Becoming a Marketing Manager: Job Description & Salary Information

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What are the pros and cons of a career as a marketing manager? Get real job descriptions, career outlook and salary info to see if becoming a marketing manager is right for you.
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Pros and Cons of Becoming a Marketing Manager

Marketing managers help companies figure out the right mix of product offerings to satisfy customers. Although marketing managers are well compensated, you'll face stiff competition for a position and the work can be incredibly stressful. Read on to find out more about the pros and cons of working as a marketing manager.

Pros of a Marketing Manager Career
High earning potential (average yearly salary in 2014 was about $137,000)*
Degree programs are readily available (584 schools with marketing major in 2012)**
Work in a comfortable environment*
Can work in virtually any industry (pharmaceuticals, technology, entertainment etc.)***

Cons of a Marketing Manager Career
High competition for jobs*
Typically involves long hours (about 20% worked more than 40 hours per week in 2012)*
Stressful work environment*
Pressure to meet deadlines*

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **The Princeton Review, ***University of Michigan - Ross School of Business.

Career Information

Job Description

When companies need strategies to reach more customers, sell more products and increase their profits, they turn to marketing managers for expertise and advice. Marketing managers use their years of marketing experience to design marketing campaigns and offer pricing strategies so that companies can better compete in the marketplace, striking a balance between customer satisfaction and the financial bottom line. Part of a marketing manager's job requires conducting or studying market research and predicting future consumer buying trends; they may also help companies develop new products when there is a gap in what's currently offered. Marketing departments work with managers in advertising, sales, promotions and public relations to make sure all of their efforts are unified and the company's money is being spent effectively and wisely.

Career Paths

Since marketing management is such a broad field, there are many ways for you to specialize and find your niche. Marketing firms may have management positions in sales, branding, merchandising and retailing, integrated communications or other areas of expertise. Some firms focus on specific types of marketing, such as business-to-business, or they might do work for one or two industries, such as non-profit organizations, pharmaceutical companies, technology firms or healthcare organizations.

Salary Info and Career Outlook

Marketing management is a lucrative career; the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports a mean annual salary of $137,000, and the top 25% of earners exceeded $171,000 in 2014. In fact, 90% of marketing managers earn more than $66,000 per year. Marketing management job growth is predicted to be average from 2012-2022, at 13%. The BLS also said that marketing managers have slightly better job security than other similar management positions, because so much of what they do is concerned with ensuring a company's profitability.

Career Skills and Requirements

Education Requirements

Marketing professionals generally hold a bachelor's degree in marketing, business or another closely related field; O*Net OnLine figures showed that in 2011, 84% of marketing managers held a 4-year degree. Within a marketing major or concentration, most schools offer quite a bit of flexibility, allowing students to specialize in specific areas of marketing. Coursework focuses on business administration and management, market research, consumer behavior, advertising, retailing and selling. The BLS recommended marketing internships, which prepare students for real-world challenges and allow them to apply the skills they learned in the classroom. Industry internships are a common component of bachelor's degree programs in marketing.

Career Skills

Because marketing managers often supervise a staff of marketing specialists and frequently interact with other department heads, it is essential that they have leadership, management and teamwork skills. They also need to be analytical thinkers who can process a lot of information to come up with the best possible strategy and do so in a decisive way. Working with others and persuading them to adopt ideas requires excellent communication skills--whether it's in a written report or a boardroom presentation. Creativity and innovation are also key for marketing managers because they need to see opportunities that others do not. Finally, organization and time management skills help marketing managers work under deadlines and stay focused on multiple projects at once.

Job Postings from Real Employers

Recent job postings indicated that while a bachelor's degree was required for employment, it did not always have to be a marketing degree; other acceptable fields included public relations, communications, journalism or business. Also, employers typically expected anywhere from three to ten years of marketing experience and showed preference for candidates who had experience related to a particular industry, such as publishing or healthcare. An April 2012 review of available marketing manager positions on job boards included the following positions:

  • A San Francisco real estate firm wanted a senior marketing communications manager to oversee e-mail marketing, industry event planning and collaborative marketing. The position emphasized strategic communications and the development of a range of marketing materials. Applicants are required to have at least ten years of communications or public relations experience.
  • A Virginia-based human resource professional organization advertised for an advertising marketing manager to lead their online presence and publications. The candidate would be responsible for overseeing the marketing plan, budget and advertising sales promotions for the company's various print and online publications, including a website, newsletter and e-mails. As such, computer literacy and publishing industry knowledge were listed as essential skills, in addition to a 4-year degree and 4-6 years of experience.
  • A cleaning product supply company in New Jersey was looking for a marketing director. The ideal candidate would use market research data to better understand consumer experiences, suggest product innovations and build brand satisfaction. The position required at least five years of experience in building brands and making extensive use of market trend data.

How to Make Your Skills Stand out

Professional certification can demonstrate your knowledge of marketing and set you apart from your peers. The American Marketing Association (AMA) offers the Professional Certified Marketer (PCM) designation for candidates with the appropriate combination of education and experience who pass the certification exam. This certification can be renewed every three years with the completion of continuing education and professional development.

Alternative Career Paths

Market Researchers

If you want to work in marketing but prefer the more quantitative and data-filled aspects of the field, a career as a market researcher might be an excellent option for you. This job requires excellent math skills, the ability to collect and analyze data, a flair for creating graphical representations of data and a knack for presentations. Market researchers need at least bachelor's degree, with some coursework in statistics, computer science, research and communications.

The BLS said that a master's degree will open up more job opportunities, especially for technical researchers or supervisory research positions; currently, 25% of market research analysts held a master's degree, according to O*Net OnLine. Although average yearly salaries are much lower than marketing manager salaries -around $67,000 per year- the BLS projected employment growth of about 41% from 2010-2020.

Public Relations Managers

If you would rather use your communications skills to influence public opinion and establish a reputation for a company, you might want to think about a career in public relations management. Employers want creative individuals who can solve problems quickly and communicate across all kinds of media using research and organizational skills. The BLS reported that most public relations managers need to have a bachelor's degree in public relations or another communications-based field; however, a master's degree might increase job prospects.

Public relations managers and specialists are expected to experience 21% employment growth from 2010-2020, with new communications technologies driving the need for these crafters of public opinion. On average, public relations and fundraising managers took home $106,000 per year in 2011, the BLS said.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Keiser University

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      • Master of Business Administration - Management (Spanish)
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      • B.A. - Business Admin: Marketing
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      • Associate of Arts - Accounting
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    2. Saint John's University

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    Master's
      • Master of Business Administration: Interdisciplinary Business
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    3. American InterContinental University

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    Master's
      • Master of Business Admin: Marketing
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      • Bachelor of Business Admin: Marketing
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      • Associate of Arts in Business Administration
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    4. Herzing University

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      • B.S. - Business Management: Marketing Concentration
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    5. Colorado Technical University

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Featured Schools

Keiser University

  • Master of Business Administration - Management (Spanish)
  • B.A. - Business Admin: Marketing
  • Associate of Arts - Accounting

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Saint John's University

  • Master of Business Administration: Interdisciplinary Business

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American InterContinental University

  • Master of Business Admin: Marketing
  • Bachelor of Business Admin: Marketing
  • Associate of Arts in Business Administration

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Herzing University

  • MBA
  • B.S. - Business Management: Marketing Concentration
  • Associate of Science - Business Management

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Colorado Technical University

  • Doctor of Management (DM) - General Concentration (Executive Format)
  • Master of Business Admin: Marketing
  • BS - Business Administration - Marketing
  • Associate of Science in Business Administration

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Northcentral University

  • Doctor of Business Admin - Marketing
  • PhD in Business Admin - Marketing
  • MBA - Marketing
  • Master of Business Admin - General Business

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Seton Hall University

  • Master of Business Administration - Marketing
  • Master of Business Administration

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Full Sail University

  • M.S. - Internet Marketing
  • M.S. - Entertainment Business
  • BS - Internet Marketing - Certificate
  • B.S. - Music Business

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