Developing highly effective marketing campaigns. Brilliantly targeting ideal customers. Making it all happen on time and under budget. That's just a day in the career of a standout marketing director.
The best marketing departments have an experienced, knowledgeable director who understands the ins and outs of marketing strategy, analysis, campaign execution and staff management — all while keeping tight control over the bottom line.
What are marketing directors? Part analyst, part strategist, part manager, these pros create and implement strategies, tactics, campaigns and brand messaging. They may work in-house for a corporation or within an agency. Either way, they lead the charge for a marketing team and must bring a healthy mix of skill, management experience and initiative to the company.
Here's a look at the typical marketing director job description and salary projections.
Marketing director salary benchmarks
According to The Creative Group 2020 Salary Guide, the midpoint starting salary for marketing directors is $108,000. Use our Salary Calculator to find out what a marketing director can earn in your city.
Marketing director duties and expectations
Depending on industry focus and the company's needs, the role can vary quite a bit. In general, the director of marketing manages the marketing process from research and planning to execution and analysis. In most cases, the following job responsibilities can be expected:
- Participate in the development of branding and corporate identity initiatives
- Develop and implement marketing plans, including promotional calendars and programs, new product introductions and other marketing projects
- Develop and manage marketing budgets
- Develop sales forecasting and product branding plans
- Establish and grow a target market share
- Monitor costs and budgets
- Conduct customer, brand and product research initiatives
- Offer expert advice to develop innovative advertising, public relations, social media and events
- Negotiate with media partners to guarantee advantageous contracts
- Work with new business development team and sales teams on brand initiatives
- Manage agency providers, consultants, freelancers and other suppliers, including contract negotiation and management
- Demonstrate excellent communication and interpersonal skills
- Supervise a marketing team, including hiring, training, workloads, schedules and deadlines
- May oversee the operation of a company’s website or email marketing program and provide analytics review
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Experience, skills and education
Experience is the most important requirement. The director of marketing generally has at least five to 10 years of applicable experience. Knowledge of finance, especially expense management and profit and loss statements, is desirable. Familiarity with the creative side of marketing and design is important. For some organizations, the job may require an MBA degree as well.
A director of marketing must be a pro at communication — whether it's for pitching new business or writing customer lifetime value reports. The ability to garner consensus from a large team is important and obtaining stakeholder buy-in on new, complex or challenging ideas is essential. Soft skills such as good attention to detail, versatility and leadership abilities also rank high on the list of desired qualities for a manager at this level.
The best marketing directors are able to work cooperatively and effectively with different personality types as well as other departments, vendors and clients. They can transition seamlessly among projects of varying scale, audience, format and distribution channel. Additionally, they know their own weaknesses and can work around these shortcomings through delegation, collaboration and excellent resource utilization.