Want to become a marketing manager? It’s not all about qualifications, awards and having worked at big name brands.

To become a marketing manager, you need, first and foremost, to be a great people person. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get by without some specific marketing experience that relates to the disciplines you want to manage, for instance, content marketing, social media, search engine optimisation (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising.

Is it easy to become a marketing manager? Unfortunately – no. After all, if it was, we’d all be doing it!

Becoming a marketing manager takes time, patience and a desire to work your way up from the bottom. If, for instance, you’ve left college or university and feel like jumping straight into the head honcho’s seat, you’ll be in for a bit of a shock.

Experience at lower level of marketing is vital if you want to become the manager. That means grinding away on lower wages and doing the more menial tasks. It will be laborious at times, and you’ll wonder why you’re doing it, but by taking on the low-level stuff now, you’ll be in a far better position to manage others in that position the future.

So, you want to become a marketing manager? It’s a brilliant career choice – why wouldn’t you?

Real life skills in the various marketing disciplines in use in the digital economy and those all important life skills are vital if you’re to make your mark in marketing. Few businesses will employ marketing managers with whom they don’t warm to quickly during the interview process.

How can you become a marketing manager? Be nice; be yourself; be honest. Above all, demonstrate a willingness to learn, share your experience and develop the careers of others. It’s those things that will make you stand out from the crowd in interviews rounds.

How to become a marketing manager

Before asking “what does it take to become a marketing manager”, you need to make sure it’s the career for you.

Is marketing manager a good career choice? Absolutely! But it isn’t for everyone.

Managing a marketing team is very different to being a member of one. You go from undertaking hands-on work to managing people, processes and reporting to the board. The increase in responsibility is significant.

Modern marketing is also a very wide-reaching profession. There’s a colossal number of marketing methods, channels and strategies that seem to change every day. Keeping up with them is challenging, and to be a great manager, you’re going to need to ensure you can maintain a solid grasp of what’s hot and what’s not on the marketing scene.

marketing managers at work

How long do you need to go to school for to become a marketing manager?

This is one of the most common questions from people considering marketing management as a career. After all, there’s no marketing lessons at school – they only really come in higher education.

That begs a very important question.

Can you be a marketing manager without a degree?

Yes, you can be a marketing manager without a degree. Although having a degree sometimes helps, it’s not essential if you want to become a marketing manager. Relevant marketing experience, project management expertise and great people skills will be favoured by potential employers.

You don’t have to go to university and study marketing to become a marketing manager.

Despite this, it’s worth bearing in mind that some businesses will proactively look for graduates when hiring for their marketing teams. For that reason, if you’re already considering going to university as a way to support your dream to become a marketing manager, you certainly won’t harm your chances.

Despite this, having relevant, real-world marketing experience often trumps qualifications and degrees when it comes to grabbing that top job.

Take a small startup, or business that doesn’t have the time, budget or stomach for risk to interview countless graduates for a marketing management position.

Given the choice between an untested graduate and someone who has spent a few years working their way through the ranks of a marketing team, they’re likely to opt for the latter.

Real-world experience counts for an awful lot, and you can’t buy it or study it at college.

Relevant experience in several marketing disciplines will help you immeasurably, too. For instance, you’ll need to have cut your teeth on search engine optimisation, project management, content marketing or social media marketing. Or, even better, have a broad experience of every discipline!

Combine these real-world experiences and skills that have been developed organically with an approachable demeanour and people-focused personality, and that marketing manager job will be an awful lot easier to get your hands on.

business team working

What skills do marketing managers need?

Marketing management covers a vast range of skill sets, and you’ll need to be either competent or already conversant in the following:

Project management skills

Marketing strategies are broken down into individual projects. Some can be on-going, while others are linked to specific campaigns that only run for a short time.

Whatever the length and purpose of a marketing project, as the manager, you’ll need to be able to keep everyone moving proactively and efficiently towards a common goal.

Along the way, you’ll need to resolve differences of opinion, slow-moving employees, unforeseen disasters, changes in personnel and competitor reactions you hadn’t accounted for. It’s tough, but vital if you want to become a marketing manager.

People management skills

What would you do if it’s clear Sarah is struggling with her workload? What if Paul is proving to be a roadblock for other members of the team? And then, there’s Emma, who has clearly worked her socks off recently and deserves something above and beyond her normal wage as a “thanks”.

Without people management skills you simply can’t be a marketing manager. In fact, most of your time in the role will be spent dealing with people.

People are complicated; they do things that are unexpected, let you down, surprise you in the best way possible and, sometimes, just need a shoulder to cry on.

Can you be the person that deals with the many personalities one will inevitably find within a marketing department?

Digital marketing

As noted, without real-world experience in hands-on marketing, you’ll have a hard time managing people undertaking work on the frontline.

Make sure you get your own experience working among the ranks and being managed before you attempt the latter yourself.

Marketing and sales

The marketing and sales departments within a business should always work in harmony. If they don’t, the end result (revenue!) will become nothing more than a pipe dream.

It’s common for marketing managers to have spent a degree of time in sales roles, too, therefore don’t be afraid to work in some time on your path to becoming a marketing manager to get some real-world sales experience.

Good communication skills

This is an easy one.

Good communication skills are imperative for marketing managers. Can you communicate effectively with your peers, staff and customers?


There are so many strands to manage in a marketing team. There’s people management, project management and all the stuff you’ll need to do for those above you.

Having a productive mindset and being able to work autonomously by leaning on the best productivity tools and disciplines is vital for success in marketing management.

The job of marketing manager

It might seem like an obvious question, but before you jump into this line of work, have you ever asked yourself the following question?

What does a marketing manager do?

A manger manager is responsible for both the marketing team and every aspect of marketing for the business.

The key tasks marketing managers are left in control of are:

– Developing and overseeing the marketing strategy
– managing the marketing team
– managing the marketing campaigns and their respective budgets
– working with external digital marketing and video production agencies
– analysing market trends
– reporting on performance of marketing campaigns to key business stakeholders

But what does a marketing manager do on a daily basis and what are the duties of a marketing manager?

No two days are the same for a marketing manager. Each day, they’ll need to have regular catch-ups with the team to ensure everyone is on-task and isn’t experiencing roadblocks that are preventing them from doing their best work.

Marketing managers will get their hands dirty, too. Campaigns may need their input in order for their knowledge to help employees overcome challenges. Equally, they may simply need to ‘muck in’ and help out with some of the more menial tasks.

Keeping the team motivated is a never ending, daily task, too. People need to feel empowered to work autonomously and make their own decisions, but know the manager’s door is metaphorically open if they need assistance.

Marketing managers therefore need to spend a great deal of their day being available, vocal and attacking the day as they want others to. Smiling, congratulating every little achievement and building a sense of fun and excitement in the office is a daily task that the best marketing managers relish.

people gathered around desk working together

Can marketing managers work from home?

Yes, marketing managers can work from home – particularly with so many fantastic tools to make team collaboration and management possible remotely. There are new guidelines for flexible working in UK which include the provision to work from home if in doing so is in both the employee and business’s interests.

Employers are duty bound to deal with requests of this nature in a ‘reasonable manner’, therefore providing you’re not stretching the reasons for working from home just to get in front of the TV for an afternoon, there’s no reason you should be forced to stay in the office.

As noted, there are plenty of tools and strategies for home working that work brilliantly for both managers and employees alike. Working remotely is certainly not a barrier to getting great work done.

Who do marketing managers work with?

The modern marketing manager works with a variety of people and organisations – it’s partly what makes the job so exciting.

For instance, there’s the in-house team, which obviously takes up the majority of their time, but in order for the many marketing channels to be used effectively, there’ll be others involved outside of the four walls of the business, too.

External resources help marketing managers call on skills that don’t exist in-house. For example, you may not have an SEO expert internally, but an external marketing company will be able to fill the void admirably and cost-effectively.

Video production agencies are also in high demand due to the level of expertise required to create brilliant video marketing content.

For this reason, marketing managers need to be just as comfortable dealing with external teams as they are with the people who sit directly beneath them on the company tree.

What is the average salary of a marketing manager in the UK?

According to glassier.co.uk , the average salary of a marketing manager in London is £45,000 per year.

Salaries will obviously vary depending on where you work, your experience and the company you work for, but it’s certainly a healthy salary that will support a good lifestyle for most people.

Where to find marketing manager jobs?

Marketing manager jobs aren’t hard to come by, but you’ll need to be proactive in finding the right one for you.

Start the traditional way by searching on job listing websites, but keep in mind the other avenues, too. Scour LinkedIn for jobs and start following the people who work at the businesses you’ve targeted. The more you can find out about what they’re up to and begin interacting with them on social media, the more likely you are to get noticed.

It also doesn’t hurt to attend local networking events, where you might just bump into your future employer. Often, it’s the more unlikely routes towards new jobs that are the most successful.

Although this will probably eat into some of your free time, it’s absolutely worth it. Be seen online and jump into discussions fronted by businesses for whom you’d like to work; you never know who’s listening or what roles might soon become available.

How to prepare for a job interview for a marketing manager position

Spend a good amount of time researching the business at which you’ve bagged the interview. Get to know their history, products, corporate structure and existing marketing approach.

Follow them on social, read their blogs and connect with some of the employees on social media. Don’t be shy!

It’s also important to gather thoughts and notes on the experience you have that’s relevant to the role in question. The more real-world experience you can refer to in the interview, the more you’ll impress them.

If the industry is one with which you’re not overly familiar, spend some time digging into that, too. They may not expect you to be a genius on the subject, but some background knowledge of what it’s all about will do wonders.

Most importantly, prepare to be yourself when you enter that interview room. This tactic above all will put you in the best position to impress the interviewer and shove you to the front of the queue.

Wrapping up

Becoming a marketing manager isn’t easy, but we’ve hopefully helped answer the question “what does it take to become a marketing manager” today for you.

Be proactive, be yourself, get that real-world experience and don’t stop searching until you find a business that’s the right fit for you.