Job Descriptions and Career Insight for:

Vice President of Marketing,
Director of Marketing,
Marketing Manager

This premium job description covers many different types of marketing jobs, and it discusses what they do and how you can fit in to this field.

The Marketing Manager's Responsibilities

Although there are over 10 different types of marketing jobs there is one thing all of the marketing positions have in common. They all have something to do with increasing the sales and profitability of a company's products and services.

Each different type of marketing person comes at the challenge of increasing sales and profits from a different angle, using a different skill set.

Many times, the skills sets for each of the marketing functions are not compatible and are not found within one single individual. Thus many companies will have a variety of marketing people on staff.

Types of Work Found in Marketing Jobs

  • Deciding what new products or services to create
  • Defining new products and services
  • Training people to sell or use the new product
  • Working with people that sell the product (Sales)
  • Working with people that create the product (R&D)
  • Working with people that build the product (Operations)
  • Working with people that use the product (Customers)
  • Setting the price of a product
  • Telling the world about a new product (MARCOM)

The Different Fields Within Marketing

There are many different areas of expertise that fall under the title of "marketing."

  1. Brand Marketing Manager
  2. Product Marketing Manager
  3. Search Engine Marketing Manager (SEM)
  4. Market Researcher
  5. Market Analyst
  6. Manager of Competitive Analysis
  7. Manager of Market Statistics
  8. Marketing Communication Manager (MARCOM Manager)
  9. Strategic Marketing Manager
  10. Technical Marketing Manager
  11. Marketing Consultant

Marketing Job Title Confusion

Marketing job titles within different companies can have different meanings and vastly different levels of responsibility and power.

The most common confusion is over the term "manager." Having a marketing title which includes the word "manager" does not necessarily mean the person is a manager of people. He / She could be a manager of a product or a service, or a function.

A Director of Marketing might have zero people reporting to them.

As with many job titles in the sales and marketing field, a high level title is frequently given to an individual contributor (manages zero people) out of respect, seniority, or a need to look important to the customer and the outside world.

Thus in one company, a "Marketing Director" may manage one or two people, or none at all, while a "Marketing Manager" in a different company might manage 10 or more marketing personnel.

Only the top two titles accurately indicate a person is at the top or very near the top. The highest marketing positions in most companies is the Chief Marketing Officer or the Vice President of Marketing.

  • Chief Marketing Officer
  • Vice President of Marketing
  • Director of Marketing
  • Marketing Manager
  • Marketing Consultant

What About the "Vice President of Marketing and Sales?"

Many companies will give their top sales executive the title of Vice President of Marketing and Sales. This does not necessarily mean the person is an expert in both marketing and sales.

The skills required to manage a world wide sales force are vastly different than the skills needed to do marketing.

How Do You Get Into Marketing?

Oddly enough, a bachelors degree in marketing does not guarantee you will get a good marketing job.

There are very few schools that offer bachelor degrees in marketing. However there are many graduate (Masters) level marketing programs, usually found under the MBA umbrella.

Most of the people doing marketing today, did not go to school to be a marketing person.

To be a good marketing person you have to know a lot about the product or service you are marketing. Thus, in most companies the people who have the marketing jobs probably worked on the products before they became marketeers.

In high tech for example, most of the marketing professionals were once engineers or technical people who acquired hands on knowledge of the products before they went into marketing.

P&L Responsibility

One of the most important and most powerful responsibilities is the responsibility for profit and loss.

The people in a company that have P&L responsibility are the most powerful and control the direction of their products and soimetimes the direction of the entire company.

Marketeers who do not have P&L responsibility don't have that much power and must use their verbal skills to persuade others to do their bidding.

A marketeer with P&L responsibility can command people, and can give orders that must be followed.

Usually people are only given P&L responsibility after they have proven themselves to be dependable, competent and capable of increasing revenue and profits for the company.

Marketing Consultants

Marketing is a field in which it is possible to earn a good living, possibly a great living, by being a consultant.

Many firms hire marketing consultants.

The consultants may be experts in a particular product area, or they might just be experts at marketing in general.

The path to become a marketing consultant is to first learn the trade by working in a larger company, or for a well known marketing expert.

Localized Marketing Versus International Marketing - Great Opportunities

When an American firm wants to sell it's products in another country, such as Germany or China, they will typically use local people to do the marketing.

The reason is quite simple. A person raised in one culture with one language is not capable of marketing to people in a different culture with a different language.

Thus, international firms will have to station marketing people in many regions around the world. This creates many job opportunities, especially in developing countries.

Skills and Abilities Needed in Marketing

The primary skill needed to be a good marketer is good communication. Think of Steve Jobs at Apple Computer.

In marketing you will be convincing and persuading others, whether it's your boss or a customer.

Thus you should be a good public speaker. You should be good at debate. You should be a good writer and a good presenter.

Most but not all marketing jobs require a high dose of creativity.

Some marketing jobs that involve a lot of repetition such as pricing, product marketing, and market research require consistency and discipline more than creativity.

Other marketing jobs such as envisioning the future require strategy, imagination and intuition.

Yet other marketing positions require a knowledge of psychology and why people buy.

Finally, a knowledge of the product is key.

Marketing Education

As mentioned before there are very few undergraduate (4 year) programs offered for marketing. We are not exactly sure why this is. It could be that schools feel a general business background is better and that it's premature to specialize in the field of marketing. But that is just a guess.

Perhaps a better reason is that schools know that firms that hire marketing people typically do not hire marketing people without actual marketing experience. It's just too risky. Most firms will only put experienced and proven marketing people in charge of their products.

Typically one would earn a 4 year bachelors degree in business. During that time you might take a marketing class or two.

However, since most marketing professionals are experts in their products, we suggest a person get a degree that would lead to a job where you can become an expert in the product area you are interested in.

Thus to market automobiles, one might become an automotive engineer.

To market electronic components one would become an electronics engineer.

To market computers one might become either an electronics engineer or a software engineer.

To market dog food or Pepsi, one might study food chemistry.

To market medical services, one might study healthcare administration.

Famous Marketing People

There are a number of famous marketeers, some more well known than the others.

Steve Jobs, Founder of Apple

Created Apple Computer then was fired. Was brought back years later to turn around Apple. Created the Mac as we know it today as well as the iPod, iPhone, and iTunes.

Regis McKenna, Marketing Consultant and Author

Helped Intel make the decision to drop their core product which was memory and switch to focusing on microprocessors. You have to be very persuasive to convince a company to kill it's main product, even if it is losing money.




*The primary source of the information on this page comes from personal experience in the field of marketing plus supplemental research.