Effective consumer communication is powered by strong content and savvy marketing practitioners who understand the product or service, the message, and the audience. As businesses adapt to the rapid growth of e-commerce, employment opportunities in marketing continue to increase. Those interested in how to become a marketing manager can benefit from the right academic program and relevant work experience before pursuing a career in communications.
What Does a Marketing Manager Do?
Marketing managers are responsible for identifying, assessing, and connecting with the appropriate markets for an organization’s product or service. Combining analytical skills and creative execution, marketing managers need to excel at leading their departments or teams. Working together, the team’s goal is to reach target audiences with the right message at the right time. Marketing managers are often also responsible for monitoring trends and making decisions about when and how to react to those factors. In addition, they help companies develop strategies based on analytics to maximize profits while keeping customer satisfaction high.
Typical Steps to Becoming a Marketing Manager
The following steps outline a path that may be helpful to a future professional who wants to become a marketing manager. Qualifying for some marketing or promotions positions may require a bachelor’s degree in communications or a related field. Completing a bachelor’s degree, and taking other steps, can help aspiring marketing managers seize potential job opportunities in a diverse range of organizations.
Step 1: Earn a Bachelor’s Degree
Every successful organization relies on top-flight marketing expertise. This makes the role of the marketing manager among the most important in the company. The first step in becoming a marketing manager is earning a bachelor’s degree in marketing. This degree prepare students for a dynamic marketing environment by combining traditional business practices with novel strategies and advanced technology, such as data analytics, SEO, content management, multimedia, and user interface design.
Among the required fields of study are interactive marketing, applying advanced analytics to consumer behavior, and customer-focused product development. The bachelor’s in marketing programs that do the best job of preparing students for career success are those that offer a broad knowledge base to ensure graduates bring versatility to the job marketplace.
Step 2: Build On-the-Job Experience
The path to becoming a marketing manager usually continues with an entry-level job. Employers typically seek entry-level marketing employees who can take on administrative and research-oriented tasks as marketing event specialists or account, social media, or project coordinators.
Typically, entry-level roles in marketing report to account executives, media planners, or client service managers, which are the most common mid-level manager roles. Marketing managers may either fall into the same midlevel category or oversee the entire marketing department, depending on the size and departmental design of the organization. Before becoming a marketing manager, one must gain relevant on-the-job experience to form a basic understanding of messaging, target audiences, budgets, and the inner workings of an organization.
Step 3: Pursue an MBA for Advancement (Optional)
While earning an advanced degree is not required to become a marketing manager, a targeted degree such as an MBA in Marketing can potentially help expedite a marketing career, both financially and professionally. It can also increase the chances for a marketing professional to qualify for more diverse career opportunities. MBA in Marketing courses supplement a core business curriculum and focus on consumer behavior, social networking and search engine optimization, and other relevant advertising topics.
What Skills Does a Marketing Manager Need?
The role of a marketing manager requires a diverse skill set that includes business management skills, creative thinking, and problem-solving. All managers must possess leadership and communication skills, as they are charged with motivating employees. That’s particularly important in a creative environment. Communication is key for marketing managers, too. They need to explain to stakeholders how marketing objectives align with those of the organization, which helps ensure that the collaboration to reach goals is cross-functional.
Often responsible for monitoring critical industry trends, marketing managers also need to employ analytical and research skills in order to understand their audiences. Last but not least, marketing managers are responsible for ensuring that the marketing initiatives fall within the allowed budget while still meeting organizational goals.
Marketing Manager Salaries and Job Outlook
The growth of e-commerce means that organizations have expanded their online marketing efforts, which has increased the need for marketing managers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects the overall employment of advertising, promotions, and marketing managers to grow 10 percent from 2016 to 2026, which is faster than the average growth for all occupations. BLS also reports that the median annual wage for marketing managers was $132,230 in May 2017.
The road to becoming a marketing manager begins by gaining experience via an entry-level position as a marketing specialist or coordinator. Figures compiled by BLS as of May 2017 show the median annual wage for market research analysts and marketing specialists is $63,230. Industries with the highest levels of employment for marketing specialists are management, scientific, and technical consulting firms; enterprise management; and computer systems design and related services.
Start Your Journey to Becoming a Marketing Manager Today
Marketing managers are essential for many businesses as the media diet of Americans continues to grow. Online message saturation has created a noisy, complicated media landscape. That means businesses need tech-savvy, creative communicators to manage their marketing teams. A bachelor’s in communication program can arm marketing professionals with the tools they need to ensure their voices are heard and their organizations are profitable.
To learn more about how to become an advertising manager, visit Maryville University’s online Bachelor of Arts in Communication program.