How to Become a Marketing Manager

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Learn what skills and education are required to become a successful marketing manager.

[Featured image] A marketing analyst gives a presentation to her business team on her findings

Marketing managers use their right brain (creativity) and left brain (analytical skills) to generate consumer awareness and interest in products, brands, and services. They are in charge of communicating across various media channels to reach the target audiences. To successfully land a role as a marketing manager, you'll typically want to have a degree in marketing and a few years of relevant experience.

Marketing managers in India earn a median annual base salary of ₹13,76,840. How much you make depends on your location, company, and industry [1]. 

This article will outline steps you can take to pursue a career in marketing, including what skills and degrees you'll need, the required number of years of work experience, and how to leverage your network.

How to become a marketing manager

To become a marketing manager, you must show employers that you can create marketing strategies and plans, launch marketing campaigns, analyse data and track metrics, manage budgets, and help design products or services. Wherever you are in your career, the following steps can bring you closer to your goal.

1. Build your marketing skills.

A quick search of marketing job descriptions reveals employers typically seek the following skills.

Workplace skills:

  • Analytical thinking

  • Communication

  • Creative writing

  • Leadership skills

  • Teamwork and collaboration

  • Problem-solving

Technical skills:

  • Ability to use Microsoft Office, Google Analytics, Salesforce, social media (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, TikTok), Adobe Creative Suite, Mailchimp

  • Marketing analytics

  • Graphic design

  • Social media marketing

  • Search engine optimisation (SEO)

If you’re already in the workforce, consider taking a course to level up your career. You can build your technical skills by learning the basics of marketing or enhance your workplace skills with courses such as Leadership for Marketing, Intercultural Management, or Leading People and Teams.

You can also focus on an area such as digital marketing or social media marketing.

If you switch from another field, focus on articulating your transferable skills. Sales, business development, graphic design, and many other areas often involve skills like data analysis, communication, and creative thinking, all of which are transferable to marketing.

You can start with the Google Digital Marketing & E-commerce Professional Certificate.

2. Consider a marketing degree.

A degree is often required, even for entry-level positions. If you hope to pivot your career, a master's degree in marketing or a Professional Certificate can open many doors. Earning a degree in marketing can give you a solid foundation of skills to add to your toolkit through marketing principles, economics, finance, and accounting courses. You can round out your degree with modules in consumer behaviour, cross-cultural marketing, and advertising.

Make the most of your degree.

In your first year, consider pursuing modules focusing on psychology or taking additional subjects such as graphic design. You might brush up on your management skills by taking a  leadership role in a club or society.

During the summers, seek internships in marketing. You can specialise in brand, content, digital, communications, product, or social media marketing. Internships are an excellent way to apply classroom learning in the real world. You can learn as much as possible, network, and gain mentorship in a limited period without the pressures of a permanent job.


3. Create a marketing portfolio.

Your portfolio should be a curated selection of your best work. It can feature marketing campaigns you worked on, brand stories that you collected and wrote, and marketing materials you helped design. If you don't have any work experience, your portfolio can highlight relevant coursework and internship experiences.

Build a portfolio with Guided Projects.

These projects provide opportunities to create visuals you can include in your portfolio, and you can complete them in under two hours. Here are some options to get you started:

Google Ads for Beginners

Use Canva to Create Social Media Visuals for Business

Small Business Marketing Using Facebook

Use Mailchimp to Build an E-mail Marketing Campaign

A Start Guide: Product Marketing Using G-Suite

Small Business Marketing Using YouTube

Brand Marketing and SEO Tools Using Wix


While portfolios may not be required in a job application, having one can distinguish you from a pool of applicants with similar education and job experience. Portfolios can be especially helpful for brand communications or strategist roles to illustrate your creativity.

Include accomplishments that suit the job’s needs, adding metrics like sales increases and brand conversions to demonstrate that you are data-driven and strategic.

4. Practice common marketing interview questions.

Once you have wowed the employer with your CV (and portfolio, if you submitted one), you’ll receive an invitation to interview for the role. These are eight common questions interviewers may ask in marketing interviews:

  1. Tell me about yourself.

  2. Why are you interested in a career in marketing?

  3. What is a marketing trend or campaign you liked?

  4. What do you think of our recent marketing campaign?

  5. How do you manage the launch of a new product?

  6. What motivates you?

  7. What are your hobbies and interests?

  8. Do you have any questions?

Interviewers will likely ask questions about your leadership potential for marketing manager roles. To prepare, reflect on experiences when you managed an intern, a project, or the creative brief process at a former job.

5. Gain work experience.

Start by landing an internship or an entry-level position in marketing, where you can develop an understanding of the processes, systems, tools, and ideas that drive brand or product growth. Then, you can build your career from there.

The typical trajectory for marketing professionals begins as an intern, assistant, or coordinator, then specialist and associate roles, before becoming a manager. Marketing managers can aspire to become directors, vice presidents, and chief marketing officers (CMOs). Remember that not all marketing managers follow this conventional path to get where they are.

Once you’ve gained a few years of solid work experience, you may be ready to apply for marketing manager positions. Some marketers work their way up from associate to manager on the same team, while others switch companies to move up.

6. Expand your network.

Networking can be an intentional, even enjoyable, practice of connecting with people in marketing who inspire you. One way to do this is on the job by getting to know your colleagues outside of the professional setting. With many jobs using team chat tools to communicate, it is easy to reach out and ask to grab a coffee or have an informal 15-minute Zoom meeting.

Another way to make connections is to join a professional organisation for marketers. The Academy of Indian Marketing (AIM) is a consortium of management organisations that are leading in research and education in the field. Some associations focus specifically on advertising, public relations, or internet marketing, while others are identity-based, such as the Asian American Advertising Federation. Benefits of joining such an organisation include access to certification exams, resources, internships, mentorship, and conferences.

Volunteering can also expand your network. Many organisations need but cannot afford marketing assistance. Giving your skills and knowledge to a worthy cause can lead to unexpected professional connections.

7. Consider an MBA degree.

With some years of marketing experience, you can become a marketing manager. However, consider an advanced degree like an MBA if you notice a career stall or have specific skills you hope to build upon (like organisational behaviour or strategic marketing). Earning an MBA can be costly, so it is wise to ensure it will deliver a high return on investment before you decide it is the right path for you. Marketing professionals who complete a master’s degree earn significantly more than those who do not. 

Get started in marketing.

To become a marketing manager, you need both education and work experience. Consider launching your marketing career with an online Bachelor of Science in Marketing from the University of London, a top-30 UK university. Internationally renowned marketing and business experts teach this programme, combining theory and practice to make you career-ready. 

Alternatively, you can strengthen your marketing skills with a Professional Certificate in Marketing Analytics or Social Media Marketing from the industry leaders at Meta.

Article sources

Glassdoor. “Marketing Manager Salaries,,17.htm#.” Accessed April 24, 2024. 

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