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How to Become a Marketing Manager

Four Parts:Getting an EducationDeveloping a Career StrategyFinding Work as a Marketing ManagerWorking as a Marketing Manager

The duties and responsibilities of a marketing manager will vary depending on the company size and industry. As a marketing manager, you will typically be responsible for planing, directing, and coordinating marketing policies, as well as developing and implementing pricing strategies for your company or outside clients.[1] You might be a one-person team or part of a large staff of marketing directors, managers and assistants. Learning how to pursue a career in marketing management can start you on a lucrative fulfilling life path.

Part 1
Getting an Education

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    Take relevant high school courses. If you think a career in marketing management might be right for you, it's best to take relevant courses as early as possible. This will help you determine if you have a lasting interest in marketing.
    • Taking courses in economics, finance, statistics, and computer science (if your school offers these classes) will help prepare you for the necessary college degree path.[2]
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    Apply to college programs. You will need a minimum of a bachelor's degree to become a marketing manager. Some colleges have an actual bachelor's degree in marketing management, while others offer related degree paths like marketing, business, business law, and communications.[3]
    • Look for accredited colleges and universities with a school of business or business administration.
    • Decide what's important to you in a school. Does a hands-on internship program offered through the school sound appealing? What about job placement?[4]
    • Make a pros and cons list of which colleges and universities in your area offer the most well-ranked programs, and size up which aspects of each college are most important to you.[5]
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    Join an interest club or attend seminars. Some schools (especially larger universities) host school-wide interest clubs. These can be an excellent way to make connections, learn more about your chosen field, and build your resume with additional experience.
    • Some schools offer marketing clubs unique to that college or university.[6]
    • Many larger colleges have local chapters of nationally-recognized organizations, such as the American Marketing Association.[7]
    • Certain honor societies specialize in business, marketing, and management. For example, Sigma Iota Epsilon (SIE) is a national management honor society that could provide great networking opportunities.[8]
    • Any career-focused clubs, interest groups/organizations, and honor societies that you join will look great on a resume. Even if you struggle to make time for extra-curricular activities, this is one activity you should absolutely make the time for.
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    Get an internship. Some employers consider internships a requirement for any applicant hoping to become a marketing manager.[9] Many of these internships offer hands-on experience working at real companies and firms to learn how the business works and what a career in marketing management will look like for graduates.[10]
    • Some colleges offer internships through the school, or through the business, marketing, or management departments.
    • Look for internships that specifically deal with marketing, sales, or public relations experience.[11]
    • If your school does not have any relevant internships set up for students, you can find internships online by searching for marketing or management internships in your area.
    • If you know of a particular business you'd like to intern with, check their website for internship information or reach out to a human resources employee.
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    Graduate with a bachelor degree. Once you've completed your coursework and gained some extra-curricular experience (including clubs or honor societies and a hands-on internship), you'll graduate with a bachelor's degree in your chosen field. You'll need to have high grades in all of your coursework if you plan on attending a master's program, so make sure you apply yourself completely during your collegiate studies.
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    Consider attending graduate school. Some employers may require that you have a master's degree or professional degree. Others may simply require a well-rounded undergraduate education with a lot of hands-on experience. The best way to determine whether you'll need to advance to graduate school is by researching your dream companies and seeing what their requirements are.[12]
    • If your dream job requires an advanced degree, or if you believe that an advanced degree will open up additional career opportunities for you, you may want to consider applying to graduate school.[13]
    • Talk to professors you worked well with in your undergraduate studies to see if grad school may be right for you.
    • Search online for accredited graduate school programs that focus on marketing, business administration, or business management.

Part 2
Developing a Career Strategy

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    Choose a career path. There are many career paths that are available for someone with a marketing or marketing management degree. Which career path you choose will depend on your personal interests and talents, your ultimate career goals, and the specific educational and work experience you've gained. Some common career paths include[14]:
    • brand management
    • sales
    • market research/analysis
    • advertising
    • pharmaceutical marketing
    • retail marketing
    • high-tech marketing (management, marketing, and sales of tech products like computers, software, system services, and other aspects of the high-tech industry)
    • marketing consultant
    • consumer analysis
    • business-to-business marketing[15]
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    Research potential employers. If you know what niche you'd like to work in, you may have already identified numerous potential employers. If you have not yet narrowed down your search, look at where the most jobs are available in your area.
    • The majority of marketing managers work in advertising, public relations, and other related industries.[16]
    • Many marketing managers also work in information technology, retail trade, and wholesale trade.
    • A number of marketing managers also work in managing companies and enterprises, especially those that deal with marketing in some capacity.
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    Know what characteristics employers want. Before you apply for a job as a marketing manager, you should know what kinds of skills and characteristics employers typically look for. The exact requirements for each job will vary, depending on the company you apply to and the field you are seeking work in. Common skills/characteristics sought in a marketing manager include, but are not limited to:
    • initiative
    • leadership and management abilities
    • teamwork capabilities
    • analytical thinking
    • strategic abilities
    • innovative/creative thinking skills
    • communication skills
    • strong organizational skills
    • time management[17]
    • a business-savvy mindset
    • ability to work under pressure and meet deadlines[18]
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    Attend networking events. Networking events can be a great way to make connections with potential employers. Even if you leave a networking event without a job offer, you will still get a much better understanding of what employers are looking for in an employee, and you may make a connection that could lead to a potential job down the line.
    • You can find networking events through your alumni association, or through professional associations that focus on marketing management.
    • Many professional conferences incorporate some kind of reception hour or networking event. This can be a great way to meet other people already working in your desired field and to learn what it takes to succeed.[19]

Part 3
Finding Work as a Marketing Manager

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    Search online job listings. You can find employment listings by searching online for relevant professional associations. They often list job openings or post links to outside career opportunities. Don't be frustrated with having to look for entry-level positions - odds are you won't find many managerial positions if you're just out of college with minimal work experience.
    • Look at job boards through professional association websites like the American Marketing Association (AMA).[20]
    • Talk to alumni from your school and any network connections you've made about possible places to work.
    • Ask your former professors how they got their start in marketing management.
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    Put together your resume. Begin your resume by listing your education in reverse-chronological order, with most recent degree listed first, followed by professional experience (including internships). Then list any leadership experience, relevant skills, and membership in any relevant clubs/associations.[21]
    • As you list your skills and experience, you may want to highlight exceptional experience by using the kind of language employers look for in a marketing manager.[22]
    • Where relevant, use terms like "coordinated," "managed," and "led," whether it's regarding teams, projects, or work loads.
    • Highlight any relevant analytical skills/experience by mentioning things like "analyzed pricing patterns," "assessed market opportunities," or "synthesized market reports" (if relevant to your experience).
    • Mention anything you designed, developed, negotiated, or communicated in previous jobs/internships.
    • Do not fabricate or exaggerate work experience. Most employers follow up with references and check on your credentials, and giving any kind of misleading or fabricated information may result in your dismissal.
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    Give a strong interview. Before arriving for your interview, you should read up on the company's earnings calls, quarterly reports, mission statement, and any company blog posts.[23] As with any job interview, you should arrive early and dress professionally - a suit and tie for men, and a work-appropriate blouse, pants or skirt, and blazer for women.[24] Common questions asked during the interview include:
    • Can you walk me through your resume?
    • Why are you interested in this company?
    • How would your peers describe you?
    • What do you think are the most important characteristics for this position?[25]
    • Can you tell me about a time you had to manage a crisis?
    • How do you manage your workload?[26]
    • What's your greatest weakness?[27]
    • Why should we hire you/what can you do for the company?[28]
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    Gain work experience. If you built a strong resume, made a good impression, and gave the right answers during the interview, there's a good chance that you'll receive a job offer from one of the places you applied to. If you don't get an interview, don't worry - you can learn from your mistakes to develop stronger interview skills and rewrite your resume to highlight the kind of information employers are looking for. Keep trying and you will eventually land your dream job.
    • Don't get frustrated if you don't get a managerial position right out of college. You may have to take an entry-level position and work your way up to manager.
    • Think of every job you work as another piece of experience to list on your resume that will help you get your dream job.

Part 4
Working as a Marketing Manager

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    Develop and implement pricing strategies. As you begin working in marketing management, you'll quickly need to make decisions on how to develop and implement pricing strategies for your clients. A big part of this involves learning what your potential customers are like, and what they're willing to spend. This may entail learning about your typical buyer's persona, conducting surveys/interviews with existing customers, and analyzing the data you've assembled. Ultimately you want to create a pricing strategy that can maximize your company's profits while still valuing your customers' loyalty.[29]
    • Consider what prices your competition is charging for their goods/services.
    • Analyze market data to compare the highest market price, the lowest market price, and the average.
    • Low rates will risk lowering the quality of your client's services to avoid losing money.
    • Rates that are too high may force your client to sell their products/services through a niche market or an exclusive retail outlet.
    • A good middle ground might be to offer an average price for the goods/services being sold, while allowing individual representatives to offer discounts to customers if it means increasing sales during a slow period.[30]
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    Create a strategic marketing plan. A strong marketing plan should motivate your employees, lead your company down a clear path to success, and detail the specifics of how to implement those marketing strategies.[31] A strong, coherent marketing plan should do each of the following:
    • assess your company or client's current situation (in terms of finances, resources, opportunities, threats, strengths, and weaknesses)
    • lay out your business mission/vision, your business objectives, your marketing objectives, and a description of your target market/customers
    • outline your product message, pricing strategy, and desired communication channels/methods
    • determine your restrictions (including budget/resource limitations)
    • outline your benchmarks and measurement process (including factors that will determine success, performance indicators/criteria, and desired technology solutions)[32]
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    Coordinate marketing policies. If you want your company/client to succeed, you will need to coordinate the marketing and sales departments. Having these two departments work together will help streamline the process from reaching out to customers to making a final sale. It will also help keep your customers satisfied with the product/service they're getting, the lifestyle that product/service conveys, and the price they pay for it.[33]
    • Have your marketing team work together with your salesforce to ensure that timely, quality service and a streamlined process are carried out at all levels.
    • Make sure your salesforce knows how their products are being marketed. By the same token, ensure that your marketing department understands the challenges that your salesforce faces.
    • Understand the needs of your local market, and develop collaborative approaches between your departments to meet those needs and exceed expectations.[34]
    • Make your employees aware of the responsibilities and deadlines that are faced by both the marketing and sales departments, and work together to find strategies beneficial to everyone.
    • Consider coordinating policies in more practical ways. For example, you might have your salesforce work through various marketing and distribution channels, including telemarketing, mailed advertisements/offers, and catalogues.


  • Remember that it takes a good deal of experience to qualify for a managerial position. You will most likely have to start out in an entry-level position in marketing and work your way up the corporate ladder at your company.

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Categories: Marketing | Job Search