What do you need to do to Become a Marketing Manager?

The following outtake, focused on breaking in to and thriving in the world of marketing, is taken from a recent exclusive recording of an MMC Moments of Truth discussion between Stephanie Leigh-Rose, education and media director at MMC Learning and Malcom Johnston, who is who is a consultant providing strategic support and coaching to businesses having become a leader in customer-centric growth through his years of experience of creating and running strategic marketing, sales, and management functions across multiple businesses.

In this extract, Stephanie and Malcom talk about how to go about becoming a marketing manager and what practical steps including skills and qualifications are required.

Watch the 8 min video below which will give you an amazing insight into the above question.

Stephanie Leigh Rose:

So our next question, what do you need to do to become a marketing manager?

Malcolm Johnston:

I have, of course, been in this position at one time, well before the days of the internet. The internet is quite a useful tool, in this regard.

Do you need a marketing qualification to become a marketing manager?

The route that I took to become a marketing manager was to do the post-grad diploma in marketing.

I would definitely suggest, because we are getting to the point where it has become an absolute standard requirement on any job description, to do a Chartered Institute of marketing diploma or one of the other recognised marketing institute qualifications that will help you.

Having decided to do that, I would say your next port of call is to go to your boss and your HR department, to see what they are going to do to help, to support you, to do that qualification and become a marketing manager.

Stephanie Leigh Rose:

Within the space you’re already in?

Malcolm Johnston:

Well, that’s the next thing, because if their answer is, you ain’t going nowhere, we’re not helping you, I think that pretty much tells you the writing is on the wall.

So I would like to think in this day and age, that your boss and certainly the HR department would be much more focused around helping to develop you but if they’re not, that tells you quite a lot about your company. Anyway, I think academic qualifications are very useful. Your desire to get an academic qualification, in itself, is useful because you’re signaling where you want to go to.

What experience do you need to become a marketing manager?

I think speaking to your boss and HR about your development, doesn’t just mean doing an academic qualification. One of the things that helps you to become a good marketing manager is to go and ask for succumbents to other parts of your organisation, if it’s a big organisation. Maybe even leave it, if required, to go and get some experience in other organisations, maybe as a salesperson or a channel person.

I was given some very good advice when I was a junior marketing exec, by my boss, which was, if you want to become a marketer, I’ll put you through the post-grad diploma in marketing, which they did. Then he said, “By the way, Malcolm, well done on getting your diploma. But in six months’ time, you’re not going to be here because this is not going anywhere. There is no role here. I will help you. You need to get some experiences as a salesperson to be a good marketer and I’m going to help you get that job,” which he did.

Stephanie Leigh Rose:

Oh, that’s incredible.

Malcolm Johnston:

Very selfless yes, ’cause I’d like to think I was a pretty good member of his team. But getting experience in that big, wide range of stuff that is called marketing, is useful.

If your expertise is in sales, you need to find a way of getting yourself into product management. If your expertise is in product management, you need to find a way of getting yourself into something in the promotional area. If you’re in the promotional area and so on and so forth.

People asking this question will know enough about marketing, to know it covers a lot of topics. A marketing manager is a mini marketing director and is therefore running, if you like, the seven P’s for an area. Those seven P’s, as we all know, include the product, the price, the place, the promotion, the people, the processes and the physical evidence. So, you need to find a way to get yourself some experience, some exposure to quite a broad number of those.

Stephanie Leigh Rose:

Become well versed.

Malcolm Johnston:

Exactly, become well versed in a few of those areas. You can become a marketing manager whilst only having done product management. Product management, frankly, is a mini way of covering a lot of those P’s, but you need to broaden your base of experience, beyond that relatively narrow part of the marketing spectrum that you’re looking at, at the moment.

I think also, it’s about, if you can, not just looking at your marketing capabilities, which a diploma in marketing will do, but also looking at your general skillset. Because the further up the tree you go, the less important your functional knowledge is and the more important your people skills will become.

What skills do you need to be a marketing manager? And how do you develop them?

Stephanie Leigh Rose:

I was just going to ask about that. What skills can one start developing, that will benefit them when they’re rising in leadership roles, becoming a marketing manager, climbing up that ladder? What skills would be best to start acquiring?

Malcolm Johnston:

Yeah, well I’ve mentioned the marketing diploma. I think there’s two elements here. There’s a reason it’s called a marketing manager, is because you manage. So, CMI qualifications is another way to look at it. Certainly, membership of the Chartered Management Institute, is important because of the resources that gives you online. The CMI website is really good at providing you with some incredible resources, to help you become a better manager.

Now, if you’ve come from, let’s say the more creative side of marketing, then one of the skills you are going to need to develop is numeracy. You’ve got to be good at understanding the stats. Depending on your background, that may be your forte, it may not. But there are going to be areas that you’re going to have to be knowledgeable about.

You will need to develop your managerial skills, which is about managing people. I’m hesitant to say leading people. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Learn to be a good manager and the processes and procedures that define a good manager, as well as becoming a good marketer, that’s what I would suggest.

I suppose, another thing I would say, pertaining to this is, we’ve talked about going to your boss and your HR people, to help you with going on a development programme but the CIM, and I think the CMI as well, also offer mentoring programmes. If you feel, for some reason, that your boss would not be a good mentor, some companies, bigger companies offer mentoring within the organisation.

Or, it could be non-official, a family friend or a relative, but someone who is going to help and support you emotionally, through this process and potentially guide you and help you.

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