The best marketing managers can balance creative thinking with organized planning to develop innovative, effective marketing strategies and initiatives that help their companies thrive. To be a marketing manager you must manage a broad range of duties, work well with a variety of people, and be comfortable with a lot of responsibility and a high-visibility position.
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Good marketing managers are good people managers. They know how to motivate employees to do their best and they know when to provide additional training opportunities to encourage employee growth. Staff sizes can vary, so managers must be effective whether they have only two or three employees or a large group broken into areas of responsibility. Positions managed might include anything from clerical workers to social media experts to creative types such as copywriters, graphic designers, video editors and photographers. Managers can expect to interview, hire and complete performance reviews in addition to goal setting and mentoring.
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Every marketing department needs a plan so that it knows what it wants to achieve and how to get there. In large companies, the plan might be set by a director or vice president, but the manager often has input and, in a small company, may be responsible for all aspects from planning through execution. She'll need to assess the company's strengths, weaknesses and audiences, set marketing goals, and identify strategies to reach those goals. She'll also develop success metrics and assess them at the end of the marketing cycle to keep the department on track.
As in all of life, money matters. A marketing manager must develop a reasonable, workable budget and have it approved by upper management or a board of directors. Budgets are usually broken down into line items or different types of expenses such as advertising placements, event expenses, promotional giveaways and market research. A manager must also budget for salaries and benefits of all departmental employees as well as any new positions she might want to add. In some companies, she'll also have to consider operating expenses, such as office supplies or bottled water.
In most cases, marketing managers are what are called "working managers," meaning that they have actual day-to-day work duties in addition to supervisory responsibilities. Depending on the size of the department and company, this might include any combination of graphic design, still and motion photography, and writing text for ads, brochures or websites. The manager might need to plan media purchases and place insertion orders, maintain the company social media sites and plan special events such as trade shows. In some companies, the marketing manager even coordinates the development of proposals.
Maggie Worth has more than 18 years of marketing and business management experience. She has conducted training classes in resume, fiction and web writing and has written textbooks, resumes, professional and technical documents, ad copy, video scripts and articles for lifestyle magazines. She is director of marketing communications strategy and special projects for a university.