How to Become a Marketing Manager

Interested in how to become a marketing manager? Explore the position and learn about the education, experience, and skills needed for a career in the field.
Photo by Rebecca Slater '10 / By Rebecca Studios

In early 2020, more than 11% of CMO Survey respondents’ total budgets were dedicated to marketing. Digital marketing accounts for the majority of that spend, growing each year as investments in traditional marketing and advertising stagnate or decline. 

Marketing managers are responsible for the money allocated to marketing, leading teams and securing the necessary resources for successfully marketing an organization’s products or services. Individuals who are interested in stepping into a leadership role and learning how to become a marketing manager may want to consider earning a Master of Business Administration (MBA)


What Does a Marketing Manager Do?

Marketing managers serve as leaders in the marketing department of a business or corporation. They hire and oversee the team responsible for the creation and promotion of a business’ marketing messages. Alongside their teams, marketing managers are responsible for raising awareness of a brand and positioning a product or service to generate revenue. 

Another important aspect of marketing management is identifying potential markets for the product and targeting potential customers. Marketing teams leverage data to analyze the patterns and behaviors of potential customers to attract them to their business. They also use data to gain information about how to better serve current customers. 

The day-to-day responsibilities and role of a marketing manager can vary across organizations. However, these marketing professionals often research the prices of competing brands and develop pricing strategies with their teams, as well as conduct research regarding trends in their fields and determine how to best position their companies’ products and services. They are also responsible for managing the marketing department’s budget and tracking return on investment. 

Marketing managers can create marketing campaigns for new products, including the design of new websites or brochures. They also track the results of a marketing campaign and revise their strategy if it is not meeting the business’ goals. As digital marketing becomes more essential, marketing departments produce copy and content for websites, blogs, emails, and social media posts. Marketing managers oversee the quality and monitor the success of that content. 

Steps to Becoming a Marketing Manager

An individual who wants to become a marketing manager should pursue an education in the field and gain on-the-job experience. To that end, the following steps can help them prepare for a leadership role in marketing: 

Step 1: Earn a Degree           

Earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, business administration, marketing, advertising, or a related field is the first step on the path toward becoming a marketing manager. Relevant courses include marketing, computer science, economics, business law, statistics, and business management, among others. An undergraduate degree can prepare individuals for entry-level marketing jobs.  

Step 2: Gain Experience and Skills               

Having experience in the field is essential before taking on a leadership role in a business environment. Individuals can pursue positions at a variety of companies in different industries. As they gain experience in digital marketing, content marketing, sales marketing, performance marketing, or product marketing, they should seek to hone their skills in the following domains:

  • Research: Working in marketing requires individuals to conduct research into customers, competitors, the overall market, and emerging trends. 
  • Analytics: Marketing professionals should be able to analyze and interpret all the data and information they have gathered to create strategies for their companies’ products. 
  • Verbal and written communication: A marketing manager needs excellent verbal communication when discussing strategies with their team and the business as a whole, as well as excellent written communication for overseeing the production of content and copy. 
  • Creativity and innovation: Creativity is key to launching successful marketing campaigns, and leaders should be able to deal with problems in innovative ways.
  • Technology: As technology advances and digital marketing becomes more complex, marketing professionals should understand analytics and a variety of other applicable tools, such as CRM (customer relationship management) and ERP (enterprise resource planning) software. 
  • Leadership: Marketing managers must be able to align a marketing project’s goals with the organization’s overall objectives. They should be able to provide a vision that team members can carry out.
  • Teamwork: Since marketing leaders are responsible for overseeing a team of specialists, they should encourage relationship building and provide a platform for everyone to voice their ideas and opinions.

Step 3: Advance in the Field             

Marketing professionals with several years of experience in the field may want to advance and become a marketing manager. One way they can accelerate their careers and gain a competitive edge in the job market is by pursuing an advanced degree such as an MBA. Choosing a program with courses catered to developing collaboration skills and leadership competencies should be a priority. 

Job Outlook and Salary for Marketing Managers

The job outlook is positive for marketing managers, as more and more businesses are relying on digital marketing strategies. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts the employment of marketing managers will grow by 7% between 2019 and 2029, whereas the average predicted growth for all occupations is just 4%. 

The median annual salary for marketing managers is $136,850, according to the BLS. Salaries can vary based on job location, company, years of experience, and education level. The lowest 10% earn $71,010 on average, while the highest 10% earn as much as $208,000. 

Pursue a Career in Marketing Leadership

Marketing managers are key personnel in business organizations, responsible for a significant portion of a company’s budget and playing a direct role in its financial success. St. Catherine University is focused on leadership, integrating the concept into its graduate and undergraduate curricula. Furthermore, its Center for Sales Innovation focuses specifically on leadership in a business environment.

If you’re interested in becoming a marketing manager, explore how St. Kate’s MBA program can open up a variety of job opportunities in the field and help you reach your goals.