What does a marketing director do? (Plus skills and salary)
Updated 26 January 2023
Most marketing professionals, whether they already hold a management position, aim to become marketing directors after gaining a significant amount of experience. The role of a marketing director allows them to bring together and apply their marketing experience and creativity to a higher-level job. If you're interested in becoming a marketing director, learning more about their responsibilities and required qualifications can help you decide on your career choices. In this article, we discuss what a marketing director does, look at their responsibilities, discover the skills needed, understand how to become one and explore their average salary.
What does a marketing director do?
The answer to, 'What does a marketing director do?', is they're responsible for the marketing campaigns of their organisation. They develop communication strategies that help increase brand awareness amongst their target audience and also help to increase their market share. A marketing director oversees the activities of marketing teams and works closely with the marketing manager to ensure that they meet marketing objectives. A marketing director reports to the Vice President of the company, but in smaller companies, they may report directly to the CEO.
Job responsibilities of a marketing director
The roles and responsibilities of a marketing director include:
managing and supervising the activities of the marketing team
developing long-term brand strategies for the organisation
approving marketing plans and overseeing the execution of marketing campaigns
creating budgets for market research and marketing campaigns
providing marketing tools to the marketing team
working closely with the sales, design and finance teams
analysing the performance of marketing campaigns
deriving insights from marketing reports to help other departments make decisions
building and maintaining relationships with corporate partners
representing the organisation in print media
ensuring that the company gets appropriate digital coverage
acting as a liaison between the marketing team and the CEO or Vice President
The skills needed to become a marketing director
Here are the skills necessary to become a marketing director:
Marketing directors oversee the activities of their marketing team and are responsible for their overall performance. It's their responsibility to ensure that each member of the team is aware of the organisation's objectives and the role they play in achieving them. While they assign duties to individual members, communicate deadlines and track performance, it's also their duty to motivate team members when needed. As a senior in the marketing team, their role may include resolving conflict or bringing the team to a conclusion, which requires them to have good leadership skills.
Marketing directors interact with different stakeholders of the organisation. They work closely with sales, design and finance teams, communicate with vendors and may even meet with corporate partners. Marketing directors often represent their organisation in the press and secure slots for promotional activities. Having good interpersonal skills can help marketing directors establish and maintain working relationships with various parties.
Communication is one of the most critical skills for marketing directors. The proper execution of marketing campaigns relies on the marketing director's ability to convert complex ideas into actionable information. Good communication skills ensure that marketing directors can simplify ideas for their team to execute. They may also explain to clients, partners or the CEO how a marketing activity might help the organisation generate more leads or increase brand awareness.
Related: A guide to the 7 Cs of communication
Analytics and numerical ability
While a marketing director isn't necessarily required to be an expert at maths, most organisations look for candidates with good numerical and analytical abilities. Marketing directors keep track of trends, lead market research activities and analyse the performance of marketing campaigns. Analytical skills help them choose which metrics are to be measured, derive insights from the available data, determine whether a campaign was successful, collect data for sales teams and create marketing budgets. Good analytical skills ensure that all marketing activities can be justified with meaningful data.
One of the primary duties of marketing directors is to ensure that their marketing activities complement the organisation's overall objectives. Through strategic thinking, they can convert an organisation's short-term and long-term objectives into actionable marketing activities. With this skill, they can think of innovative ways to combine different channels and modes of communication into a unified marketing strategy.
Most often, marketing directors are in charge of multiple initiatives like securing a partnership with an agency, launching a marketing campaign or conducting market research for a new product. Each of these initiatives may have its own deadlines, specific requirements and objectives. Project management skills help marketing directors organise their projects, allocate resources, manage deadlines and oversee performance. This ensures that they can manage high-pressure situations smoothly and deliver high-quality marketing activities.
While the role of a marketing director is more of a managerial one, having some level of technical knowledge is still important. It shows that the marketing director has experience in different areas of marketing and can combine different strategies while creating a new marketing campaign. Some technical skills that are important for this role are content writing and creation, social media marketing, an understanding of search engine optimisation (SEO), public relations, email marketing and automation.
How to become a marketing director
Here's a step-by-step guide to becoming a marketing director:
1. Get an undergraduate degree
The first step to becoming a marketing director is getting a bachelor's degree. Most marketers begin their marketing career by pursuing a degree in marketing, communication, business administration, advertising or journalism. These courses help you learn about market research, consumer behaviour, sales, business communication and digital marketing. Some other subjects that you may learn include accounting, business law, economics, statistics and maths, which can also aid your performance as a marketer.
2. Pursue a master's degree
You can pursue a master's degree immediately after your graduation or gain apprenticeship experience first. An apprenticeship helps you gain practical experience in the field and helps you to understand theoretical concepts. While you can gain experience and get promoted to a marketing director's position eventually, many employers prefer candidates with a Master of Business Administration (MBA) or a master's in marketing while considering profiles for senior-level marketing positions.
3. Gain experience as a marketer
If you're interested in becoming a marketing director, try to gain experience in all potential areas related to marketing, such as content writing, branding, social media marketing, digital marketing, content marketing, SEO and email marketing. You may begin as a marketing executive, but based on your performance, you can get promoted to a marketing manager and then a marketing director. Often, organisations promote senior marketing professionals within the company who have several years of marketing experience and have already successfully handled their marketing campaigns and major accounts.
4. Get certified
You can become a marketing director even if you don't have a master's or bachelor's degree in marketing. Most employers look at whether you have relevant professional experience or educational background. You can pursue a Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) accredited degree in marketing and digital marketing to become a certified marketing professional.
5. Apply for a marketing manager role
Once you've completed your education, gained experience and earned the necessary certifications, the next step is to apply for a marketing manager role. Most organisations look for candidates with six to ten years of experience in a senior marketing role when hiring a marketing director. You can even choose a specialisation and become a manager in that area, such as content marketing manager, digital marketing manager or social media manager.
6. Update your CV
The next step is to gather all of your relevant experience throughout your career and update your CV. Since you're applying for a senior role, highlight the skills and experiences that best display your leadership skills, proficiency as a marketer and all the marketing campaigns that you've successfully handled. Include all relevant educational background information, certifications and accolades.
7. Apply for marketing director roles
The final step to becoming a marketing director is to apply for a marketing director position. You can find jobs posted on portals like Indeed. Apply only for the jobs that match your skill set and qualifications. Add a cover letter to your job application and explain how you can contribute to the company's growth. Every time you apply for a job posting, customise your CV and personalise your cover letter accordingly.
How much does a marketing director make?
The average salary of a marketing director is £67,113 per year. The amount that an individual marketing director makes depends on their experience, skills, qualifications and certifications. Marketing directors working for large companies typically get paid more than those working for small companies with comparatively smaller marketing departments.
Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at the time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location. Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.
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