How to Become a Marketing Manager

Marketing managers analyze potential markets for products and estimate consumer demand to help organizations increase profits and market share.

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Marketing managers help businesses market their products and services to consumers.

The average marketing manager salary exceeds $134,000 a year, with faster-than-average projected job growth through 2028. This page explains how to become a marketing manager, including job duties, education requirements, and career advancement opportunities.

Essential Career Information for Marketing Managers
Median Annual Salary $134,290
Employment Growth Forecast from 2018-2028 8%
Number of New Jobs from 2018-2028 20,900
Average Entry-Level Education Requirements Bachelor's Degree
Annual Salary of the Highest 10% More than $208,000
Annual Salary of the Lowest 10% $69,840

Source: OOH, May 2018

What is Marketing Management?

Marketing management entails the management of marketing campaigns designed to generate interest in products and services. Marketing managers identify potential markets for products and estimate consumer demand to help organizations increase profits and market share. They play an important role in many industries.

While a bachelor's degree remains the most common entry-level job requirement, some employers prefer to hire marketing managers with a master's degree in marketing or an MBA with a concentration in marketing.

Marketing managers can work for tech companies, designing marketing strategies to sell software or hardware. They may also help enterprise businesses reach new consumer markets and choose competitive pricing strategies. In the design and advertising industry, marketing managers help companies attract new business and market their services. Marketing managers also work in the manufacturing and wholesale trade industries, where they research new products to determine consumer demand.

While a bachelor's degree remains the most common entry-level job requirement, some employers prefer to hire marketing managers with a master's degree in marketing or an MBA with a concentration in marketing. Marketing managers also typically need work experience in marketing or a related field, like promotions, sales, or advertising. Completing an internship during a marketing degree helps potential marketing managers build their professional experience.

  • Internet Marketing Manager
  • Marketing Administrator
  • Marketing Director
  • VP Marketing

What Does a Marketing Manager Do?

Marketing managers help organizations maximize their profits and market share. They conduct research on marketing strategies, consumer demand, and pricing strategies. During these market research studies, marketing managers collect data and analyze their findings to better understand potential customers and identify marketing opportunities. Marketing managers also research customer satisfaction to improve an organization's business.

As management-level employees, marketing managers oversee a team of marketing specialists. They set goals and deadlines for their teams and play a central role in hiring new marketing staff. Marketing managers also report on their team's progress to executives and coordinate with managers in public relations, advertising, and sales.

Marketing managers may specialize in several areas, including product marketing, digital marketing, and social media marketing.

Marketing managers may specialize in several areas, including product marketing, digital marketing, and social media marketing. A product marketing manager, for example, specializes in customizing marketing strategies for a specific product, while a digital marketing manager designs marketing campaigns for the internet, email, and other digital venues.

As marketing managers gain experience, they can pursue career advancement. Titles like marketing administrator and marketing director give marketing professionals additional responsibilities over an organization's marketing strategy. Some larger organizations employ a VP of marketing to oversee the marketing department and direct strategy. Many of these roles require additional training, such as a master's degree in marketing or an MBA.

Marketing Managers vs. Advertising Managers

Both marketing managers and advertising managers help companies sell products and services, but they perform different job duties. Advertising managers promote products through advertising campaigns. They design campaigns and determine where to run ads. They often work directly with clients to oversee an advertising strategy, and some advertising managers, called account executives, manage client accounts.

In contrast, marketing managers identify potential customers and research demand to develop new products. Rather than creating advertisements directly targeting customers, they conduct market research to understand target customers, product demand, and pricing strategies.

How to Become a Marketing Manager

Most marketing managers hold at least a bachelor's degree, and many earn a master's degree to increase their competitiveness in the job market. Prospective marketing managers often pursue a bachelor's degree in marketing or a closely related field. Gaining work experience in marketing after graduation helps professionals advance to the management level.

During a bachelor's degree in marketing, students take courses in market research, consumer behavior, and marketing strategy. Taking classes in related fields, like business, statistics, and management, also prepares graduates for marketing management careers. Many marketing programs incorporate internships to give students professional experience. Prospective marketing students can research programs that hold accreditation from a specialized agency, like the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, to identify top programs.

Marketing professionals build strong research and analytical skills through their education and work experience. Advancing to management positions also requires organizational and leadership skills. Some marketing managers earn an MBA or master's in marketing to build these skills. Marketing managers can also demonstrate their abilities through specialized training or professional certification. For example, the American Marketing Association offers marketing manager certification as part of its professional certified marketer credential.

Certificate Programs

Students considering a career in marketing can begin by earning a marketing certificate. While a bachelor's degree is the entry-level education requirement for marketing managers, a certificate program introduces students to important marketing concepts. During a certificate program, students complete courses in marketing, business, advertising, and public relations.

A certificate program in marketing generally takes one year to complete. Students who attend an accredited program can often transfer these credits toward an associate or bachelor's degree. Some students attend a certificate or associate degree program first to save money on a bachelor's degree. The lower per-credit cost of these programs can save students thousands in tuition costs.

Associate Degree Programs

Marketing managers generally need a bachelor's degree or higher. However, earning an associate degree offers an affordable way to earn college credits and prepare for a bachelor's program.

During an associate program in marketing, students take classes in marketing, business, and related fields. An associate degree also includes general education requirements in math, English, and communications. Most associate programs take two years for full-time students to complete. Students with an associate degree who apply to four-year colleges and universities can often earn their bachelor's degree in two years.

Popular Marketing Associate Degree Programs

Bachelor's Degree Programs

A bachelor's degree meets the entry-level education requirement for marketing manager positions. Prospective marketing managers can pursue a marketing major or a major in business administration with a concentration in marketing.

During a marketing degree, students complete coursework in marketing research, consumer behavior, and marketing planning. Many programs also offer concentrations like digital marketing strategy or social media marketing. A business administration degree offers additional courses in management, leadership, and organizational behavior. A bachelor's degree in marketing or business administration generally takes four years for full-time students to complete.

Popular Marketing Bachelor's Degree Programs

Master's Degree Programs

Candidates with a master's degree stand out in the job market as many employers prefer to hire marketing managers with a master's degree. Prospective marketing managers can earn a master's in marketing or an MBA with a concentration in marketing. Both programs offer advanced coursework in marketing strategies, market trends, and research. An MBA offers additional training in management principles.

During a master's program, marketing students take classes in data science and analytics to strengthen their research skills. Many programs also incorporate classes on new product development, decision-making, and internet marketing strategy. Graduate students often complete an internship to strengthen professional skills.

Popular Marketing Master's Degree Programs

Doctoral Degree Programs

A doctoral degree exceeds most marketing manager qualifications. Some of the highest titles in marketing, such as VP of marketing, may prefer candidates with a doctorate. Additionally, most tenure-track college professors need a doctorate.

Prospective doctoral students can earn a Ph.D. in marketing or a doctorate of business administration (DBA). The Ph.D. emphasizes research skills and prepares graduates for academic and research roles. The DBA emphasizes practice, leading to careers in marketing management.

During a doctoral program, graduate students complete several years of coursework, often followed by a dissertation. A doctorate may take 3-6 years to complete.

Popular Marketing Doctorate Degree Programs

Frequently Asked Questions About Marketing Managers

How do you become a marketing manager?

Most marketing managers hold a bachelor's degree in marketing or a related field and several years of professional experience. Some employers prefer candidates with business and management training.

How long does it take to be a marketing manager?

Marketing managers often need professional experience in marketing before moving to the management level, so it can take several years to meet the education and professional requirements for the job.

Is being a marketing manager a stressful job?

Marketing managers may experience stressful working conditions. They oversee teams of marketing specialists and often working on deadlines, which requires strong time management skills.

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