What is the role of a marketing manager?
A marketing manager leads the promotion of a product or business — by crafting compelling stories and managing strategic campaigns. In this mid-level role, it helps to have a wide range of marketing experience and skills such as communication, creativity, and decision-making.
Marketing managers often plan and oversee many different activities including go-to-market launches, advertising, email campaigns, events, and social media. You will also build marketing programs and campaigns, collaborate cross-functionally, and report on marketing metrics.
Most marketing managers need a deep understanding of the addressable market and target audience for your product. Most importantly, you must know how the product or service you are promoting helps to solve customer pain points. Conducting market research and creating buyer personas are both essential for building knowledge in these areas.
Depending on the size and structure of the company, some specific responsibilities will vary. For example, a marketing manager at a smaller company might take a more generalist approach. At a larger organization with established digital, product, or content marketing groups, a marketing manager might adopt a more specific focus based on the needs of the business. Read on to discover marketing manager responsibilities in more detail.
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What are a marketing manager's responsibilities?
As a marketing manager, your work is highly collaborative. You often bring together the different marketing 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 your marketing colleagues, marketing managers also represent the marketing team to cross-functional groups including product management, sales, and customer support. You might collaborate with these groups on the messaging for new product offerings or identifying new channels to reach customers.
Sometimes marketing management requires working with people outside the company, too. Strong relationships with vendors, partners, and members of the media can open up new ways to engage your target audience. For example, a marketing manager might work with a third-party agency that specializes in digital ad campaigns to supplement the work of the internal marketing team.
Marketing managers are also responsible for updating senior leadership on the progress of marketing activities and reporting on campaign results. This could be the director or VP of marketing, Chief marketing officer (CMO), or CEO.
Here is an overview of the high-level tasks you may be responsible for as a marketing manager:
Marketing managers follow a strategic plan (typically set by a more senior marketing leader) that outlines how the marketing team will support business goals. You help implement this strategy via prioritized activities on the marketing roadmap.
Creating programs and campaigns
Marketing managers own the process of building marketing campaigns — making sure cross-channel activities align with the company's strategic objectives. You also contribute ideas for future programs and campaigns.
Marketing managers often set the content strategy and editorial calendar. You may write blog posts, edit ad copy, craft marketing collateral, and work to improve SEO rankings by writing meta descriptions — ensuring everything adheres to the right messaging and tone.
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. You often need to engage with other external people such as vendors, partners, or advertising agencies.
Managing projects, budgets, and people
In addition to managing your own projects, marketing managers may also manage the budgets for ad campaigns and tools. You also lead members of the marketing team such as content creators or graphic designers.
Coordinating cross-functional teams
Marketing managers provide cross-functional leadership. You keep everyone informed of the marketing plans and are the go-to person for any internal marketing-related questions or requests.
Marketing managers often support the sales process. This might entail producing informational materials and working with sales reps to determine 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 activities. You look for ways to improve the team's efforts and better engage with prospective customers. You may also evaluate competitors and compile and share industry trends.
What is a marketing manager's salary?
A typical marketing manager salary can range from $43,000 to more than $150,000 annually. This broad range accounts for differences in experience levels, industries, location, company size, and skills. Marketing manager salaries can also vary for specialized roles (e.g., Digital Marketing Manager).
What skills does a marketing manager need?
The work outlined in the table above requires a diverse skill set. Successful marketing managers are able to apply different skills to a variety of situations. For example, you may apply data analysis expertise to monitor campaign KPIs and use storytelling skills to write and edit compelling brand content.
Certain technical or specialized skills will vary by role and organization. But below are some of the most common hard and soft skills listed in marketing manager job postings:
How to become a marketing manager
Marketing management is a mid-level role. It is important to have at least a few years of marketing experience to prepare you for the position. Beyond that, there is no single path to becoming a marketing manager — but the steps below will give you an idea of how to demonstrate your readiness for the role.
Curate a portfolio. As a marketing manager, you will likely be leading or contributing to multiple functional areas on the team. Put together a diverse portfolio of projects to showcase everything you know — like SEO reports, content pieces, and ad campaigns, for example.
Earn a certification. If you feel that there are any gaps in your marketing knowledge or areas you want to strengthen, consider taking classes or earning marketing certifications. Then, add these achievements to your resume.
Gain leadership experience. This role comes with added managerial responsibilities. Seek out opportunities to gain leadership skills by mentoring new hires, managing an intern, or getting more involved with marketing strategy.
Connect with marketing leaders you know. Talk to your current marketing leadership or other marketing managers in your network. These folks can be a valuable resource for understanding what the role entails and which skills you need to succeed as a marketing manager yourself.
What is a marketing manager's career path?
Marketing continues to be a fulfilling career choice after you become a marketing manager — with plenty of opportunities to advance or specialize. If you are curious about your career path as a marketing manager, here are some of the job titles you might pursue in the future:
Chief marketing officer (CMO)
VP of marketing
Director of marketing
Marketing group manager
Specialized marketing manager — Brand, content, digital, etc.
It is rewarding to market a great product or service. Marketing managers directly contribute to the growth of the business in many ways. This is a big responsibility that requires dedication — but it is inspiring and impactful work.
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