How to Become a Marketing Executive: Education and Career Roadmap

Learn how to become a marketing executive. Research the education requirements, training, and experience you will need to start a career as a marketing executive. View article »

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Should I Become a Marketing Executive?

Marketing executives manage their companies' advertising, public relations, and marketing strategy activities for maximum profitability. They conduct market research to evaluate potential demand for goods and services offered by their company, and then plan, execute, and evaluate advertising campaigns designed to meet that demand.

Career Requirements

Degree Level Bachelor's
Degree Field(s) Marketing, business, economics, or a related field
Certification Optional professional certification available
Experience Varies; 1-5 years of related experience
Key Skills Creativity, as well as analytical, decision-making, interpersonal and management skills; ability to use analytical, database user interface and query, customer relationship management, and graphics software
Median Salary (2015)* $140,660 (for marketing managers)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)*, O*Net Online

Marketing executives also formulate pricing strategies based on demand for the products being advertised, and analyze sales data to determine the effectiveness of the marketing strategies put into place. Each client comes with a unique marketing plan and firm project deadlines, which can be stressful to meet. Travel may also be required to consult with clients. Many marketing executives put in overtime hours on a consistent basis. While the career is demanding, the payout is relatively high. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the average salary for marketing management was $140,660 as of May 2015.

Now, let's explore the steps toward a career as a marketing executive.

Step 1: Complete an Undergraduate Degree Program

The first step to becoming a marketing executive is to fulfill the education requirements. Marketing executives generally need a bachelor's degree in marketing or a related field. Courses in marketing may offer courses in accounting, business administration, and management information systems as well as marketing and finance. Courses in statistics and mathematics may also be advantageous for prospective executives.

During college, it may be wise to complete an internship to gain experience in the field. A typical internship program will provide students with the opportunity to learn real-world work skills, such as marketing, sales, public relations, advertising, and management, while working with clients on marketing campaigns. Completion of such an internship can give new college graduates networking opportunities and the experience necessary to get ahead in the marketing profession.

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Business Communications, General
  • International Marketing
  • Marketing Management
  • Marketing Research

Step 2: Get an Entry-Level Position

Aspiring marketing executives will typically begin their careers in entry-level marketing positions, such as sales representative, marketing assistant, and purchasing agent. A survey of marketing executive positions advertised in August 2016 indicated that marketing executives typically have at least six years experience in the industry before qualifying for an executive position.

Step 3: Advance to Marketing Executive

Experienced sales and marketing professionals who have distinguished themselves with outstanding job performance and advanced training may be promoted to the position of marketing executive. In this position, they may oversee other marketing professionals, such as marketing specialists or market research analysts.

If you find yourself unable to move up the ladder to reach an executive position, you might consider obtaining a master's degree to boost advancement. A Master of Business Administration prepares you for upper level management positions, and you may be able to focus your studies on marketing. Employers seeking to fill executive positions typically give preference to candidates with a master's degree and several years of experience.

Step 4: Become Certified

Professional certification can help marketing professionals advance in their careers, improve job prospects, and even enhance salary potential. Organizations like the American Marketing Association, American Certification Institute, and Sales and Marketing Executives International offer professional certification for marketing executives. Requirements for the credentials vary by organization, but may include an exam or proof of professional experience.

To become a marketing executive, you generally need a bachelor's degree related to business or marketing, as well as six years of marketing experience, and a Master of Business Administration degree may improve job prospects.

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