Exploring Careers: How to Become a Marketing Manager

Marketing managers play a crucial role in the success of a company. They are responsible for developing and executing marketing strategies that help businesses achieve their goals. It’s an aspirational job for many, and like most careers out there, there’s no one way to establish a career as a marketing manager.

Like any journey, the path to a career in marketing starts with a basic plan. In this blog post, we’ll explore the skills, qualifications, and experience you need to become a successful marketing manager.

What does a marketing manager do?

Marketing managers play a vital role in the success of a company by developing and executing marketing strategies. They work collaboratively with other departments to ensure that marketing initiatives align with overall business objectives.

Some of the key duties and responsibilities of a marketing manager include:

  • Developing and executing marketing strategies that align with overall business objectives
  • Conducting research to identify the target audience and develop messaging and branding strategies that resonate with that audience
  • Managing the creation of marketing campaigns, including selecting the appropriate marketing channels and measuring campaign effectiveness
  • Managing a team of marketing professionals and providing guidance, feedback, and support
  • Collaborating with other departments such as sales, product development, and finance to ensure that marketing initiatives align with overall business objectives
  • Staying up-to-date with industry trends and technologies to ensure that marketing strategies are innovative and effective

Overall, the role of a marketing manager is to help a company achieve its marketing objectives by developing and implementing effective marketing strategies that resonate with the target audience.

Skills and qualifications for becoming a marketing manager

Becoming a marketing manager requires a unique set of skills and qualifications. While the specific requirements may vary depending on the company and industry, there are some fundamental skills that every marketing manager should possess.

There are two types of skills that you should think about— soft skills and hard skills. Soft skills are subjective and relate to personal qualities and abilities, while hard skills refer to specific technical and measurable abilities.

Marketing soft skills

Some beneficial soft skills for marketing managers to have:

  • Communication: As a marketing manager, you’ll need to communicate with a wide range of people, including team members, clients, and vendors. You should be able to communicate your ideas clearly and persuasively.
  • Creativity: Marketing is all about finding unique and innovative ways to reach your target audience. A marketing manager needs to be creative and think outside the box to come up with effective marketing strategies.
  • Leadership: As a marketing manager, you’ll be leading a team of marketing professionals. You should have strong leadership skills and be able to inspire and motivate your team.

The good thing is that these skills are highly transferable, meaning you don’t have to have previous marketing experience to demonstrate these qualities. Think about how you’ve demonstrated these traits in other jobs, volunteer time, and your hobbies outside of work.

Marketing hard skills

Of course, it’ll be beneficial to have some technical experience as well. While every role is unique and may differ in what knowledge is required, it’ll be helpful to know:

  • Marketing analytics: Marketing managers must be able to collect and analyze data to measure the effectiveness of marketing campaigns and make data-driven decisions. They should have experience with analytics tools such as Google Analytics, as well as the ability to interpret data and provide insights to stakeholders.
  • Strategic planning: Marketing managers need to be able to develop and execute marketing plans that align with overall business objectives. They should have experience creating and implementing long-term strategies as well as short-term tactical plans.
  • Digital marketing: Marketing managers should have a deep understanding of digital marketing channels such as social media, email marketing, search engine marketing, and content marketing. They should also be familiar with industry trends and best practices in digital marketing.
  • Technical skills: Marketing managers should have proficiency in software and tools such as Adobe Creative Suite and marketing automation platforms. They should be able to use these tools to create compelling marketing content and measure the effectiveness of marketing campaigns.

Making sure you have at least a foundational knowledge of these topics will help you land marketing roles.

Marketing manager educational qualifications and certifications

A bachelor’s degree in marketing, business administration, or a related field is sometimes required to become a marketing manager. However, many companies may also consider candidates with degrees in other areas— or no degree at all— as long as they have relevant experience.

There are also several certifications that can help you stand out as a marketing professional, including:

Certifications are a great way to add credentials to your resume, especially if you lack marketing experience or education.

Hear it from an expert

Switching from a different field to a career in marketing might seem intimidating, but it’s totally doable if you’re willing to take the initiative. 

My biggest tips for making the jump would be:

  1. Study job descriptions for marketing roles that interest you and try to identify how your current skills and responsibilities translate to marketing. Most jobs teach things like effective communication, problem-solving, etc. which are transferable to any job you may want.
  2. For the skills you lack, be proactive by taking online courses or certification programs. HubSpot, SEMRush Academy, and Superpath Pro all offer great courses and certificates that will show future employers you’re willing to learn and take initiative.
  3. Get out there and network. Finding communities of marketers to interact with will not only help you figure out which roles appeal to you, but it’ll give you connections to help make your job search easier. I highly recommend joining Superpath’s Slack community. It’s free, has great learning resources, and it offers a job board for freelance and full-time marketing roles.

— Krista Doyle, Content Marketing Manager at Jasper

Gaining marketing manager experience

When you’re first starting out, you may feel trapped in the cycle of needing experience to get the job, but needing the job to get experience. Here are some ways to get you foot in the door and gain relevant experience.

1. Internships, co-op programs, and entry-level jobs

Many companies offer internships, co-op programs, or entry-level positions that help those new to the field get their feet wet. These opportunities provide hands-on experience in marketing and allow you to learn from professionals in the field.

2. Collaborate with the marketing team at your current job

Look for opportunities to learn or collaborate with their marketing team at your current job. You may be able to shadow your peers, work on projects, or even switch departments altogether. Let your manager you’re interested in learning more or taking on new responsibilities, as they will be able to help you plan out next steps.

3. Creating a portfolio of work

Creating a portfolio of your marketing work is an excellent way to showcase your skills and experience to potential employers. Your portfolio can include:

  • Projects you’ve worked on at school
  • Project from previous jobs or freelance work
  • Pro-bono marketing projects for non-profits or companies
  • Personal marketing projects you’ve completed

A well put together portfolio can be more impactful than experience listed on a resume!

4. Networking and mentorship opportunities

Networking with other marketing professionals and seeking mentorship can help you gain valuable insights into the industry. You can join professional organizations, attend networking events, or seek out a mentor who can provide guidance and support.

Find the best job for you

Marketing managers serve a vital role in helping businesses meet their goals and objectives. There’s no one correct path to becoming a marketing manager because at the end of the day, the thing that employers care about the most is that you have the right skills to get the job done.