Marketing Vice President Careers: Salary & Job Description

About this article
A marketing vice president's median salary is about $139,000. Is it worth the pressures associated with upper-management work? Read real job descriptions and learn more about the job prospects and about whether a career as a marketing vice president is right for you.
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Pros and Cons of Being a Marketing Vice President

Marketing vice presidents (VPs) come up with strategies to sell goods and services for corporations. Read up about the pros and cons of pursuing an executive-level marketing career.

Pros of Being a Marketing Vice President
Attainable with just a bachelor's degree plus work experience *
High median salary (roughly $139,000 as of 2015)*
Work available in many industries (manufacturing, enterprise management, finance/insurance, and professional/technical services) *
Marketing managers enjoy a higher level of job security than other types of managers *

Cons of Being a Marketing Vice President
Known to be stressful due to strict deadlines *
Long hours (many work 50 or more hours each week) *
Tough decisions (managers may need to choose from several different marketing strategies developed by colleagues) *
Competition for positions is expected to be high *

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Information

Job Description and Duties

Marketing vice presidents belong to a classification of jobs that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) refers to as 'marketing managers'. These individuals conduct market research to determine the level of demand for particular goods or services. They then implement marketing strategies to reach the target demographic and determine the best price for the goods or services to meet the bottom line and to maximize consumer satisfaction. Marketing VPs may also oversee the hiring of new employees.

In this role, you might have a hand in the development stages of a product, ensuring that it's on track to meet the demands of its intended consumer demographic. Marketing VPs who work in high-ranking executive positions have more responsibilities, including contract negotiation and the execution of business goals. Specialization options are available in healthcare, sports, and entertainment marketing, among many others.

Career Prospects and Salary

The BLS reported that the employment of marketing managers is expected to increase 13% percent between 2012-2022, which is right around average growth for all jobs. Because marketing managers are integral to the operations of a corporation, they often are less likely to be let go during corporate down-sizing. Of the 184,490 marketing managers working in 2014, 18% were working in management of companies and enterprises roles.

In May 2014, the BLS reported that marketing managers earned a median annual salary of $127,130. According to that data, the highest paying industry for marketing VPs was security and commodity exchanges (averaging $213,620), while those working for insurance carriers made significantly less ($136,340 annually). In 2015, Payscale.com reported that the 10th-90th percentile of marketing VPs earned between approximately $82,000-$188,000 annually (with bonuses, profit sharing, and other such types of additional income).

Education and Training Requirements

You'll need at least a bachelor's degree in a business-related area before working through the ranks to become a marketing vice president. Expect to spend some time in lower-level positions, since many employers look for around 7-10 years' experience for their VP candidates. You can start building this experience while in school, through internships or by working entry-level jobs as you earn your degree. You should also possess skills in areas like

  • Mathematics
  • Analytical skills
  • Management
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Decision-making skills

Job Postings from Real Employers

Though employers accept people with just bachelor's degrees, many may prefer candidates with advanced degrees, like a Master of Business Administration (MBA). These professionals commonly meet directly with top executives, such as a Chief Marketing Officer or a Senior Vice President. Employers look for candidates who are willing and able to take the initiative with regard to new marketing initiatives and strategies. Here are some actual postings from real employers, as of April 2012:

  • A data protection agency based in Philadelphia is looking for candidates with at least five years of marketing management experience in the software industry. The position would involve managing the company's Internet media, developing lead generation strategies, and designing product launch plans. The ideal candidate will be skilled at budgeting, planning, and communicating.
  • An Illinois-based bowling and billiards company is looking for a Vice President of Retail Marketing who'd be in charge of training new managerial workers, designing national marketing initiatives and recruiting league bowlers at the company's bowling alleys nationwide. The company is looking for individuals with at least a bachelor's degree in marketing plus ten years of business management experience, with at least five of those years being in the retail or hospitality sectors. Those with MBAs are given extra consideration.
  • An academic governing body based in Washington, D.C., seeks someone to be its next senior vice president for marketing and communications. The individual hired would run the entire marketing department, which also entails maintaining membership records and handling communications. Ten years of experience in some type of marketing management role is required; those with that level of experience in an association or a college are preferred.
  • A New York State provider of low-cost healthcare is looking for a marketing VP to put the agencies marketing strategies into action. The candidate should be familiar with government-assisted health care programs, like Family Health Plus, Child Health Plus, Medicare, and Medicaid. Seven years of experience and a bachelor's degree are required; candidates holding master's degrees are preferred.

How to Stand Out in the Field

Rising above the competition for marketing VP jobs can entail extra education and experience in various marketing-related professions. Interning during your undergraduate or graduate years can also help you stand out. Other ways of standing out include developing your organizational, creative, decision-making, and interpersonal skills, which can be built through an internship or related entry-level position, and highlighting these skills on the resume you send out to potential employers.

Market Yourself

Due to the variances in the specializations available, you may want to take inventory of your prior experiences and look for marketing jobs in fields in which you've worked or are otherwise knowledgeable. For example, looking at the job post for the bowling and billiards manufacturer, you could stand out if you have experience with the culture associated in bowling alleys, either through previous work experience in one or simply as a bowling enthusiast. Similarly, if you have a software or information technology (IT) background, consider looking for jobs such as the one posted by the Philadelphia-based data protection agency. You might also wish to look into social marketing workshops, which are offered by various professional organizations and by universities. These programs can get a bit costly, so look at the various options and see what kind of workshops or seminars would be worth your investment.

Get More Education and Credentials

Having a master's degree in a business-related area can also move you past many other people competing for these jobs, based on the job posts above. Many colleges and universities across the nation offer Master of Business Administration degrees with concentration options in marketing. These programs can help you develop well-rounded managerial skills while covering such marketing principles as performance and productivity analysis, marketing research, and marketing strategies. Programs may also include the study of specialized areas, like entertainment marketing and sports marketing. Many schools offer these programs online, allowing you to study remotely and at your own pace.

Once you make your way to a VP position, you can then pursue voluntary certification, which can highlight your professionalism and dedication to the field. One such certification is the Certified Marketing Executive (CME) credential offered by Sales & Marketing Executives International. Earning it requires that you demonstrate proficiency with marketing strategies, marketing management, and the legal and technical aspects of the profession.

Other Careers to Consider

If the above career path doesn't sound like it would fit you, then you could pursue one of a number of related career paths. Public relations managers and sales managers are among the possibilities that might be a better fit for you.

Public Relations Managers

A management career in public relations (PR) can be an option for you if you prefer the communications side of management. Strong communications skills are needed, since public relations managers deal directly with media agencies and the general public. In this role, it would be your job to translate the goals and visions of a business to its target audience. According to the BLS, public relations managers only need a bachelor's degree and a few years of experience to get into entry-level management positions. In time, you could work your way up to a directorial position, which could require 5-10 years of experience. In May 2011, the BLS reported that the median annual salary for public relations and fundraising managers was about $93,000. From 2010-2020, the BLS predicted that public relations managers and specialists would see a 21% employment growth.

Sales Managers

If you see yourself as a persuasive person with a knack for customer service, you may wish to become a sales manager. You can pursue a number of paths to enter this field. For example, you could get a bachelor's degree in a business-related area and then pursue a master's degree, which could get you in the door with minimal work experience. Alternatively, if you build experience in entry-level jobs, such as sales representative, you may not need as much college training. In 2011, the BLS reported that sales managers earned a median annual salary of about $102,000. From 2010-2020, they were expected to see an employment rate increase of about 12%.

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