How to Become a Marketing Director

Career Path Guide

Like many careers, there are many different paths you can take to become a marketing director. The best path however, is to have an education related to marketing, combined with a few years worth of progressive experience in the field. 


This work would involve developing and implementing budgets, developing and implementing marketing plans and strategies, overseeing subordinate staff, and keeping abreast with industry and economic trends.  


This field also offers diverse opportunities for advancement, great pay, the opportunity to make a lot of professional contacts, and the opportunity to use your critical thinking, project management and creative skills.


So, if becoming a marketing director sounds like it might suit you, then read on below; we’ll fill you in on the details, such as how you can get into this profession, how much you could earn, and of course, what you’d be doing once you get there.



Education and Experience Needed

To become a marketing director, you typically need a diploma or bachelor’s degree in marketing or a closely related field, combined with a few years of related work experience, including progressive management experience.


Some employers will accept work experience in place of formal education, provided you have an exceptional track record, whereas others may accept a graduate degree in place of formal experience. 


Success Tip: Ideally, you will have education and experience in marketing.





Example of a Career Path Progression

Although there are several routes you could take to become a marketing director, a traditional career path progression might look like the following:


Getting a degree or diploma in marketing, then getting a job as a marketing assistant… moving into a marketing coordinator role… moving into a marketing team lead role… becoming an account manager… becoming director of marketing, or sales and marketing. 



Who Employs Marketing Directors?

As a marketing director you could be employed by a marketing agency or consultancy, or you could work for the in-house marketing department of virtually any kind of businesses, non-profit, not-for-profit, or public sector organization. 





Is This Profession Right for You?

You should have the following attributes if you hope to become a marketing director:


• Creative and energetic personality 

• Leadership and decision making skills

• Tact, diplomacy and communications skills

• Strong management and motivational abilities 

• Organizational and task prioritization skills 

• The initiative to develop and maintain key industry relationships

• You can think in terms of integrated, interconnected systems, and how they affect each other

• You’re willing to work long and irregular hours if necessary

• You're willing to be accountable for the performance of marketing plans and subordinate staff



Career Advancement Possibilities 

If you display competence and dedication in your work, career advancement opportunities will open themselves up to you. Examples of career advancement opportunities in this field include (but aren’t limited to):


• An increase in earnings through higher salary, bonuses, or other forms of compensation

• Becoming a part owner of the firm/company/agency

• Moving into an executive leadership position

• Starting your own sales, marketing, advertising or management consulting firm


Success Tip: Having post-secondary education in marketing or a related field can be of great value in advancing your career.





Details of the Career: General Job Description

As a marketing director, you would be in charge of the marketing strategies and efforts of your company, firm, agency or client.


Your ultimate goal would be to discover which market segment you should focus their marketing efforts on, and how to best showcase those products or services to that segment.



General Job Duties

Although your specific duties could vary from job to job, you would generally be responsible for the following:


• Conferring with senior management to discuss progress of efforts and raise potential concerns

• Traveling to conduct market research or attend meetings, trade shows and other events

• Estimating the demand for your company’s or client’s products or services

• Developing strategies for pricing of your company or client’s products or services

• Promoting your company or client’s products or services by working closely with marketing and advertising managers

• Liaising with research managers to assist with strategy development

• Keeping abreast with industry trends that may indicate a need for a product or service



Salary of Marketing Directors

The salary level you could earn as a marketing director can vary greatly, typically depending on the following factors:


• Your professional qualifications (levels of education, experience, etc.)

• The size and budget of your employer

• The region in which you work

• The scope of your job duties and functions

• The type of remuneration package you are offered (such as if you are entitled to bonuses, sales commissions or partial company/firm/agency ownership)


Marketing Director Salaries in Alberta: According to the 2019 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, the average salary level of Albertans working in the “Marketing Manager” occupational group is $92,749 per year.


Salaries - British Columbia: According to WorkBC (Province of British Columbia), those working in the “Advertising, marketing and public relations managers” occupational group earn an annual provincial median salary of $85,010.


Salaries - United States: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary level of Americans working in the “Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers” occupational group is $132,620 per year.


Salaries - United Kingdom: According to the National Careers Service, Senior Marketing Managers and Marketing Directors and can earn over £50,000 a year.



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Work Environment in this Career

Hours: As a marketing director, you'd likely work regular, weekday working hours. On occasion you might find yourself going in to work early, staying late, or going in on weekends in order to complete tasks and projects, or to attend meetings, conferences, trade shows, or other events.


Setting: You would be based out of an office, but would often travel to attend meetings, trade shows, etc., or to visit your company’s local, regional, national, and international offices, or branches.


Working Conditions: Depending on the size of your company/firm/agency, you would have subordinates that report to you, and whose work you would oversee. Your work would be very demanding and stressful because of the intense pressure to achieve company goals. But if you thrive in under these sorts of conditions, then no problem! 



Careers Similar to ‘Marketing Director’

Listed below are occupations in our database that have similar responsibilities, and/or require similar skills, or are in the same sector of industry, as Marketing Director:


• Advertising Manager

• Business Development Officer

• District Sales Manager

• Marketing Consultant

• Sales and Marketing Director

• Sales Representative



References for this Career Guide

The following resources were drawn from in the preparation of this How to Become a Marketing Director career guide:


Occupations in Alberta:Marketing Manager.” (March 31, 2018). ALIS website - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved January 1, 2020.

Explore Careers:Advertising, marketing and public relations managers.” (June 23, 2019). WorkBC website - Province of British Columbia. Retrieved March 4, 2020.

Management:Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers.” (September 4, 2019). Occupational Outlook Handbook - United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website. Retrieved January 1, 2020.

Salaries & Skills:Hot Job: Marketing Director.” (December 27, 2019). Robert Half website. Retrieved January 1, 2020.

Explore Careers:Marketing Managers.” (n.d.). National Careers Service website. Retrieved January 1, 2020.



Scholarships for Becoming a Marketing Director 

The Applicable Majors section below shows fields of study relevant to a career as a marketing director. You can search for scholarships matched to that/those fields of study on the following pages:


Marketing Scholarships

Organizational Leadership Scholarships


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Relevant University Majors

Studying one of the college/university majors listed below can be helpful (or necessary) for becoming a marketing director. Click on the links to find out what else you can do with these majors!


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