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What Does a Marketing Manager Do

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Promotions 101

The field of marketing encompasses a number of disciplines in which the primary objective is to help market and sell a business' products or services. A marketing manager wears a number of hats and is responsible for overseeing and directing all of the moving parts that make up the marketing team. Good people skills, critical thinking and exceptional writing abilities are vital to this type of position. Marketing is also a field that lends itself to flexible, part-time and consulting or freelance work, which can be a boon to working mothers.

Job Description

Marketing is the act of promoting a person, place or thing, or positioning the entity in the best possible light. The objective is to identify and develop market share, increase sales, create, maintain or advance a brand image or otherwise put a polished public face forward. A combination of analytical abilities paired with a creative mindset are key traits for this position.

A marketing manager typically collaborates with other communications staffers, publicity, promotions or public relations pros, sales managers and executives, and often, works directly with a marketing director or vice president. A marketing manager is typically involved in the creation of a marketing plan or agenda. This might involve branding, messaging, outreach strategies, sales goal development and creation of collateral materials. The manager is then charged with implementing these marketing plans, which often includes:

  • Developing teams
  • Devising attainable goals and objectives
  • Overseeing project management
  • Generating progress reports and delivering presentations to upper management
  • Tracking whether the components of the marketing plan are effective, and acting accordingly

Marketing managers are expected to be able to pivot quickly if a marketing approach isn't working and to take the lead to better position the company for success. A marketing manager may also be the “go-to” person for problem-solving within the team, helping brainstorm or troubleshoot when necessary. This position often works as a liaison with other communication disciplines within an organization to ensure coordinated efforts are in sync.

Education Requirements

According to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau, a bachelor's degree is required for most marketing manager positions. Typically the degree should be in advertising, marketing or journalism. Supplemental classes related to economics, consumer science and business can also be useful. Advanced degrees may be necessary to move into a managerial position. Continuing education and ongoing professional development is also beneficial in the field, as marketing trends and consumer behaviors change over time.

About the Industry

Marketing managers can be found in advertising, marketing and public relations companies, or in-house marketing departments of large corporations and organizations. Educational institutes, government agencies, community service providers and healthcare entities also use marketing managers.

A marketing manager may work in a small or medium-size company, in which she both develops and implements marketing and sales objectives. People with a good deal of experience and contacts within an industry, as well as a proven track record, also work on a freelance consulting basis. This is often a desirable option for working mothers who like to set their own schedules. Independent marketing consultants fare well when they have an exceptional portfolio to demonstrate work abilities and outcomes.

Years of Experience

The median average salary for a marketing manager in 2020 was $154,470. The more experience and proven sales “wins” a person has, the greater the potential for salary growth and advancement. The field is anticipated to grow at a slightly above-average rate of about 9 percent over the next decade.

  • 0-5 years: $36,507-$84,056
  • 5-10 years: $44,550-$102,206
  • 10-20 years: $48,727-$119,960
  • Over 20 years: $49,286-$132,450 

Geographic State and Metropolitan Salary Map for Marketing Managers

Job Growth Trend

The fields of marketing and communications continue to advance, as the internet provides an ever-burgeoning variety of options for promoting a business or organization. Companies rely on marketing managers to help refine their message, stand out from the competition and gain market share. Even in a down economy, the need for talented and skilled marketing managers remains fairly consistent, as growth and development is vital to the success of every business. The DOL anticipates marketing manager job growth in the coming decade in the average range at approximately 9 percent.


Lisa McQuerrey has been a business writer since 1987. In 1994, she launched a full-service marketing and communications firm. McQuerrey's work has garnered awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, the International Association of Business Communicators and the Associated Press. She is also the author of several nonfiction trade publications, and, in 2012, had her first young-adult novel published by Glass Page Books.

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