Blog > Creative Advice > How to Become a Marketing Manager

What Does it Take to Step into a Marketing Management Position?

December 13, 2023
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9
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Often after a few years of working in the same field, it’s only natural to want to take a step up and take on a bit more responsibility.

After all, you’ve learned a lot in your position, and seeking a leadership role so that you can pass your knowledge on is the next logical step in your career.

We hear you, ambitious creatives, we hear you loud and clear!

And if a marketing management position is one that you’ve got your eye set on then we’d love to help you get there.

Today’s blog is your comprehensive guide to show you the essential steps, skills, and strategies that pave the way to a successful career as a marketing manager.

Let’s get into it now!

What is a Marketing Manager?

A marketing manager is a professional who is responsible for overseeing and implementing an organization’s marketing department and overall marketing strategy.

This role involves planning and executing marketing campaigns, analyzing market trends, identifying target audiences, and coordinating with different teams and departments within an organization to make sure that all brand messaging is consistent across all channels.

What Does a Marketing Manager Do?

Three orange question marks.

So, what do they do exactly?

A marketing manager’s role may differ a bit based on the individual company they work for, but their main duties could include the following:

  • Campaign Planning and Execution — Develop and implement marketing strategies and campaigns. A marketing manager works with their team to create engaging content and promotional materials.
  • Data Analysis — Analyze marketing metrics to assess the success of campaigns and then use data insights gathered to optimize future strategies and tactics.
  • Team Collaboration — Coordinate with the marketing team, designers, copywriters, and other professionals and provide guidance and support to their team members.
  • Quality Control —Oversee the development of marketing collateral, ensuring all finished products are up to standard.
  • Budget Management — Allocate and manage the marketing budget efficiently.
  • Market Research — Stay informed about industry trends and competitor activities and conduct market research to identify opportunities and challenges.
  • Brand Management — Maintain and enhance the organization's brand through consistent messaging.
  • Digital Marketing — Manage online presence, including website, social media, and other digital platforms. Optimize digital marketing campaigns for performance.
  • Collaboration with Sales — Work closely with the sales team to align marketing efforts with sales goals. Develop materials to support the sales process and drive sales of your products or services.
  • Communication — Communicate marketing strategies and goals to the broader organization and respond to inquiries and feedback from your customer base, clients, or stakeholders.
  • Strategic Planning — Contribute to the development of long-term marketing strategies. Participate in strategic planning sessions with senior management.
  • Report Generation — Prepare regular reports on marketing performance as well as present findings and recommendations to leadership.
  • Adaptation to Trends — Stay updated on industry trends, emerging technologies, and marketing innovations. Implement new and effective marketing tactics as appropriate.

How Much Do Marketing Managers Make?

You’ll want to check the average salaries in your area, of course, but as of October 2023, a marketing manager in the United States can expect to take home about $117,000 a year on average according to Salary.com, with a range that falls between $102,000 and $134,000.

Now, keep in mind that salaries can vary depending on a few factors, like the individual company, your education level, certifications earned, additional skills, years of experience, and more.

So, if you’re a candidate with a master’s degree, 20 years of management experience, can speak 4 languages, and have design and video skills, then you could potentially make more than someone with a bachelor’s degree taking on a management position for the first time.

What Skills and Qualifications Does a Marketing Manager Need?

If you’re really looking to step up into a marketing management role, you might be wondering what prerequisites you’ll need to even be considered.

Below is a handy list of skills and qualifications that many organizations look for in a marketing manager candidate:

Necessary Marketing Manager Skills

  • Strategic Thinking — Ability to develop and implement strategic marketing plans aligned with overall business goals.
  • Communication Skills —Strong written and verbal communication skills to effectively convey marketing messages, collaborate with team members, and communicate with your target market. 
  • Analytical Skills — Proficiency in analyzing marketing data and metrics to measure the effectiveness of campaigns and make data-driven decisions.
  • Creativity — Ability to think creatively and develop innovative marketing strategies and campaigns.
  • Leadership—Strong leadership skills to manage and motivate a marketing team, set goals, and guide them toward successful outcomes.
  • Digital Marketing Expertise—Knowledge of digital marketing channels, including social media, content marketing, SEO, email marketing, and PPC.
  • Brand Management—Experience in developing and maintaining a strong brand identity through consistent messaging and visual elements.
  • Customer-Centric Approach—Understanding of customer behavior and preferences to create targeted and impactful marketing campaigns and increase customer satisfaction.
  • Project Management—Effective project management skills to plan, execute, and oversee marketing initiatives within set timelines and budgets.
  • Adaptability—Ability to adapt to changes in the marketing landscape and adjust strategies accordingly.
  • Team Collaboration—Collaboration with cross-functional teams, including sales, product development, and design, to achieve common objectives.

Necessary Marketing Manager Qualifications

  • Education — A bachelor's degree in marketing, business, or a related field is typically required. Some positions may prefer or require a master's degree.
  • Experience — Relevant work experience in marketing, often with progressively increasing responsibilities. Mid-to-senior level roles may require several years of experience.
  • Industry Knowledge — Understanding of the industry in which the company operates, including market trends, competitors, and your potential customers’ needs.
  • Certifications — Optional but beneficial certifications, such as those in digital marketing, project management, or specific software/tools.
  • Technology Proficiency — Familiarity with marketing tools and software, including CRM systems, analytics platforms, and marketing automation tools.

How Can I Become a Marketing Manager?

An arrow in the bullseye of a target.

Still with us? 

If you’re ready to start your journey from your current position to marketing manager of an entire organization, here are the steps you’ll need to take!

Step 1: Hone Your Marketing Skills

Before you can start an entry-level marketing position, there are a few soft and hard skills you’ll need to develop.

To thrive in a marketing management job, first brush up on fundamental marketing principles like market research, understanding consumer behavior, the principles of branding, and different marketing strategies.

You’ll also need to acquire digital marketing skills and learn how to be proficient in social media, SEO, content marketing, email marketing, and PPC advertising. It’s also good to familiarize yourself with the platforms you’ll need to operate like SEMrush, HubSpot, Mailchimp, marketing automation tools, and more.

And it’s not just about marketing skills! You’ll also need to work on your communication skills, be a creative thinker, and keep yourself organized and on top of your current tasks.

Step 2: Consider a Degree in Marketing

Most (but not all) marketing manager positions require a bachelor’s degree in marketing or a related field.

If you don’t have a degree in marketing in any other related field like business or finance, look to sign up for classes in areas like digital marketing, market research, and more. 

There are some marketing positions that will accept candidates with online certifications from marketing programs like The Digital Marketing Institute or similar schools, so check the qualifications of the position you’re looking at!

(If you’re not sure where to look for online certifications, we’ll help you out in the section below)

Digital Marketing Online Certification Programs

  1. Digital Marketing Institute (DMI) — The Digital Marketing Institute offers globally recognized certifications. Their Professional Diploma in Digital Marketing covers various aspects of digital marketing, providing comprehensive knowledge.
  2. General AssemblyGeneral Assembly provides a variety of digital marketing courses and workshops. Their courses cover topics like SEO, social media marketing, content marketing, and data analytics.
  3. Kellogg School of BusinessKellogg School of Business, part of Northwestern University, offers a strategic digital marketing program. The program focuses on strategic marketing planning and execution.
  4. BrainStation BrainStation provides digital skills training, including digital marketing courses. Their courses cover social media, content marketing, SEO, and digital strategy.
  5. HubSpot Academy HubSpot Academy offers free online courses and certifications in inbound marketing, content marketing, social media strategy, and more. Certifications are widely recognized in the marketing industry.
  6. CourseraCoursera partners with universities and organizations to provide digital marketing courses. Specializations, such as the Digital Marketing Specialization, offer certificates upon completion.

Before choosing a program, be sure to check out prices, certifications offered, and if they vibe with your specific learning styles!

Step 3: Put in Your Time

Grind, grind, grind.

If you want to be a successful marketing manager, it helps to have experience with every step of the journey to better connect with the eventual employees you’ll be leading.

Gain work experience by taking on an internship or applying for an entry-level marketing position to start developing your skills and bettering your understanding of the processes, systems, tools, and ideas that drive product growth and amplify brand awareness.

If you’re curious, the typical career path goes a bit like this: intern, assistant, coordinator, specialist, manager.

While it can take years of putting in your time to progress through your career path, it will pay off if you stick with it and stay determined!

Step 4: Make an Online Marketing Portfolio

Put together a professional online portfolio that showcases your best work, your ability to problem solve, and your versatility.

This will show off your talents in the best possible light for any recruiters. Once you have it up and running be sure to keep it updated with your awesome work because you never know when you’ll be presented with the opportunity to show it off!

If you need some advice and inspiration on how to create a stunning online portfolio, check out this recent blog for some tips and tricks!

Step 5: Network, Network, Network

Hey, sometimes it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.

Networking can get you connected with different people in the marketing industry who can not only help you find a job but teach you, inspire you, and equip you with invaluable advice.

So, get yourself out there! Network with colleagues, and join professional associations like the American Marketing Association, the Association of National Advertisers, or the American Association of Advertising Agencies

You can also join online forums to keep yourself on top of industry trends and learn about possible positions before they’re posted on LinkedIn, Indeed, or a company website.

Step 6: Start Applying for Positions

Once you’ve got the necessary skills and work experience, put yourself out there!

Look for positions on online job boards like Indeed, LinkedIn, CareerBuilder, or ZipRecruiter.

The connections you built up by networking will also come in handy here too. Let on that you’re in search of a position and it’s possible that someone will reach out. If you already have a company in mind, you can keep checking out their websites and looking for an available position in their careers section.

During your job hunt, be sure that you have a strong resume ready to go (more on that in a minute!) and that your online portfolio is kept up to date with all of your stunning work!

Step 7: Consider Furthering Your Education

If you have the time and resources, it won’t hurt to further your education, even after you land the job of your dreams.

Consider getting an MBA in marketing or, if that’s not realistic for you, then there are other professional certifications or seminars you can attend to keep your skills sharp and further your marketing education!

Tips on Resume Writing

A marketing manager's resume.

If you want to stand out among a sea of potential applicants, as promised, here is a list of tips and tricks to get your resume to shine!

  • Tailor Your Resume — Customize your resume for each application, emphasizing the skills and experiences most relevant to the specific marketing manager role.
  • Highlight Achievements — Showcase your accomplishments in previous roles, focusing on quantifiable achievements such as campaign success, revenue growth, or market share increase.
  • Emphasize Leadership Skills — Clearly communicate your ability to lead and manage teams. Highlight instances where you successfully guided a team to achieve marketing goals.
  • Demonstrate Strategic Thinking — Illustrate your strategic thinking by discussing how you developed and implemented marketing plans aligned with overall business objectives.
  • Showcase Digital Marketing Expertise — Given the importance of digital marketing, emphasize your proficiency in various digital channels, including social media, SEO, content marketing, email marketing, and PPC.
  • Include Metrics and Analytics — Incorporate measurable results in your resume, using metrics to quantify the impact of your marketing strategies. This could include conversion rates, click-through rates, and ROI figures.
  • Mention Industry Knowledge — Demonstrate your understanding of the industry by discussing your familiarity with market trends, competitors, and a customer-centric approach.
  • Highlight Communication Skills — Emphasize strong written and verbal communication skills. Effective communication is crucial for conveying marketing messages and collaborating with team members.
  • Address Technology Proficiency — Showcase your familiarity with marketing tools and software, including CRM systems, analytics platforms, and marketing automation tools.
  • Incorporate Certifications — If you have relevant certifications, such as those in digital marketing, project management, or specific software/tools, include them to demonstrate your commitment to professional development.

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Need Some Managing Experience?

If you’re looking for some management experience, then you might be in the right place already.

Designity is always looking for talented and experienced Creative Directors to add to our creative community.

As a Creative Director, you would build up your resume by being responsible for client accounts, managing and sourcing creative talent to fulfill marketing projects, and continuously elevating the quality of our deliverables.

So, if you’re ready to take on a leadership role, contribute to exciting projects and customer satisfaction, and shape the creative direction of our community, then what are you waiting for?

Gain invaluable experience and open the door for future marketing management positions by applying today!

Think you got what it takes? Put your skills to the test with our one-of-a-kind application process.

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Sara, a Designity content writer.
About the author:
Sara Lopez
Sara is a Texas-based copywriter.
Interested in content collaboration? Email at press@designity.com
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