What is the role of a marketing manager?

A marketing manager’s job is to promote a business, product, or service. Marketing managers make sure that the company is communicating the right messaging to attract prospective customers and retain existing ones.

The role is typically filled by a mid-career marketing generalist. Marketing managers often plan and oversee a broad range of activities, including launches, advertising, email campaigns, events, and social media. But the specific duties and activities will depend on the size and structure of the company.

For example, while a marketing manager at a smaller company usually takes a "do it all" approach, one at a larger organization with established digital, product, or content marketing groups may adopt a more specific focus based on the needs of the business. No matter what type of organization, marketing managers need to know how to build programs and campaigns, collaborate with teams such as product and sales, and report on marketing metrics.

Marketing managers also need a deep understanding of the addressable market, target audience, and how the product or service they are promoting helps solve customers' pain points. Conducting market research and creating buyer personas are both essential for determining how to best engage and empathize with customers.

What are a marketing manager's responsibilities?

A marketing manager's work is highly collaborative. They often bring together the different functions (such as product marketing, digital specialists, content and creative teams), aligning all the groups whose work contributes to a successful program or campaign.

Besides working closely with their marketing colleagues, marketing managers also represent the marketing team to cross-functional groups including product management, sales, or customer support. They may collaborate with these groups to ensure new offerings are communicated in a seamless way or locate new channels to reach customers.

Some marketing managers also build relationships with people outside the company. Strong relationships with vendors, partners, and members of the media are important for identifying opportunities to build awareness of the product and better engage the company's target audience. For example, a marketing manager may need to liaise with a third-party agency that is creating an advertising campaign or reach out to members of the press for help promoting a new product.

Marketing managers are also responsible for updating senior leadership on the progress of marketing activities and reporting on the results of campaigns. While a marketing manager at a large organization usually reports to the director or VP of marketing, one at a smaller company may report directly to the CMO or CEO.

There are many different kinds of marketing managers, but most share some fundamental duties. Here is an overview of the high-level tasks they may be responsible for:

Implementing strategy

Marketing managers follow a strategic plan (typically set by a more senior marketing leader) for how their organization will achieve and maintain a competitive advantage in the market. They help implement this strategy via prioritized activities on the marketing roadmap.

Creating programs and campaigns

Every company wants to deliver breakthrough programs and campaigns. Marketing managers own the process of building these plans, making sure creative and content are aligned with the company's strategic objectives. They also come up with ideas for future programs and campaigns.

Overseeing content

Marketing managers may set the content strategy and put together an editorial calendar that supports the company's goals. Besides reviewing each piece of content to ensure that it conveys the right message and tone, they may also write blog posts, edit ad copy, craft marketing collateral materials, or work to improve SEO rankings by writing meta descriptions.

Planning events

Some marketing managers are heavily involved in planning and producing events. These can range from massive product launches and conferences to smaller efforts such as webinars.

Handling external communications

Many marketing managers build relationships with the media in order to promote the company's message. They often need to engage with other people outside the company too, such as vendors, partners, or advertising agencies.

Managing projects, budgets, and people

In addition to managing their own projects, marketing managers may also manage the budgets for their campaigns and tools. They also lead members of the marketing team (such as content creators or graphic designers).

Coordinating cross-functional teams

Marketing managers provide cross-functional leadership. They keep everyone informed of the marketing plans and are the go-to people for any internal marketing-related questions or requests.

Supporting sales

Marketing managers often help with the sales process. This might entail everything from producing informational materials to training sales reps on how to move customers along the buyer's journey more effectively.

Analyzing marketing data

Marketing managers track, analyze, and report on the impact of all their activities. They look for ways to improve their efforts and better engage with prospective customers. They may also evaluate competitors and compile and share industry trends.

What skills does a marketing manager need?

The work outlined in the table above is broad and requires a diverse skill set. Successful marketing managers are able to apply their skills to a variety of situations. For example, they may apply their data analysis expertise to monitor campaign KPIs or use their skills of persuasion to communicate with members of the media.

These are some of the most common hard and soft skills listed in job postings for marketing roles:

  • Budgeting

  • Communication

  • Collaboration

  • Creativity

  • Curiosity

  • Data analysis

  • Empathy

  • Flexibility

  • Innovation

  • Leadership

  • Organization

  • Persuasion

  • Planning

  • Project management

  • Writing

Depending on the role, there may be other technical or specialized skills required, such as marketing automation or search engine marketing. But no matter what their particular role calls for, all marketing managers need to stay up-to-date with the latest technology, tools, and marketing platforms. This enables them to generate breakthrough ideas, identify new channels, and continually craft messages that resonate with customers.

The value of a marketing manager

It is rewarding to market a great product or service. Besides helping customers solve their problems, marketing managers directly contribute to the growth of the business. This is a big responsibility that requires hard work and dedication — but it is inspiring and impactful work.

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