What Does a Marketing Manager Do?

A degree in marketing can open doors to a range of interesting and engaging career paths for graduates. Marketing is a key process for business-to-consumer, business-to-business, and direct-to-consumer companies. The ability to get the word out about a brand and its product or service portfolio can support critical awareness and result in organizational growth.

However, marketing is an industry that changes very quickly, especially as new technological tools and strategies emerge. Marketers must keep apprised not only of the trends within physical channels like billboards and direct mail, but the approaches associated with digital touchpoints like social media and search engines as well.

In this type of environment, individuals who have expertise in areas like advertising, sales, public relations, and communications are in high demand. And when these skills are coupled with management capabilities, the opportunities and available career path options only increase.

As students enter a program like the University of Alabama at Birmingham Collat School of Business online Bachelor of Science in Marketing, they should have an idea of the potential employment opportunities that will await them upon graduation. With the right study and preparation, graduates can be prepared to pursue an array of careers, including marketing manager jobs.

Today, we’ll take a closer look at the role of marketing manager, and how these individuals engage in processes like project management, market research, crafting marketing strategies for campaigns, and more. We’ll also examine the type of education and experience students need to become marketing managers, and how a bachelor’s degree from the Collat School of Business can benefit their journey.

Job description: marketing manager

Before we delve into the specifics, let’s get a sense of the marketing manager role from a high level.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a marketing manager is in charge of the strategy and execution around efforts aimed at generating interest in a company’s products or services.

Marketing manager drawing on a board

Marketing managers must be sure that current and potential customers not only have an understanding of the products and services the brand provides, but the overarching business itself as well. Their goal is to create a connection in the minds of consumers, so that when one thinks about a particular item or service offering, the company’s brand name immediately comes to mind.

The work environment for a marketing manager can vary. Some professionals work internally within a company’s own marketing or advertising department. However, there is a growing movement toward agency advertising and marketing service providers. Marketing managers in these types of roles work in third-party service provider agencies and manage the marketing and associated campaigns for their clients externally, through a partnership.

The tasks and duties involved in the marketing manager role include a variety of activities. Depending upon their working environment and their employer or client’s industry, a marketing manager engages in processes like:

  • Planning marketing campaigns, including the campaign content and messaging and the different channels (email, social media, blog posts on the company website, etc.) that will be involved
  • Spearheading other promotional events, like specials or coupons, giveaways, company participation in a convention, or any other activity meant to generate interest around the business and its offerings
  • Negotiating any external advertising contracts and maintaining these partnerships to ensure that outside advertising efforts align with the brand’s internal goals and objectives
  • Researching current marketing trends, including growth opportunities or new strategies
  • Estimating the demand for the company’s unique products and/or services in the current market
  • Investigating competitors and their marketing strategies to build and improve on these marketing approaches for the company’s own efforts
  • Maintaining a robust understanding of search engine optimization (SEO) techniques, and the algorithms Google and other top search engines are using to crawl, evaluate, and provide content for search results
  • Staying up to date with social media, particularly related to new strategies and features that can be used in the company’s marketing campaigns
  • Optimizing the business’s website and social media pages to align with current SEO approaches
  • Assisting in developing price strategies to support profit and brand growth
  • Helping direct hiring and management of marketing staff members or external advertising partners to support the company’s brand awareness and advertising campaigns
  • Overseeing other members of the advertising and marketing teams and guiding these staff members’ efforts to support overarching marketing campaigns
  • Working closely alongside the sales, public relations, product development, and other company departments

Overall, it is up to the marketing manager to forecast demand for the company’s offerings, and then plan, direct, and coordinate the marketing efforts around those offerings to successfully position the brand in its marketplace. The marketing manager will also help assist product development efforts by doing granular market research, which can help uncover unmet consumer demands for new products or services.

Depending on the size of the organization, and whether the marketing manager works in a company’s internal marketing department or for a third-party service agency, these professionals may have a team of staff members underneath them. In these instances, it’s the manager’s responsibilities to oversee these staff members, assign them key tasks, and ensure that progress takes place according to the campaign schedule.

Currently, the job outlook for marketing managers is positive, with an 8% growth in projected employment opportunities forecast from 2018 to 2028. Over the next nine years, more than 280,000 marketing manager positions will open at businesses and agencies, and will require educated, skilled professionals to fulfill them.

Marketing manager vs. product manager

Discussions around the marketing manager role will sometimes converge with that of the product manager role. As MarketingCareerEdu.Org notes, the product manager position can be highly diverse in its purpose and responsibilities, depending on the industry and employer.

A marketing manager will conduct marketing research and identify potential needs for new products and services. The marketing manager will then be responsible for creating and guiding advertising and marketing campaign efforts around those specific products. However, the actual product development is outside of the marketing manager’s purview.

A product manager, on the other hand, is much more engaged in the product creation, from the point that the initial idea is formulated, up through execution and product release. A product manager will:

  • Research for the purpose of informing product development
  • Help guide product creation and package design
  • Ensure that all necessary licensing is completed
  • Support and resolve any product safety issues
  • Assist in setting production cost and consumer price.
  • Manage and maintain production schedules, including to source supplies and other resources
  • Tracking production progress and sharing this with other stakeholders, including product engineers, distributors, the sales team, and executives
  • Provide final approval for production

A product manager may then be somewhat involved in the outbound marketing processes surrounding the product they’ve helped develop. Much of this activity, though, will understandably fall to the advertising and marketing team, and ultimately the marketing manager.

A bachelor’s degree in marketing can prepare students to pursue roles like product manager. Some professionals’ career paths take them from the marketing team to the product management team.

The product manager role can be a beneficial option for those interested in product development and production. However, the marketing manager role is better suited for individuals seeking a career more geared toward advertising, promotions, and generating interest in products and services, as opposed to actually creating and producing them.

Marketing manager jobs: What do you need to pursue this role?

According to the BLS, those looking to pursue marketing director or marketing manager jobs must have a bachelor’s degree in marketing, advertising, journalism, or business administration. In addition, studies associated with communication, technology, public relations, photography, visual arts, and other related areas are beneficial for students and professionals as well.

Students should build out their education and expertise in areas like business law, project management, computer science, statistics, and economics. While some of these subjects may not seem immediately connected with marketing management, there are certain parallels and tasks in which expertise outside of marketing can be especially beneficial. As the BLS points out, for example, a computer science course can help professionals better understand approaches around maximizing online traffic.

Other important skills and qualities for marketing managers and professionals pursuing this role include:

  • Analytical skills: As part of the role, marketing managers will complete an array of different types of research, including that related to the industry, advertising trends, and online traffic. Marketing managers must be able to analyze and decipher trends in these analytics to support their company’s marketing efforts.
  • Creativity: Marketing efforts often demand that professionals think outside the box, especially when it comes to differentiating the brand from others in its industry. Marketing managers must be proficient in creative thinking and brainstorming.
  • Communication: Marketing managers work closely with project managers, marketing assistants, sales teams, product engineers, advertising partners, upper management, and beyond. In this way, communication skills are critical for maintaining these professional connections.
  • Decision-making: Professionals in this role must be able to select the right marketing strategies to include in their campaigns, as well as the channels around which campaigns will focus.
  • Organizational skills: Marketing managers must also ensure that their efforts align with the rest of the company, including the brand’s marketing budget, overarching business goals, timelines for product releases, and other important events.

Beginning your journey

If you are interested in pursuing a role that encompasses creating the marketing plan, guiding related efforts, connecting with the company’s target audience, and generating buzz around the brand and its services, the marketing manager position may be the ideal role for you.

This position requires skills in advertising, public relations, business administration, search engine optimization, and more. One of the best ways to get on the road to a career like marketing manager is to earn a degree like the online Bachelor of Science in Marketing from the University of Alabama at Birmingham Collat School of Business.

To find out more, check out our website and connect with one of our enrollment advisors today.


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Bureau of Labor Statistics