you develop your marketing skills alongside management skills and a well-rounded understanding of how businesses run. Most business programs, including marketing degree programs, include core coursework in accounting, finance, economics, management, business law and other areas of business. Business administration degrees often allow students to choose a specialization or concentration. Both marketing and management can be beneficial concentrations for aspiring marketing managers.
Graduate school is not required for marketing managers, but it can be helpful as you work to move up in your career. Established marking professionals will sometimes go back to school to earn a Master of Science in Marketing degree or a master’s degree in marketing management. Master of Business Administration (MBA) degrees, especially those with a concentration in either marketing or management, are also popular among aspiring marketing managers.
Some marketing managers begin their careers with a background in advertising, communications, public relations or journalism instead of business. They may need to pursue a graduate degree in business to advance to a management role.
Beyond a Marketing Degree
As with other managerial job roles, marketing manager positions are reserved for experienced professionals. It is unrealistic to expect to begin working as a marketing manager right out of college. Instead, you will most likely need at least two to five years of work experience in a non-managerial marketing or sales role.
Public relations specialist, purchasing agent and sales representative are among the entry-level roles that can ultimately lead to a marketing manager career, according to the BLS. Positions like marketing specialist and market research analyst are also closely related to this career path. Other entry-level jobs in marketing include marketing or public relations coordinator, communications or social media specialist and development associate.
To become a marketing manager, you need to make yourself stand out. It’s recommended that aspiring marketing managers go above and beyond by finding ways to take on more responsibilities at work, keep learning and look for opportunities outside their workplace.