There are approximately 286,300 marketing managers employed in the United States. About 23 percent work for professional, scientific, and technical services firms. Virtually every business in the United States has some form of marketing position. The larger the company is, the more managerial positions it is likely to have. Another factor is the geographical territory covered by the business. Companies doing business in larger geographical territories are likely to have more marketing manager positions than those with smaller territories. For instance, computer software and hardware companies, which are part of an industry with global reach and where brand awareness is very important, tend to employ many people in marketing and promotions.
Marketing manager is not an entry-level position. Most companies prefer to hire marketing managers with eight to 10 years of prior experience working on marketing campaigns. You will first need experience in lower level marketing jobs. Ask your school's career services office for assistance with finding employment opportunities in marketing. In addition, a number of firms advertise job listings for entry-level and part-time marketing positions on their own Web sites as well as on career Web sites.
Your first few jobs in marketing should give you experience in working with clients, studying the market, learning more about the analysis and execution of marketing campaigns, and following up on client service. This work will give you a good sense of the rhythm of the job and the type of work required.
Most marketing management and top executive positions are filled by experienced lower level workers who have displayed valuable skills, such as leadership, self-confidence, creativity, motivation, decisiveness, and flexibility. In smaller firms, advancement to a management position may come slowly, while promotions may occur more quickly in larger firms.
Advancement may be accelerated by participating in advanced training programs sponsored by industry and trade associations or by enrolling in continuing education programs at local universities. These programs are sometimes paid for by the firm. Marketing managers committed to improving their knowledge of the field and of related discipline—especially digital media—will have the best opportunities for advancement. Marketing managers can advance to become top executives (vice president of marketing, chief executive officer, etc.) or open their own firms. Others become college professors.
Tips for Entry
Keep up with marketing industry news and the companies that are trending by reading publications such as MarketingNews, https://www.ama.org/marketing-news-home, as well as the AMA's Academic Journals, https://www.ama.org/ama-academic-journals.
Participate in internships or summer or part-time jobs that are arranged by your college’s career services office or professional associations.
Talk to marketing managers about their careers by conducting informational interviews. Ask your school's career services office for help with setting up these interviews, and be sure to prepare a list of questions to ask.