How to Become a Marketing Manager (With Skills and FAQs)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published June 26, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Marketing managers are leaders in a company's marketing team, who create marketing strategies and tactics to increase sales and revenue. These senior marketing professionals use their experience and leadership skills to deliver successful campaigns which achieve the commercial goals of the business. Understanding the most common processes for becoming a marketing manager can help professionals who work in marketing to progress their career to this rewarding position. In this article, we explain what a marketing manager is, offer steps for how to become a marketing manager, list their typical skills, and provide some frequently asked questions and answers.

What is a marketing manager?

A marketing manager is a leader of marketing teams who responds to commercial trends with strategic marketing campaigns. They do this through careful analysis of industry data and tactical demographic targeting to promote the company's products or services. The scope of a marketing manager's role may change depending on the size of the company. For example, a marketing manager for a large corporation may supervise a team of marketing professionals. A marketing manager for a smaller business may not manage a team, but rather manage the company's marketing efforts themselves. Some of their additional duties include:

  • Evaluating their team's progress and providing feedback

  • Analyzing the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns

  • Managing budgets for their team and marketing activity

  • Working closely with sales teams to design and deploy campaigns

  • Employing the most effective marketing materials for particular objectives

  • Evaluating performance in relation to the brand's competitors

Related: What Is Lifecycle Marketing, and How Do You Use It?

How to become a marketing manager

Here are some helpful steps for how to become a marketing manager:

1. Earn a bachelor's degree

The first step for many in pursuing a career as a marketing manager is to attend university to earn a bachelor's degree in a related discipline. Degrees in subjects such as business administration, marketing, or communications can be beneficial to prospective marketing managers, and provide them with some of the fundamental skills they require for the role. These skills may include data and statistical analysis, advertising practices, business writing, and communication. Participating in internships during your degree can also offer additional experience, which is vital to progressing through a marketing career.

Related: Top Degree in Marketing Jobs

2. Gain experience

Most marketers gain years of experience before moving into marketing manager roles. Because marketing managers hold roles that are senior or require informed decision-making, it's usually necessary for marketing managers to have adequate experience in one or more marketing disciplines. Commonly, marketers begin their careers in entry-level marketing roles, such as marketing assistant, specialist, or coordinator positions. It can be beneficial to find part-time roles while you're still studying. This can help you to gain experience and begin building a professional network.

3. Prepare your resume

A robust and well-written resume is a vital asset when pursuing a role as a marketing manager. Your resume can help you communicate your experience, achievements, education, skills, and professional background. Review the job listing to identify keywords to include in your resume to make it more relevant and appealing to hiring managers. Consider the most important and impactful elements of your career, and include them in your resume.

4. Continue learning

Throughout your career journey toward becoming a marketing manager, you can continue to develop your skills and knowledge. Trends, tactics, and strategies can change rapidly in the field of marketing, so attending specialty education programs and courses can help you ensure that your knowledge is up-to-date. Seminars and webinars can also be helpful for learning about developments in marketing or new tools. Returning to university can also allow marketing professionals to gain a master's degree to advance their education.

Related: 10 Types of Marketing to Explore (With Tips and FAQs)

Typical marketing manager skills

There are a few key skills which can benefit marketing managers in their roles. Some of these are soft skills, while others are common hard skills. A hard skill is one that you can learn through training or education, while a soft skill is one you may learn through experience and practice, such as communication. Here are some lists of the hard and soft skills a marketing manager may have:

Hard skills

Some of the hard skills marketing managers often have include:

  • SEO, or search engine optimization

  • Analytics

  • Advertising practices

  • Using social media platforms

  • Budgeting

  • Public relations

  • Using communication techology

Related: Pull Marketing Strategies with Types and Advantages

Soft skills

Some of the soft skills a marketing manager may have are:

  • Empathy

  • Adaptability

  • Attention to detail

  • Leadership

  • Collaboration

  • Communication

  • Emotional intelligence

Related: 10 Effective Strategies for Generating Leads in Marketing

Frequently asked questions about becoming a marketing manager

Here are some frequently asked questions about becoming a marketing manager which may answer some questions you have:

Do marketing managers need a degree?

While having a degree in a related field is an advantage when pursuing a marketing manager role, it's possible to become one without formal education. Without a degree, you can pursue progressively senior sales or marketing roles to gain enough experience to prepare you for a role as a marketing manager. The most common way for those without degrees to enter the field of marketing is through entry-level sales roles, before moving into trade marketing roles. After gaining experience with marketing practices and leadership, you can be a suitable candidate for a marketing management position.

Related: Understanding Service Marketing (Definition and Tips)

How long does it take to become a marketing manager?

Depending on the level of experience, education, or the size of companies, the amount of time it can take to become a marketing manager can vary. Typically, hiring managers require prospective marketing managers to have several years of relevant experience in marketing, preferably at a senior level. This can mean holding other managerial supervisory roles for a number of years prior to pursuing a marketing manager role. Where a marketing manager position doesn't include leadership of a team, candidates may qualify with adequate marketing industry experience.

Related: Marketing Job Titles (Examples and Hierarchy)

How can I prepare for a marketing manager interview?

The most effective way to prepare for a marketing manager interview is to do sufficient independent research. Researching prior to your interview can help you to prepare some thoughtful responses to the interviewer's questions. Researching the company's founders, leaders, competitors, values, and commercial offering can help you offer considered and informed answers. Similarly, doing this research can also help you to formulate your own questions to ask during the interview. Asking questions shows that you're engaged, interested, and invested in the opportunity. It can also help to ask anyone you know who works for the company for advice.

Related: 7 Marketing Functions: What They Are and Their Importance

Is a marketing manager different from a brand manager?

Although the roles of marketing managers and brand managers are very similar, there are some distinct differences. Typically, a brand manager works under the supervision of a marketing manager to focus more on the brand's representation in the market. While brand marketing is also a consideration of the marketing manager, they focus more on targeting the company's core demographics through tactical marketing strategies. A brand manager also focuses their attention on how the public perceives the brand, which is less relevant to marketing managers.

Related: Creative Marketing Strategies to Consider (With Tips)

Are there further development opportunities after being a marketing manager?

While the role of a marketing manager is a senior role, there are many opportunities for advancement after this position. The simplest path from being a marketing manager is into the role of a senior marketing manager, who may hold more responsibility or manage a larger team of marketers. Other progressive roles often include those of a director. Such roles include director of marketing, director of communications, or director of advertising.

The next tier of positions in the marketing job title hierarchy is that of executive marketer roles. Executive positions include chief marketing officer, or CMO, and vice president of marketing. These roles can also specify marketing fields, such as digital marketing or advertising.

Related: Top 10 Skills of a Marketing Manager

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