If your brain is a melting pot of analytical thinking and creative ideas, if you’re a natural born leader with exceptional communication skills, and (finally) if you can handle the stress of deadlines without caving into the pressure, then you might want to consider a career as a marketing manager. In smaller companies, the CEO or owner may have to assume a multitude of responsibilities such as advertising, promotions, public relations, sales, and marketing. On the other hand, your larger companies have a vice-president to manage these areas.
Characteristically, marketing managers are in charge of coordinating the many facets of marketing strategy including marketing research and public relations. Additionally, they employ managers in areas such as advertising, pricing, product development, promotion, and sales. With the exception of the larger firms, these managers direct advertising and promotion staffs which are rarely large. Many of the smaller firms will outsource their advertising and promotional responsibilities, with the management person serves as the liaison between the advertising agency and the corporation.
The professional, scientific, and technical services industries employed roughly 1/3 of the marketing managers in the labor force in 2004 according to a Department of Labor report. Also, advertising, marketing, promotions, public relations, and sales managers held approximately 700,000 total jobs — marketing managers accounted for 203,000 of them or 29%.
Typical Responsibilities of the Marketing Manager
Marketing managers and their subordinates — market research managers and product development personnel — are usually charged with developing the marketing strategies for their firms. Typically, the firm’s products and services are also analyzed in this way. Additionally, they are responsible for identifying customers as well as potential markets such as businesses, the general public, government, retailers, and wholesalers.
At the same time that the marketing manager is striving to maintain customer satisfaction levels, they are also attempting to maximize market share and profits by utilizing effective pricing strategies. Marketing managers will also team up with other managers in an attempt to attract consumers by promoting the company’s products and/or services. Finally, in an effort to monitor trends which indicate the need for developing new products and services, marketing managers will oftentimes collaborate with product development and sales managers. When the product enters the development stage, they will assist in overseeing the process.
Educational Background and/or Requirements
Typically, there is no clear cut course of educational requirements when it comes to qualifying for the position of marketing manager. Normally, the marketing managers in most companies have been promoted from within, having risen through the ranks as either sales managers or market researchers. As far as education is concerned in this sense, it relates to the training one can receive by virtue of climbing up the corporate ladder. So the first step involved with becoming a marketing manager is to get one’s foot in the door, and then work your way up.
Formal education may or may not have to involve an actual marketing curriculum. In fact, there is quite a variety of acceptable core studies. What seems to be common among a lot of employers is that they oftentimes will seek out those candidates that have a fairly broad liberal arts education with any pertinent or related work experience. Requirements will vary from position to position.
Surprisingly, many companies will look favorably on the candidate that has a bachelor’s degree in journalism, literature, philosophy, psychology, or sociology. Other companies may prefer that the successful candidate have a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a master’s degree in marketing. In the more high-tech type of environments, such as computer manufacturing, the employer may want the candidate to have a bachelor’s in a computer science with a master’s in business administration.
Another avenue shows that some employers want their marketing manager candidate to have a degree in journalism with a solid foundation in areas like consumer behavior, marketing, market research, and sales. Basically, internships and management courses in general are all desired qualities and are highly valued as proper preparation for a marketing management career. As always, computer skills are considered vital, and in some instances, a foreign language (especially Spanish) is considered a desired quality.
Finally, personnel managers that employ the strictest set of educational criteria usually look for a candidate with at least a bachelor’s and preferably a master’s degree in either accounting, finance, or marketing. Additionally, an MBA in business administration or business management with a concentration on marketing is preferred over a Bachelor’s.
Salary Range and Employment Outlook
Career opportunities in the marketing industry have improved steadily in the past four years and the US Labor Department expects the number of marketing occupations to grow faster than the average career sector. Competition for jobs is expected to be fierce and the individual in the field who aspires to move up into management may have to acquire extra years of experience compared to the current requirements.
As of January of 2008, the US Bureau of Labor statistics reports that marketing manager salaries range between $66,247 and $93,073. The wide range in salary is relevant to the business or industry, the level of employment, and the size of the company.
6 Steps to Maximizing Your Marketing Management Potential
Specific job growth oftentimes varies by industry and employment opportunities for marketing managers is expected grow faster than the national average through 2014. The following six steps are recommendations for what a marketing manager candidate can do to hopefully enhance their chances for an upward career move.
1. First and foremost, try to pursue an education that is what the employer is looking for in a candidate. Minimum educational requirements call for a B.A. or a B.S. in business management, marketing, or the company’s industry niche, e.g. engineering. Some employers may also require an MBA.
2. If at all possible, try to intern with a marketing company. It’s a good way to nurture some knowledge and gain invaluable experience in the process.
3. Spend anywhere from 3 to 5 years in lower-level jobs such as a customer service representative, marketing assistant, market researcher, or sales assistant. This will help you enhance your background skills as well as gain the experience needed to become a marketing manager.
4. Enroll in a creative or technical writing class, or join a public speaking group. It will help you develop your written and oral communication skills.
5. If the opportunity to relocate is offered to you, take it. Transfers from a home office to a branch, or between branches, increases your chances for a promotion and/or looks good on a resume
6. If your local college offers continuing education courses or a management training program, enroll in it. This helps to hone your skills and alerts your employer to the fact that you are committed to developing and advancing your career.