How to Become a Marketing Manager



Read Time

17 min


15 November, 2022

If you’re a budding marketing executive searching for how to become a marketing manager, know that you clicked on the right post.

We’re assuming you’re a marketing executive, but that’s not to say there aren’t any other interested individuals who would love to take on a role like this given its challenges and the rewards for overcoming them.

The flexibility of the role is another major selling point, with most marketing managers these days having the option to work freelance, remotely, or part-time (more on the benefits of the position later).

Marketing Career Handbook

Marketing is an industry that is growing in opportunity and managers are always on the hunt for fresh ideas for campaigns...

Below you’ll find everything you need to know about becoming a marketing manager, from the job description to the benefits of the role, to tips on how to move to the level above this one.

We’ll also be answering some popular questions tied to the role, such as:

  • How much do marketers make?
  • Is it fun to be a marketing manager?
  • What degree do I need to be a marketing manager?
  • What skills are required to become a marketing manager?

Hopefully, the information we share will help you assess whether or not the position is the right fit for you at this time – or is the right fit, period.

Let’s begin with the marketing manager job description to outline exactly what the job entails.

Business woman smiling

Marketing Manager Job Description

Marketing managers play a very important role within the business. They are responsible for developing, implementing, and executing marketing plans for a single business to attract new customers and retain the established ones.

To be successful in the role, the marketing manager must take lead over a team of executives to deliver on the greater strategies put in place by the director of marketing.

Marketing managers are often tasked with developing pricing strategies for products and/or services, but this depends entirely on the business in question and how everything is delegated internally.

Most marketing managers work in a corporate environment as part of the larger marketing, creative, communications, or digital team. They are a significant part of this team and are critical in aligning creative direction with the company’s goals.

A lot of autonomy is given to marketing managers, meaning they have to derive a lot of their strategies themselves, using the data they’ve gathered, the resources they have available, and their own creative wherewithal.

A creative mind and a head for business are essential to succeed in the role of a marketing manager.

Another requirement is strong communication skills coupled with the ability to lead and motivate others on a frequent, if not daily, basis.

How to Become a Marketing Manager

Becoming a marketing manager isn’t as straightforward as you might think. In other words, just because you’re a marketing executive doesn’t mean that you are guaranteed this position by proxy.

There are many examples out there of people coming from a branding or sales background and netting themselves the marketing manager position. And they’ve earned it by showcasing a range of key skills, alongside a relevant degree.

Here is a quick rundown of the typical education requirements needed for this role:

  • Qualification in marketing, communications, or business
  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Masters degree (in some cases)

They aren’t requirements, but what might also help when talking about qualifications are the certificates you get from completing one of Google’s online courses. After all, you’re more than likely going to be using the search engine in some fashion – for advertising through Google ads, or reporting via Google Analytics.

With this being a managerial position, you’ll find that multiple years of experience are also required.

In some cases, experience can trump any qualifications you might have, regardless of the institution you attended or the strength of your degree.

You see, most courses today don’t teach modern marketing practices. For example, most universities aren’t teaching students about TikTok and the power of influencer marketing, which is one of the most popular strategies in the game right now!

Having experience in that realm, or anything else they aren’t teaching at universities around the world, can give you an edge that puts you ahead of most candidates. However, not all experience makes for managerial material…

Ideally, the experience you have should show that you’re capable of managing others, can pull together reports, have the ability to budget, and can adapt quickly to the changes around you (this is very important).

Anything that shows you’re capable of operating on a much higher frequency and can handle the pressure, will put you in the conversation for the role.

team around a table at presentation

Skills Needed to Be a Marketing Manager

As with any job, the role of a marketing manager might vary from one company to the next.

As mentioned above, some marketing managers might be expected to work in tandem with other department heads to derive sales strategies and be involved in discussions covering the business plan at large.

That said, the core skills required for this position tend to be the same across the board, regardless of what you’re required to do within the position.

We’ve listed these skills down below:

  • An intimate understanding of traditional and emerging marketing channels
  • Excellent communication and analytical skills
  • Analytical skills to forecast and identify challenges and ways to overcome them
  • The ability to think creatively and innovatively
  • Effective budget management skills and proficiency
  • Professional judgement and discretion from experience in a relevant field
  • A familiarity with the latest trends, technologies, and methodologies
  • Basic design skills/knowledge in graphic design, web design, and production

Not every marketing manager goes into a new job with these skills already in their back pocket, by the way.

Experience in the role is often required to help sharpen them. And some of these skills will take longer to hone than others, remember that.

Take creativity, for example, which is a highly subjective skill that is pretty much intangible compared to analytical skills.

And sure, everyone is creative in some way or another, but it’s not enough to simply have a creative mind as a marketing manager. Not all of your ideas will be worthwhile ideas, and it’s up to you to filter them.

This is why surrounding yourself with the right people is another key part of the job, as marketing manager’s often work in constant collaboration with members of the marketing team.

Sharing your ideas with creative people will often lead to creative outcomes, which is valuable experience for any manager in marketing looking to sharpen this skill.

What the Role of a Marketing Manager Involves

Two days are never the same when you’re a marketing manager, it’s part of what makes the role so interesting!

One day you might be representing the business at a networking event, and the next putting a report together on how well your team has been performing over the last quarter. Again, this can vary depending on where you work.

For the full breakdown of what the role involves, continue reading below.

Oversee Marketing Campaigns

Managing and coordinating is an important part of this role, as staff will be looking up to you for guidance at some point or another and it will be your job to support them in whichever way you can.

One of the ways you can do that is by monitoring/overseeing any relevant marketing campaigns to ensure that deadlines are met, tasks are completed, and that there are no obstacles in the way.

And if there are any obstacles, how are you going to proceed?

For example, let’s say you haven’t received any video assets from another team and you have an announcement to make very soon.

Can the announcement date be pushed back?

Can you utilise an image for now and then a video later?

Can you use a snippet of the video for now?

Is there another way to proceed?

Regardless, it’s up to you to communicate with the right people to get things back on track, or at the very least, get a better idea of what to do next, and then inform the team on how you’re going to move forwards.

The ability to think on your feet like this is an essential part of being a successful manager.

As rewarding as it might be, there will be situations where you’ll need to navigate difficult situations to ensure that the marketing strategy is executed flawlessly.

Monitor and Record Spend

If you ask most managers what one of their main responsibilities is, they’ll likely talk about “managing the marketing budget” or “recording campaign spend.”

Budgeting is one of the cornerstone roles you’ll need to take on as a marketing manager, ensuring that money is used correctly, and in line with the marketing goals of the business itself.

This is also where your analytical and data-driven skills will come into play, as you’ll be expected to provide key insights into the performance of your team and your combined efforts.

These insights should include positives and negatives, with additional emphasis placed on how you’ll proceed moving forward. In other words, if you see something that isn’t working as well as it should, how will you go about fixing it?

Whatever you choose to do, how you proceed needs to be related to the right people, effectively.

Writing Copy for Marketing Collateral

In some cases, marketing managers take on some of the jobs you might expect an executive to take care of, like writing copy for a specific campaign or two.

They might also try their hand at some social media copywriting, creating content for the likes of LinkedIn and Twitter to share across company channels.

Therefore it’s important that you can adapt your writing to create copy for materials, such as:

  • Print marketing materials – flyers, brochures, business cards, leaflets, magazines, direct mail, newsletters, sending out your marketing kit, and so on
  • Advertising materials – billboards, newspaper and magazine adverts, promotional items or merchandise, TV and Radio advert scripts
  • Content marketing – social media, blog content (longform and short form), emails and email newsletters, podcast scripts

Having a good understanding of how to write copy for different platforms is essential, as you have to consider everything from tone of voice to the language used. Ideally, the business you work for will have brand guidelines handy for you to use as reference.

Hire New Members of the Team

In many businesses, marketing managers are expected to help hire new members of staff. This involves putting up the job advert, creating a shortlist of candidates, interviewing said candidates, and then making a final decision.

They might also train them up in relevant areas, or hand them over to another member of staff to handle that.

While we’re on the topic of hiring, the marketing manager might also be tasked with hiring an external agency to help them with branding, the website, or content (depending on the strategy in place).

This might involve a similar vetting process to the one above where the manager creates a shortlist of agencies and reaches out to each of them separately. Alternatively, they might put together a project brief and ask the agencies to pitch something to them.

Update Senior Management

Marketing managers represent the rest of their team when communicating with other facets of the business, be it the sales department, the customer service team, or those in much higher positions.

Essentially, they are the figurehead of the team and are responsible for facilitating certain actions and updating senior leadership on the progress of their marketing activities.

You’ll often be expected to present the results of your campaigns to these individuals who will then go and assess.

This sounds formal, but it’s often a casual conversation with only a handful of people in the room (depending on the size of the campaign and where you work).

How often you need to do this also varies. Some businesses meet up once every quarter to discuss it all, while others meet after the campaign comes to a finish.

Attend Meetings and Events

Meetings and events are a crucial part of this role, not only for self-development in a professional sense but also to show support for your company.

In the case of events, it will be your job to represent the company amongst other businesses and potential customers. You’ll need to engage with these people, get to understand them a little better and sell your company to them there on the spot.

Of course, this depends entirely on the type of events you’re attending (trade shows are great for meeting with customers face-to-face, for example).

Meetings tend to be mostly internal – unless you’re meeting with an agency, a potential client, or any other notable individual, to talk business.

If you’re the one running the meeting, make sure that you have an agenda prepared ahead of time.

Having a meeting agenda prepared ensures that everything goes smoothly, that you don’t veer off-topic, and that there are clear actions once it finishes. We have a meeting agenda template if you’re looking for an easier way to jot this down.

Sending this agenda well before the meeting takes place is your best bet, as it gives attendees enough time to read it and prepare.

coloured sticky notes on a board

Why Become a Marketing Manager?

To some, knowing the benefits of becoming a marketing manager is all they need to hear in order to pursue this role, which is exactly what we’re covering in this section!

As mentioned at the top of this post, becoming a marketing manager is one of the most rewarding positions in the ever-interesting world of marketing.

For starters, it’s a great-paying job that is mostly performance-based, meaning you can work towards bonuses/pay rises based on how well you’re doing. Some of the highest-paid marketing managers do come away with five-figure salaries!

What’s more, the role also gives creative people an outlet to, well, be creative; to express themselves in a way that benefits not only themselves but everyone around them.

To sum it up, here are some of the main reasons why you should become a marketing manager:

  • Great Paying Job Marketing managers are paid handsomely for their services, and that’s without counting any bonuses/pay rises.
  • In-Demand Position There are plenty of marketing manager positions available at this moment in time, giving you a lot of options and plenty of segments to explore
  • Flexible Lifestyle: Some marketing jobs are remote, others offer flexi-time. As long as you have an internet connection, then you can perform your role.
  • Creative Role: It’s up to you to create and monitor marketing strategies from the ground up. This appeals to the creative nature of anyone looking for an outlet.
  • Rewarding Role: The rewards of the job aren’t just monetary. There’s nothing more fulfilling than seeing a marketing campaign come to fruition and net you results.

money in pocket

Marketing Manager Salary

How much money you earn as a marketing manager depends entirely on a) your experience and b) where you work. For example, you might be paid more for joining an established tech brand compared to a startup in the FMCG sector.

That said, the experience you bring to the role is almost always the deciding factor. And the more experience you have, the better.

Now, let’s talk specifics.

In the UK, the average salary for a marketing manager sits between £36,000 and £57,000, with most on roughly £49,000 a year, according to Glassdoor. Do keep in mind that this is the base average salary, there might be some jobs out there that pay a lot more.

For example, in my research, I came across a few marketing manager jobs that paid up to £70,000 a year.

In the US, the average salary is a lot higher. For reference, the national average salary is $110,428 (again, according to Glassdoor). On the low end of the scale, some might come away with $99,000, and others with as much as $130,000.

Marketing Manager Career Path and Progression

One of the great things about the marketing manager role is that the journey doesn’t end here. If you’re looking to get to the top of the marketing mountain career-wise, then there are plenty of ways to go from here.

The most obvious next step is to push towards the marketing director position.

What’s different about this role is scope. Where a marketing manager might oversee a single team on a single project, the marketing director is watching over the entire marketing strategy of the organisation.

This can be quite the jump for a marketing manager, and might not be the best fit long term.

That said if you do want to go up a level, know that you will need to showcase a range of additional skills on top of those you already have (which we’ll cover in just a second).

Marketing managers can also move horizontally if they’re looking for a different challenge on a similar level.

Take the brand manager position, for example, a position that typically works hand-in-hand with marketing management to ensure that the business is communicated effectively to the outside world.

Branding is a lot different than marketing, but the two are linked; it’s just the brand manager has more of an impact on raising brand awareness, shaping the brand story, and emphasising what makes the business unique.

The marketing manager does something similar, just not to the same degree.

In other words, transitioning from a marketing manager to a brand manager could be a lot simpler than moving vertically. There’s also the role of product manager, in some cases, which is an entirely different challenge altogether!

woman in brown cardigan on Apple laptop

Tips to Progress from a Marketing Manager to Marketing Director

It goes without saying that to become the marketing director is to go above and beyond where you’re at currently. In large organisations there are a handful of marketing managers and only one marketing director, go figure.

Not everyone can achieve this, and even fewer go on to become CMOs, but that’s not to say that you can’t do it.

Any marketing manager that puts time and effort into going above and beyond what is asked of them will qualify for a director’s position. You can increase your chances of landing this role by:

  • Taking an even broader lead on projects
  • Extend your reports to include other data
  • Communicate more with the CMO (ask questions)
  • Undergo training and development

Do keep in mind that the list above is only a handful of tips to help you progress. How you choose to stand out might differ in comparison, and that’s fine – just as long as you’re taking the initiative.

Marketing Manager Job Roles

Unlike some of the other roles we’ve looked at in other blogs, job titles for marketing managers can vary to include a specific area of expertise.

A digital marketing manager, for example, is mostly responsible for the online output of the business, which can cover everything from the website to social media!

Below we’ve outlined some of the most popular variations of the marketing manager role:

  • Digital marketing manager
  • Performance marketing manager
  • Product marketing manager
  • International marketing manager
  • Content marketing manager
  • Sales and marketing manager
  • Channel marketing manager

Not every organisation will have these roles available to you, as most will only have ‘marketing managers.’ These variations are mostly found within medium to large-sized businesses that have much bigger budgets, not to mention, expectations.

What’s interesting about these roles is the differences in salary. You see, every variation pays differently in every organisation you come in contact with. Some businesses might pay an international marketing manager better than a content marketing manager.

It all depends on the business and what they consider a much higher priority.

Marketing Manager FAQs

Some frequently asked marketing manager questions:

  • How Much Do Marketing Managers Make a Year?

    In the UK, the average salary for a marketing manager sits between £36,000 and £57,000, with most on roughly £49,000 a year, according to Glassdoor.

    In the US, the average salary is a lot higher. For reference, the national average salary is $110,428.

  • How Long Does it Take to Be a Marketing Manager?

    There’s no real time frame to become a marketing manager. However, most businesses will ask that you have between 2-3 years of experience in a high-level position before they’ll consider you for the position.

  • How Do You Start as a Marketing Manager?

    To become a marketing manager you typically need to have experience in a relevant role, a degree in a relevant subject, and have some knowledge of marketing (preferably in a previous marketing capacity).

How to Become a Marketing Manager

If there’s one thing you should take away from this blog it’s that anyone can become a marketing manager if they are willing to work for it!

Hopefully, you now have a better idea of what a marketing manager does, how much they’re paid, what skills are required, how you can progress, and most importantly:

Whether or not this is the right role for you.

If you’re actively looking for marketing manager jobs, then we’d highly recommend you check out the following job websites:

  • Michael Page
  • IndeedLinkedIn
  • Glassdoor
  • Reed
  • TotalJobs

All have hundreds, if not thousands of marketing manager jobs for you to sift through! Best of luck in your search, and remember that we’re always on hand should you get the good news.

Here at Canny, we work closely with marketing managers from around the world to help set them up for success through a range of helpful, no bs, services. Branding, websites, and content, we can help you out in each of these departments based on what you need.

Need social media assets for your next campaign? We’ve got you. Need a landing page for your next seasonal campaign? Again, got you. Need content to promote your next event? You get the idea.

If you’d like to find out more, simply get in touch, or check out our work first-hand by heading over to our case studies page!

Hey I'm Tony, Founder and Director of Canny Creative. I eat, sleep and bleed Canny to be honest. I'm an absolute workaholic (and yes, I know that's not a good thing!).

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