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How to Work as a Director of Marketing

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A marketing director manages all elements of a company’s marketing activities, with the goals of generating leads and increasing sales. To become a marketing director you typically need to have a bachelor’s degree in marketing, communications or another business-related field. Individuals who are interested in further education may consider an MBA or additional certification as well. If you have a mixture of creative and analytical skills, becoming a marketing director may be an excellent career option for you.

What Does a Marketing Director Do?

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Harbinger Marketing

While researching marketing director careers, it is not uncommon to see an overlap of job responsibilities between a marketing director and a marketing manager. The terms marketing manager and marketing director are often used interchangeably. While the roles may have similar responsibilities in certain situations, some companies may have distinguishing differences between the two roles. A marketing director or manager’s responsibilities may include:

  • Using research-based data to develop marketing campaigns and strategies that will reach customers and bring in leads
  • Identifying potential markets for a company’s products
  • Directing the workflow of marketing department staff
  • Working with other managers and staff to address issues such as budget, contracts and marketing plans
  • Generating marketing reports
  • Creating marketing plans for new products or services
  • Collaborating with sales, public relations and product development departments

A marketing director is a high-level executive who typically oversees all aspects of a company’s marketing activities. Depending on the size of a company, this could include different levels of responsibility. 

In large companies, a marketing director may supervise a marketing manager who in turn handles some or many of the day-to-day responsibilities mentioned above.

In very large companies or corporations, a marketing director may be responsible for executive-level tasks, such as overseeing multiple mid-level marketing managers.

Small companies typically have fewer staff members, which could mean marketing managers may be responsible for the day-to-day marketing activities as well as filling the executive-level role of a marketing director.

Marketing Director Job Outlook

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The job outlook for marketing directors and managers is excellent. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for management positions in marketing is expected to increase 10% from 2020 to 2030, and there will be approximately 31,100 openings for management positions in marketing, advertising and promotions.

The median annual salary for marketing managers is $135,030, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This salary is much higher than the 2020 median household income of $67,521, according to U.S. Census data.

Top Skills for a Marketing Director

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SLAM! Agency

As you work toward becoming a marketing director, you will develop important skills through education and work experience. The top skills for marketing directors include:

  • Communication skills
  • Creative skills
  • Analytical and research skills
  • Strategic thinking and decision making skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Organizational skills

Steps to Becoming a Marketing Director

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Earn a Bachelor’s Degree

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Brentwood Open Learning College

You will need a bachelor’s degree in marketing, communications or another business-related field to become a marketing director. Earning a bachelor’s degree will help you gain important knowledge in the areas of leadership, marketing, interpersonal relations and communications.

Gain Experience

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Ryan Webber

Being a marketing director is far from an entry-level position. You need to have relevant work and management experience to reach your goal. Marketing directors often gain work experience by working in advertising, promotions or other marketing jobs.

Consider an MBA

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An MBA is not a requirement for most marketing director positions, but it is common for those who want to rise in the ranks to a higher-level executive position, such as a vice president of marketing.

Look into Additional Certification

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If you want to increase your marketing knowledge, you may want to consider a certification program. There are many certification programs for marketing professionals available online through universities across the country and through professional organizations. Below are just a few to consider:

American Marketing Association (AMA) and Digital Marketing Institute (DMI)

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The AMA and DMI have collaborated on two different digital marketing certifications. The Digital Marketing Pro Certification covers everything from email and content marketing to SEO and analytics. The Digital Marketing Expert Certification covers topics such as digital selling, leadership and team management and digital strategy.

American Marketing Association

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The AMA’s Professional Certified Marketer program will help you improve your knowledge in one of two different areas of study. The PCM Marketing Management Certification focuses on topics such as marketing strategy, customer behavior, data analytics and product positioning. The PCM Content Marketing Certification covers topics such as lead generation, storytelling, editorial calendar design, metrics and measurement.

Online Marketing Certified Professionals (OMCP)

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Duy L

The OMCP Digital Marketing Certification program requires 5,000 hours of marketing experience for applicants to be accepted into the program. The topics covered include content marketing, conversion rate optimization, email marketing, social media marketing, digital analytics, pay-per-click marketing (PPC) and SEO.

Google Digital Garage

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GaryVee Video Experience

Google’s Fundamentals of Digital Marketing Certification is a free certification that includes 26 modules covering dozens of topics, such as building your web presence, planning an online business strategy, social media promotion and building an online shop.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to become a marketing director?

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Rabeea Hasan

There is no set amount of time required to become a marketing director, but at a minimum you should expect to spend several years earning a bachelor’s degree and working in the marketing field before moving into a marketing director role.

What skills are needed to be a marketing director?

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lucia cordaro

A marketing director needs to have a thorough understanding of all aspects of marketing in addition to excellent communication, creative, analytical, research, interpersonal, organizational and strategic thinking skills.

Are marketing directors and managers in demand?

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Laurie Wang

Yes, the demand for marketing directors is projected to grow 10% from 2020 to 2030, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Companies will continue to need marketing professionals to manage marketing campaigns, develop pricing strategies and reach new leads. Marketing directors and managers will continue to play a vital role in handling these activities.


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