What Is A Marketing Manager?


If you’re thinking about a career in marketing, you’re not alone. Marketing is an extremely popular career path – and there’s no wonder. It can be a creative, intellectually stimulating, well-paid and rewarding industry in which to work. It has the potential to touch on all aspects of business from strategy to execution, and covers a multitude of opportunities from product development to trading strategy via sponsorship and web design. It can also be demanding and at times pressurised, but many marketing professionals would say the pros significantly outweigh the cons.

For this reason, becoming a marketing manager is an aspiration for many graduates. But what exactly does a marketing manager do? And how do you get there?

What is marketing?

Marketing is one of the core functions of any business – big or small. Its primary concern is finding out what consumers need and desire and how to let them know of the advantages of whatever your business selling. It covers a huge spectrum of responsibilities: for example, it defines and explores the size of potential market and who and how to target within it. It also – in today’s digital world –  is concerned creating engagement and genuine communication with their potential customers. And crucially, marketing creates the strategy to convert potential consumers into actual consumers: how do you get people to buy?

How to become a marketing manager

Almost 4,000 people completed a marketing degree in 2015. Certainly a degree in marketing will do you no harm at all if that’s the career path you’re set upon. But it’s by no means necessary – marketing professionals come from a huge variety of disciplines. In particular, marketing proves a popular career choice among history and English graduates.

One great way to start a career in marketing is to get a place on a graduate recruitment scheme. If you’re able to win a place on a grad scheme at, for example, L’Oreal, Unilever or P&G, you’ll be given thorough training and experience in all the major areas of the business, putting you in a great place to pursue a marketing career.

However grad schemes aren’t for everyone; they are extremely competitive to get into and can demand a lot from you once you’re there. And there’s nothing to say you need to work for a multinational – there are thousands of smaller companies offering entry-level marketing jobs to ambitious and smart graduates. In fact research from Adzuna shows that PR, advertising and marketing was one of the industries that recruited most graduates in 2015.

Getting an entry-level job in marketing usually means you work as a marketing executive for anywhere between one and five years. In this time, you’ll learn how to execute strategies the marketing manager sets. With this essential grounding in place, over time you may be promoted to marketing manager, or it may be quicker and more advantageous to apply for a marketing manager role in a different company.

What does a marketing manager do?

The important thing to know is that the role of a marketing manager can vary an incredible amount depending on the type of business in which you work. A marketing manager in a small, fast-growth startup, for example, will face a very different set of challenges to a marketing manager in a large corporate organisation. It’s therefore impossible to give an accurate reflection of a typical marketing manager’s daily work. You may be driving web traffic to an ecommerce site; making multi-million budget adverts for a household brand; helping a small firm pick up local business or networking with business leaders to open up new markets.

But there are some things that almost everyone in this role will have in common. Typically, you will be directly managing one or more marketing executives. This means that the role comes with everything entailed in managing people: appraisals, training and help, agreeing a plan of action for employees who aren’t delivering to the required standards, and so on.

You will usually be working closely with data, analysing potential markets for example. You will be responsible for creating and delivering marketing such as advertising, PR campaigns, social media engagement, website design and price promotions. You’ll have to monitor such activity and analyse their effectiveness.

You will work closely with other departments such as sales and operations, and you may report directly to a marketing director, sales director, chief marketing officer or CEO depending on the size and structure of the business.

In any organisation, your primary target should be to drive sales and be a key part in its growth and success.

Pay and work/life balance

The average salary for a marketing manager in the UK is £37,500 according to TotalJob.com’s salary checker. The variation is pay is large though, as you’d expect, and can be as high as £50,000. The working hours are generally 9-5, although working some evenings and even weekends is not uncommon in some companies.

What comes next?

There are many options for marketing managers aiming to further their career. You may stay in the same position but move to a different company to gain more experience in different sectors or types of business. In a large business you may move up the career ladder to become CMO. You may decide to move to a marketing or advertising agency  which assists companies in their marketing strategy. You may even move into sales, a closely related area, to continue your progression.

Industry magazine AdWeek names Larry Page, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Sorrell and Tim Cook as a few of the most influential people in marketing. A marketing manager job might just set you on a path to joining that illustrious list.

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