How to Become a Marketing Manager in 5 Steps

Discover how to become a marketer. Learn how long it takes to become a marketing manager, and find out about their degree and certification requirements to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Marketing Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Do Marketing Managers Do?

A marketing manager is a professional who supervises the activities used to enhance the promotion and sales of products, services, or ideas. It is their job to increase the profits of their business by analyzing marketing data and using the findings to decide on optimal prices and create appealing campaigns for your product or service based on trends in the marketplace.

They perform similar duties to that of sales managers, developing a high-level understanding of their target market and their needs. With this knowledge, sales and marketing managers create a demand for specific products and then work to maintain their customer base. As a marketing manager, you'll be involved in the functions that facilitate these activities, such as product development, packaging, advertising, pricing, and distribution.

Take a look at the following chart for an overview of marketing manager information.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree; master's degree for advancement
Education Field of Study Marketing, advertising, business administration
Key Responsibilities Supervise promotional activities, determine consumers' needs, create demand for products and services, maintain customer base
Certification Certification is voluntary (for advancement purposes)
Job Growth (2016-2026) 10%*
Average Annual Salary (2018) $147,240*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

How to Be a Successful Marketer

So how long does it take to become a marketing manager? The path typically includes earning an 4-year degree then entering the marketing field to gain experience while working your way up to a manager-level position. You might also choose to earn a master's degree, which takes an additional two years, to boost your knowledge and skills. Below are the specific steps to becoming a marketing manager.

Step 1: Fulfill Marketing Manager Education Requirements

Your first step is pursue an undergraduate degree in a marketing field. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employers prefer hiring marketing managers who have completed at least a bachelor's degree program. Majors that are consistent with your occupation include marketing, advertising, business administration, and other related fields. During your program, you'll take coursework that provides training in areas such as:

  • Marketing research
  • Public relations
  • Consumer behavior
  • Business finance
  • Advertising
  • Consumer promotions

Step 2: Consider Certification to Boost Your Marketing Manager Qualifications

Certification is not required, but the BLS reported that a growing number of marketing managers earn certification to boost their chances of employment in a tough economy. Certification is available through trade associations like the Sales & Marketing Executives International (SMEI) and requires you to successfully take an exam.

Step 3: Add Work Experience To Your Marketing Manager Training

You typically won't start out right away as a marketing manager - you might seek an entry-level marketing position, such as a marketing specialist, to get work experience. Marketing positions could be found in nearly any industry that sells products, services, or ideas. You might find employment with a specialized firm that provides marketing services to numerous clients, or you could work at a marketing department for an organization that sells its own goods. Apparel, entertainment, food and beverage, healthcare, hospitality, and technology are just a few of the many industries that use the services of marketing managers and specialists.

Step 4: Join a Trade Association

By joining a trade association, you could stay informed on the latest industry developments, protocols, and new technologies. You'll also gain access to professional networking opportunities. Membership is available through various organizations, including the Association of International Product Marketing and Management, the American Marketing Association, and SMEI.

Step 5: Complete a Graduate Program

Earning a master's degree can put you at an advantage when applying for higher-level marketing management jobs, according to the BLS. You might earn a Master of Science in Marketing or a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a specialization in Marketing. If you pursue graduate studies, you could receive advanced training in management, leadership, business strategies, finance, product development, and corporate communications.

How Much Do Marketing Managers Make?

The BLS reported that, as of May 2018, the annual average salary of a marketing manager was $147,240; however, this figure can vary depending on what industry you work in. For instance, marketing managers working in the Scientific Research and Development Services industry earned an average salary of $190,460 in 2018 and those working in the Motion Picture and Video Industries earned $184,650 on average.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Advertising managers head advertising campaigns to draw interest in a product or service. Promotions managers are in charge of advertising different promotions, such as rebates and coupons, offered by companies to incentivize sales. Sales managers oversee and train companies' sales teams in interpreting sales data and creating sales goals. All of these positions tend to work closely with each other within a company and require bachelor's degrees in similar fields.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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