Do you take pride in your ability to make a customer go gaga for your company’s products? Some people have a natural ability to market products and services, and for those people being in a management position for a company or firm’s marketing efforts can be a dream job. The competition is stiff, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting that national employment opportunities for marketing managers comes in at less than sixty thousand jobs. At the same time, the rewards are quite lucrative for those who do make it to the top, as US News suggests that these managers earn an average salary of over $115,000 per year.
Unless you have a natural talent of salesmanship and can sell ice to penguins, you will need a four-year educational background in marketing, advertising, finance, sales, or communication in order to get on the path to professional management of a marketing department. Spend a good deal of your time in undergraduate school working to create strong marketing ideas that you can someday pitch to an employer (or better, a client). Build up a portfolio of ads, commercials, sales copy, and other pieces that showcase your talent as a marketer. While in school, you can take classes on everything from public relations to market research in order to understand how your target audience reacts to marketing efforts, which better helps you to succeed once you graduate. Consider an internship to get it on the ground floor of a company, but do not be discouraged if you cannot find one, since your talent as a marketer or manager may be more important than job experience.
Consider Graduate Schooling
1 to 5 years
You can take many postgraduate courses that will improve your ability to market a product. While a graduate degree in advertising may be the most obvious one, a postsecondary schooling in everything from communications to art history can also benefit your skills of product placement. An MBA program will give you the management background necessary to become hired at nearly any firm or ad agency in the country, but will cost much more than graduate school. You may find an employer willing to pay for an MBA down the line, so think carefully about paying for it out of your own pockets, especially when an MA or MS in a business discipline may cost less (or, with scholarships, pay for itself).
Begin A Career
Very few people get hired as managers straight out of college, so odds are good you will need to get an entry-level position to break into the world of business. This position can be anything from a copywriter with an ad agency to a communications specialist at a small business, but the best employment will give you opportunities to manage other employees and ultimately gain advancement. Small companies give you fewer advancement opportunities, though you may find the quality of work life is higher amongst a minimal number of fellow employees and you may find yourself more willing to stick it out.
Stay Up To DateMarketing can change on a dime. Subscribe to trade journals and keep tabs on successful advertising strategies as they develop in order to study what works and know how to say "no" to what does not work. Social networking allows anyone to stay focused on professional and amateur marketing alike, as well as communicate with contacts who otherwise would be totally out of your loop. Remember that big innovations (such as mobile phones, wireless Internet, and so on) can completely change a company’s advertising efforts. Being the first one to suggest changes may pay off in a big way when it comes time to determine who gets promoted.