What Does a Marketing Manager Do? A Guide

Written by Coursera • Updated on Oct 12, 2021

A marketing manager knows how to get the word out—about a company, a brand, or a product. Discover the variety of roles you can take on in this field and how to get the skills you need to land the job.

A marketing manager meets with her team at a conference table. One woman has a laptop, glasses, and a coffee cup in front of her.

Marketing managers generate customer interest in products and services across various media channels. They often oversee the communication between a business and its customer base. 

If you’re looking for a career where you can use your creativity and people skills to make a difference in a company, marketing management could be a good fit. Take a closer look at what the job entails and how to become a marketing manager.

What is marketing management?

Marketing managers organize and manage marketing campaigns to raise awareness of and generate demand for products and services. This broad definition can encompass a wide variety of activities including:

  • Designing, managing, and evaluating marketing campaigns

  • Directing social media engagement strategy

  • Managing budgets for marketing campaigns

  • Collaborating with advertising and creative departments

  • Reviewing advertising material for print and digital media

  • Preparing advertising contracts

  • Performing market research to find new opportunities

  • Managing marketing department employees

  • Analyzing market trends and conducting competitor research

How much does a marketing manager make?

The median annual salary for a marketing manager in the US was $141,490 in 2020, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics [1]. How much you make will depend on where you live, what company you work for, and what industry you work in, among other factors. Marketing managers working in scientific, technical, and professional services tend to draw the biggest salaries.

Types of marketing managers

Marketing managers typically work in corporate environments. You’ll find them in a variety of industries, such as healthcare, hospitality, entertainment, finance, and technology. 

This means that no matter where your passions lie, you’ll likely find marketing jobs in that industry. Some marketing managers focus on a specific area of marketing. These specialties include: 

  • Affiliate marketing managers focus on the relationships between an organization and its marketing affiliates that earn commissions in exchange for driving traffic to a website. 

  • Brand marketing managers aim to increase brand awareness and the identity of a company or product.

  • Content marketing managers oversee the production of content that drives traffic to an organization’s website.

  • Digital marketing managers supervise and implement marketing campaigns designed for online channels.

  • Marketing communications managers monitor and evaluate the messaging used to market a brand or product.

  • Product marketing managers oversee the positioning and branding of specific products.

  • Social media marketing managers take charge of the company’s presence on social media platforms.

What’s the difference between marketing managers and PR managers? 

Marketing managers handle communication between a company and its customers (current and potential). Public relations managers, on the other hand, focus on maintaining a company’s positive reputation through earned media coverage.

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How to become a marketing manager

Most companies look for candidates with at least a bachelor’s degree for management positions in marketing. If you’re considering a career in marketing, consider earning a degree in marketing, advertising, communications, or a related field. Make yourself even more appealing to hiring managers by pursuing a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a marketing concentration.

1. Build marketing manager skills.

A formal education in marketing helps you build a foundation for success in the field. But marketing managers also leverage a range of skills while on the job. As you pursue a degree or gain hands-on experience, look for opportunities to build these skills.

  • Writing and public speaking skills help you present ideas clearly and effectively to customers, decision makers, and private clients.

  • SEO fundamentals help you make decisions about how to direct campaigns on digital platforms.

  • Analytical skills help you sort and analyze data to evaluate the success of marketing campaigns.

  • Creative thinking empowers you to generate new ideas for compelling campaigns and marketing strategy.

  • Interpersonal skills equip you to work closely and collaborate with advertising, public relations, and customer service departments.

  • Project management skills prepare you to set goals, track progress, meet deadlines, and manage teams.

  • Technical skills, particularly with project management, email marketing, SEO and presentation software, can equip you to complete tasks with greater efficiency.

  • Leadership skills help you to motivate marketing team members and delegate tasks to the right people.

2. Earn a Professional Certificate. 

Learn the job-ready skills you need to start your career in digital marketing with the Facebook Social Media Marketing Professional Certificate.

3. Take relevant classes. 

Explore whether a career in marketing might be right for you by taking an introductory course in the field. Learn the fundamentals with Introduction to Marketing from University of Pennsylvania or develop your content marketing skills with The Strategy of Content Marketing from UC Davis.

4. Get hands-on practice. 

You don’t need a job to start earning experience. Put your skills to use by marketing yourself, finding an internship within a marketing department, or offering your marketing services to a non-profit group. 

5. Build a portfolio. 

Your portfolio should be a selection of your best work in the field. You can start building content for your portfolio while developing new skills by completing a Guided Project, designed to be completed in under two hours. Here are some options to get you started:

Marketing manager career path

Marketing management is an in-demand field, which the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects will grow faster than average through 2030 [1]. Companies want to increase their shares of the market and turn to marketing managers to help them reach those goals.

Since many management roles require work experience, many marketing managers start out as sales representatives, public relations specialists,  marketing specialists, or marketing coordinators before moving into management positions. As you earn experience and further your education, you can set your sights on roles like VP of marketing or chief marketing officer.

Get started with Coursera

If a career in marketing aligns with your interests, there are several next steps you can take toward your professional goals:

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Article sources

1. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/advertising-promotions-and-marketing-managers.htm." Accessed September 29, 2021.

Written by Coursera • Updated on Oct 12, 2021

This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.

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