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How to be a Marketing Director | Career guide

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How to be a Marketing Director | Career guide

Over the past few decades, the term “marketing” has grown to encompass many things. This is a significant change from the business world of the 1940s - 1980s when advertising was much more common. Back then, in fact, marketing was seen only through the lens of market research - a Marketing Director (if the position even existed) would have worn a white lab coat and lectured executives on survey data and customer demographics.

Naturally, things have changed - and today marketing means more than just finding the right customers - it's also about product-market fit, messaging, and, of course, testing, testing, testing. 

marketing director guide

Within most companies, the Marketing Director position (or Vice President of Marketing) is a top C-level role. Sometimes Marketing Directors report to a Chief Marketing Officer, others they are the highest position within the department - this depends largely on a company's size. Either way, Marketing Director is a prestigious and sought-after role that attracts a lot of attention.

If you’re interested in becoming a Marketing Director here’s some useful info that can help inform your decisions and hopefully clarify your path forward.

What is a Marketing Director?

A Marketing Director typically oversees the marketing strategy for a company or organization. They’re responsible for creating and executing marketing initiatives that will help reach business goals, from targeting potential customers to driving conversions.

To do this, Marketing Directors are responsible for understanding their target market, forecasting trends in marketing and consumer behavior, setting marketing objectives and budgets, overseeing marketing campaigns and departments, analyzing sales data to adjust strategies accordingly, managing teams of colleagues (e.g., marketing strategists), selecting vendors and partners as needed, connecting with customers on social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook, staying up-to-date on industry news, attending networking events to build relationships with other marketing professionals in the space – really anything related to

What does a Marketing Director do?

how a marketing director works

Typical duties of a Marketing Director include:

  • Create  marketing campaigns
  • Monitor marketing trends and develop strategies based on those findings
  • Analyze data to understand marketing performance
  • Set marketing objectives and budgets
  • Oversee marketing departments, teams, and vendors
  • Manage customer relationships on social media platforms
  • Analyze sales data for marketing campaigns
  • Stay up-to-date with industry news
  • Attend networking events to build relationships with professionals in the marketing space

Where do Marketing Directors work?

Marketing Directors exist in a variety of industries, from marketing and advertising firms to technology companies, retail stores, and non-profits.

Top companies hiring Marketing Directors

Work environment

Marketing Directors typically are included in or report to a company’s C-suite, such as the CEO or President. They may also report to marketing VPs and other marketing executives within their organization.

How to be a Marketing Director

To become a Marketing Director, most hiring managers will look for candidates who have a bachelor’s in marketing, advertising, business administration or any related field. Having prior experience as a marketing manager or marketing specialist may also be beneficial.

Marketing Director skills

In addition to having the right education, Marketing Directors need certain skills and qualities if they want to excel in their roles, including:

  • Analytical Skills – The ability to interpret data from marketing campaigns as well as consumer behavior is key for marketers who want to understand how their tactics are performing.
  • Leadership Qualities – Good Marketing Directors are able to effectively manage teams of people including colleagues and vendors, so leadership qualities like initiative and people management are important.
  • Problem-solving Skills – Marketing Directors need to be able to identify marketing challenges and develop creative solutions.
  • Communication Skills – Being able to effectively communicate marketing initiatives and strategies is essential for Marketing Directors who want to create successful campaigns.
  • Creativity – Coming up with new marketing ideas and campaigns requires Marketing Directors to think outside the box and be innovative.

How much does a Marketing Director make?

The average salary of a Marketing Director is around $105,000 per year, but this number varies widely depending on experience and industry. It’s often much higher.

Where to look for Marketing Director jobs

There are plenty of niche-specific job boards and websites where you can apply for Marketing Director jobs as well, of course, as all the usual places like ZipRecruiter,, etc.

Networking is also an important way to find Marketing Director positions – marketing professionals should attend industry events, join marketing-focused groups on LinkedIn, and reach out to marketing contacts they’ve made throughout their career. If you're involved in networking (in-person or otherwise) consider a  digital business card - it's a great way to organize your contacts, share information, and manage follow-ups

Famous Marketing Directors

Some of the most prominent Marketing Directors / heads-of-marketing you can look to for inspiration and advice include:

  • Marc Pritchard, marketing chief at Procter & Gamble
  • Beth Comstock, marketing chief at General Electric
  • Jeff Jones, marketing chief at Target
  • Lou Paskalis, marketing executive with Bank of America
  • Meg Whitman, Marketing Director and former CEO of eBay.


Some great resources for those interested in learning more in-depth about how to become a Marketing Director:

  • The Innovator’s Guide to Growth: Putting Disruptive Innovation to Work – by Scott D. Anthony
  • Thinking Like a Brand Manager – by Robert Jones
  • The Art of Client Service – by Robert Solomon
  • The Adweek Copywriting Handbook – by Joseph Sugarman
  • The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding – by Al Ries & Laura Ries
  • Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead – by Sheryl Sandberg
  • Marketing Management: A Strategic Decision-Making Approach – by John Mullins & Orville Walker.
  • The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals - by Chris McChesney

How to be a Marketing Director | Conclusion

how to be a marketing director

There you have it, everything you need to know about how to be a Marketing Director. With the right education, skills, resources, and, most important, intentions, you'll undoubtedly become the Marketing Director of your dreams...Good luck!


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