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Marketing Manager Job Description

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Marketing managers help companies and organizations position and promote their brands in sometimes highly competitive markets. The work is fast-paced and includes an array of roles for people who are creative, analytical, and strategic.

In this Article

Marketing Fields

Marketing is a broad field with many specialties. This means that while some marketing managers are generalists, others focus on a niche that interests them.

"There's so much that you can do in marketing these days between content marketing and social media marketing and marketing analytics and search engine optimization," says Laurie Ehrlich, founder of Elevate Marketing Strategy.

Marketing is a broad field with many specialties. This means that while some marketing managers are generalists, others focus on a niche that interests them.

Ehlrich says managers in more technical roles like market research and search engine optimization (SEO) are in particular demand.

Duties and Responsibilities

Depending on a marketing manager's role, their duties and responsibilities might include:

  • Negotiating media contracts
  • Researching and planning advertising and marketing campaigns
  • Deciding which media—for example, digital, television, or print—to use for campaigns
  • Overseeing creative elements and layouts
  • Directing market research studies and analyzing their findings
  • Developing pricing strategies for products and services
  • Meeting with clients to present campaigns and offer advice and strategies
  • Overseeing staff and ensuring deadlines are met

Entry-Level Roles

Most careers in marketing start with entry-level positions, which usually require at least an associate degree. An entry-level position can help you determine what aspects of marketing you enjoy and, as you make those discoveries, steer your career to focus on your interests.

Here are some common roles to consider.

Marketing Assistant

A marketing assistant will typically work under a senior marketing professional, assisting them with their day-to-day tasks. This can be a great position for recent grads who want to be exposed to various aspects of marketing and can potentially provide great on-the-job training.

Public Relations Specialist

PR specialists help create and manage a positive public image for a company or organization. They often write media releases, contact and develop relationships with journalists, and assist in handling company communications in case of a crisis.

Social Media Specialist

If you love TikTok, Instagram, other social media, and the latest memes, you may thrive as a social media specialist. These marketers create and publish content on a company or organization's social media platforms. A successful social media specialist will build brand awareness and increase a company's audience and engagement.

Fundraiser

Fundraisers typically work in marketing for non-profits, where they might be tasked with raising money for a particular cause. This role requires understanding your target donor audience and communicating your organization's needs in a way that resonates with that audience. 

Copywriter

Entry-level copywriters typically write marketing and advertising copy, from ads and blog posts to email, brochures, and even billboards. Successful copywriters are creative professionals who may come up with slogans for a company or innovative ways to resonate with consumers.

An entry-level position can help you determine what aspects of marketing you enjoy and, as you make those discoveries, steer your career to focus on your interests.

Marketing Manager Roles

With some experience in an entry-level position, you may be able to move into a marketing manager role, where you may oversee a team, unit, or department. These roles tend to carry higher salaries. Some companies may require managerial candidates to have the deeper education that comes with a bachelor's degree.

As you advance in your career, one of these roles may be your next step up:

Market Research Manager

While anyone can do basic research, market research managers excel at data-driven work and understanding how psychology comes into play in consumer behavior, which is crucial for promoting a company and its products.

Email Marketing Manager

Email marketing managers are responsible for email communication from a company to its customers, or one segment of customers like other businesses. They determine what types of messages the company should send as well as the frequency and content of those messages. These managers oversee email campaigns and track their success.

Marketing Manager

A marketing manager may be a generalist who oversees all marketing for a company, depending on its size. They set the company's marketing goals and typically oversee strategy, spending, and market campaigns across channels including print, social media, and retail.

Brand Manager

Brand managers oversee a company or organization's image and reputation, and how it wants to be perceived by its audiences and consumers. This role could include messaging and making sure that it's consistent across all marketing channels.

Digital Marketing Manager

Digital marketing managers are typically found at larger organizations and are responsible for overseeing every aspect of a company's digital marketing campaign. For instance, they may manage a company's social media presence, the content on its website, and the ads it runs on digital platforms like Facebook and Google.

Executive Roles

Marketing managers who advance into leadership, director, and executive roles often have a graduate degree such as a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in marketing. They tend to make a higher salary and are near or at the top of a company's org chart.

However, having only a bachelor's degree doesn't necessarily preclude you from moving into a position at the top. Ehrlich says that in marketing, experience and skills often outweigh your education.

If want to reach the highest levels of a company or organization, here are some roles you'll find.

Head of Marketing

A professional in this role typically oversees all of a company's marketing but isn't part of the company's leadership team and doesn't participate in decisions about the direction of the company as a whole.

Director of Marketing

A director of marketing is responsible for all of the marketing at a company and is often a member of the company's leadership team.

Chief Marketing Officer

A chief marketing officer, or CMO, is responsible for creating and directing the company's marketing strategy. They're generally on a company's executive team and help shape the direction of the company.

Qualities and Skills of a Successful Marketing Manager

Whatever your role in marketing, you'll need to be able to thrive in a fast-paced environment and work well with a variety of peers and stakeholders. These qualities and traits can help you grow and advance in your career.

Creative: Successful marketing requires innovation and new ideas, whether that's strategy or slogans, to promote a company and its products, particularly in crowded markets.

Organized: Even a specialized marketing role can have many responsibilities, so organizational, planning, and follow-up skills are a must. For instance, says Ehlrich, "What does your company's strategic plan look like? And how does your marketing planning need to roll into that? And does that mean you're planning by the quarter, or every six months, or once a year? You need to be able to forecast out your work but also be flexible enough in the day-to-day when things change."

Flexibility: Sometimes things don't work out as you hope. A skilled marketing manager can see when a campaign or strategy isn't working and pivot quickly to a new or even slightly different approach. "You could post a campaign on social media that goes completely differently than you wanted it to, and not in a good way," says Ehlrich. "And you need to be able to change it literally at a moment's notice."

Where Do Marketing Managers Work?

Marketing managers work in a variety of places. Some work for just one company while others work as part of a larger marketing firm or agency.

  • Advertising and public relations firms work with a variety of clients to promote their companies and sell products. Marketing professionals at these firms may work with more than one client in a specialized or general role.
  • Consulting firms and marketing agencies work with a variety of clients on everything from the best way to position a product in the marketplace to a strategy for a marketing campaign. Similar to PR firms, marketing managers at these firms could have broad skillsets or specialize.
  • Individual companies, especially larger ones, have their own marketing departments or teams. But even larger companies and organizations tap agencies or consultants to create or help with campaigns.

emily price

Written and reported by:

Emily Price

Contributing Writer

With professional insight from:

Laurie Erlich

Founder of Elevate Marketing Strategy