Education and Training Master's degree in business; extensive experience in other marketing positions required
Salary Median—$138,470 per year
Employment Outlook Very good
Definition and Nature of the Work
Marketing directors oversee a company's marketing strategy. For the most part marketing directors concern themselves with market segments, which are large groups of consumers defined by income, ethnicity, age, or a number of other factors. Ultimately marketing directors want to know which market segments will buy their company's products and how best to sell those products to their target market.
The duties of a marketing director vary considerably from company to company. Some marketing directors limit themselves to analyzing the market potential and profitability of various products and to developing strategies to achieve the greatest number of sales of those products in the market. Other directors are responsible not only for analyzing markets and proposing strategies but also for implementing those strategies through market research, product development, advertising, and sales promotion programs. Still other marketing directors have sales managers reporting to them.
Marketing directors use a variety of techniques to determine the potential market for a particular product. For example, the number of babies being born in a
given timeframe determines the size of the potential market for baby foods and diapers. Marketing directors determine the probability and the cost of gaining a certain share of the market. They develop strategies that will counter their competitors' advertising approach and gain their company a larger share of the market at the expense of the competition. Marketing directors study sales figures closely to keep track of how their company's products are selling.
Sometimes marketing directors supervise market research. They use the research data to determine what customers do and do not like about certain products and what improvements and new products consumers want to see in stores. Marketing research may be done by outside research firms or by an inside staff. Regardless of who performs the research, it is usually up to the marketing director to make the final interpretations of the data. Based on what the research reveals, the director must recommend and implement a marketing strategy that is within the budget, resources, and capabilities of the company.
Say a manufacturer wants to enter the lawn mower business. The marketing director must first determine not only how many lawns there are in the United States but also what price and what new features a lawn mower would need to capture a certain share of the market. It would also be necessary to develop an advertising campaign to sell the public on the benefits of the new product. The marketing director would be involved in all of these steps and would determine the methods of sales and distribution to be used.
Education and Training Requirements
Most marketing directors have a master's degree in business. They must be familiar with statistics and math and experienced in marketing and sales. Many years of experience are needed to qualify for the position of marketing director. Some directors start in advertising, sales, or product management. (Product managers are responsible for the marketing and sales of a specific product line or brand of goods.)
Getting the Job
Prospective marketing directors must start at the bottom of the field and work their way up. Students seeking an entry-level position in marketing should consult their school placement office for assistance. Marketing jobs are also listed by career sites on the Internet and in local newspapers; after many years of experience candidates can pursue higher positions in marketing.
Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook
Marketing directors already hold a top position in their field. In some cases a director can become executive vice president or president of the company. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of all marketing managers was expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations between 2004 and 2014. However, there are many qualified people competing for marketing director positions. Because this is a top management post, few openings occur each year, and turnover among marketing directors is generally low.
Marketing directors usually work long, unpredictable hours. Their schedules often vary from day to day as they meet and consult with other executives. Directors are typically under a lot of pressure and must deal with problems stemming from different departments such as sales, product development, and advertising.
Where to Go for More Information
American Marketing Association
311 S. Wacker Dr., Ste. 5800
Chicago, IL 60606
Sales and Marketing Executives International, Inc.
P.O. Box 1390
Sumas, WA 98295-1390
Earnings and Benefits
According to Salary.com marketing directors made an annual median salary of $138,470 in 2006. Directors receive standard benefits such as paid vacations, insurance, and retirement plans. Many companies also offer stock options to their marketing directors.