The term marketing once simply referred to a business transaction in a market. Now, hundreds of years later, the concept of marketing is far greater in scope, describing the development of a host of strategies to attract customers through products and messages.
The evolution of marketing continues, thanks to changes such as advances in technology and the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. These changes have elevated the role of marketing as a driver of customer satisfaction during challenging times.
Marketing communication is a subset of marketing that uses promotional campaigns to advance marketing messaging, and it’s constantly changing too. Marketing communication professionals are always adapting to new web platforms and global business trends.
Marketing communication managers oversee and develop ever-changing marketing strategies, making it important that their education and training equip them to meet the demands of this competitive and evolving field.
Marketing and Communications Management Positions
Management roles in marketing communication call for overseeing work that promotes brand awareness, encourages sales, and ensures customer satisfaction. Marketing begins with developing ideas for products and services, and continues through purchase and customer retention. The work of marketing communication managers combines the customer-centric emphasis of marketing with the broader focus of communications responsibilities.
Marketing and communications are critical to a company’s efforts to reach audiences and promote its products and build its reputation.
Marketing and Communications: Similarities and Differences
Both marketing and communications target current and potential customers to encourage them to purchase specific products and services. However, communications can go beyond this focus on customers to also convey corporate messaging to other groups that can affect marketing efforts. Employees, neighboring businesses and government officials are examples of other groups that can be the focus of communications efforts.
What Is Marketing?
Marketing is part of an overall business plan, comprising every step in moving a product or service from a business to the consumer. Its main focus is getting consumers’ attention, and then persuading them to take action and purchase a particular product or service. For nonprofit organizations, the focus of marketing often is donors, encouraging them to contribute to the nonprofit’s cause.
Marketing uses tools such as:
- Analyzing sales competition
- Forecasting sales volume
- Researching the market
How Do Communications Relate to Marketing?
Another marketing tool is communications, which works to influence consumers to purchase a product or service. These efforts rely on specific messaging as well as storytelling to highlight the benefits of a company’s offerings. Marketing and communications should be strategic, using the best method for making an impact with each audience as determined through customer interviews and surveys.
A few communications vehicles are:
- Social media
- Media outlets
- Website content
Marketing Communication: Combining Two Focuses
Marketing communication combines messaging aimed at attracting customers — or donors, in the case of nonprofit organizations — with the content that delivers that information. Communication to promote marketing efforts often includes visuals such as photos, infographics or videos along with text that drives home targeted messaging.
Marketing Communication Manager Job Description
The typical marketing communication manager job description includes supervising marketing teams and collaborating with other managers and sales, public relations and product development staff. The work helps ensure that marketing and its messaging are in line with corporate goals.
The role focuses on attracting and maintaining a customer base by developing and implementing strategies to convey product and service value. Effective marketing requires a keen understanding of a brand’s customer demographics and target audience — and the latest trends for reaching that audience.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) describes skills that can help managers in marketing communication fulfill the responsibilities of the role. They include the following:
Careful analysis of consumer and industry trends is a requirement of marketing communication management. This analysis helps these professionals determine what strategies are likely to be most effective for their company and the product or service they’re promoting.
Marketing communication managers should have the ability to communicate well — on projects ranging from product development to promotions — throughout the many phases of the marketing process. They should also have a knack for persuasive communication.
As individuals responsible for imaginative marketing campaigns, marketing communication leaders must generate a wide variety of new ideas. They need creativity to plan and implement approaches that draw the attention of customers.
Leadership in marketing communication requires working with people in various roles, internally and externally. The role calls for guiding and partnering with professionals in projects related to sales and public relations, for example, as well as working with individuals outside the organization to promote the brand.
A marketing communication manager job description typically includes tasks that require decision-making skills. Professionals in this role often must select from various marketing strategies to determine the most effective approach for each campaign.
The role requires strong organizational skills to perform a manager’s own tasks as well as the work of others. Marketing communication managers not only develop and lead marketing communication campaigns but also supervise a team and its many projects.
How to Become a Marketing Communication Manager
Three main steps can lead to establishing — and excelling in — a career as a marketing communication leader.
1. Earn a Bachelor’s Degree
Most marketing communication managers have at least a bachelor’s degree in a field such as communication, marketing or journalism. Courses that focus on the following topics can help prepare students for this career:
- Consumer behavior
- Communication research
- Communication methods
- Market research
- Visual arts
2. Gain Professional Experience
The next step in how to become a marketing communication manager is to gain real-world work experience. An internship can give students experience that helps prepare them for marketing communication jobs following graduation. After earning their degrees, individuals generally start out in entry-level positions like marketing coordinator or account executive in places such as:
- Advertising agencies
- Marketing organizations
- Public relations firms
- In-house marketing or sales departments
Experience in related fields, such as public relations or sales, can also be an asset to those seeking management roles in marketing communication.
3. Develop Advanced Skills
Professionals who want to stand out in the competitive field of marketing communication often pursue master’s degrees and certifications. Zippia recommends postgraduate education for marketing communication manager job candidates. A master’s degree such as a Master of Communication Management can provide training in leadership and analysis to help propel a marketing communication career.
Certifications can also show employers that a marketing communication manager candidate has the skill set required to be a high-performing employee. Professionals in this role can earn a Professional Certified Marketer (PCM) designation as well as certifications in areas such as project management, Google analytics and social media marketing.
Marketing Communication Manager Resources
Various resources can assist those interested in pursuing a career as a marketing communication manager, providing career advice and tools as well as information about the role:
- American Marketing Association, Marketing Career Resources — The AMA provides career advice and covers trends in the marketing field. The site also offers information about AMA’s Professional Certified Marketer (PCM) in marketing management certification — the most common certification among marketing communication managers, according to Zippia.
- CareerExplorer, How to Become a Marketing Manager — CareerExplorer outlines ways to determine if a career in marketing management is a good fit, examining what people in these roles do, whether they’re satisfied with their jobs and what personality traits they have. The site outlines steps for pursuing the role.
“Marketing’s Evolution: A Look at the Jobs and Training Skills in Highest Demand” — LinkedIn offers a page that shows which marketing roles are experiencing the greatest growth and the in-demand skills for those jobs.
- ZipRecruiter, How to Become a Communications Manager — This ZipRecruiter page describes what communication managers do, links to a sample job description and offers tips for pursuing the career.
Marketing Communication Manager Salary
Marketing communication manager salary figures show that the position pays well above the national average for all careers. Expertise in certain skills and marketing communication tools can enhance the salary and advancement opportunities.
Salaries for Marketing Leaders
BLS data indicates that the median annual salary for marketing managers was $142,170 as of May 2020, with the top 10% of earners receiving annual pay of more than $208,000. The highest median salary went to marketing managers in professional, scientific and technical services and to those in finance and insurance. For marketing communication managers, PayScale listed a median annual salary of approximately $67,000 as of October 2021, with the top 10% of earners making nearly $100,000 plus income from bonuses, profit sharing and commissions.
PayScale reported that marketing communication managers in a dozen metropolitan areas had median annual salaries that were at least 25% above the national average for the position in September 2021. The areas were:
- Arlington, Va.
- Boulder, Colo.
- Lansdale, Pa.
- McLean, Va.
- Newport Beach, Calif.
- Palo Alto, Calif.
- Pleasanton, Calif.
- Princeton, N.J.
- Raleigh-Durham, N.C.
- San Francisco, Calif.
- San Jose, Calif.
- Virginia Beach, Va.
Skills for Advancement
Some key task-related knowledge and skills can help marketing communication managers to not only perform their jobs better but also be well positioned for more
pay and advancement opportunities. The following are among those skills that can bolster marketing communication manager salaries:
- Campaign planning
- Marketing strategy
- Budget development
- Marketing automation
- Public relations
- Social media management
Additionally, the ability to use certain marketing tools can help marketing communication leaders find jobs and earn more money. Experience using platforms such as Adobe Creative Suite, WordPress and Mailchimp, for example, are helpful
to job seekers.
Marketing Communications Job Outlook
The outlook for marketing communications includes projections for strong job growth and a host of changes to the field.
Expectations for Growth
The marketing communications job outlook is positive, with the BLS projecting 10% growth in jobs for marketing managers between 2020 and 2030. This anticipated growth is favorable compared with the 8% projected increase for jobs overall.
The BLS predicts that companies will increasingly call on marketing managers’ expertise in expanding market share and reaching potential customers.
Trends in the Industry
Other factors, including those related to technology and the COVID-19 pandemic, are guiding the marketing communications job outlook and trends for the future. The following are among the changes driving the marketing field:
Expansion of E-Commerce
The elevated reliance on e-commerce during the COVID-19 pandemic has led consumers to expect online options in all facets of the customer experience. Effective marketing should include an emphasis on digital outreach to accommodate this customer expectation, while also embracing hybrid approaches that allow for in-person interaction when possible.
Commitment to Social Issues
The social upheaval of 2020 bolstered consumers’ commitment to brands that espouse the values they support. The EY Future Consumer Index in 2021 showed that 43% of consumers wanted to buy products that were in line with their beliefs, even if they cost more. To successfully reach their target audiences, brands will need to promote their social stances, perhaps by partnering with nonprofit organizations.
Presence on Social Media
The use of posts and paid ads on social media continues to grow in popularity. Marketing communication is relying on social media outlets as a forum for influencers and brand advocates and for the growing use of videos. By 2020, HubSpot reports, video had become the most commonly used format in marketing communication. Meanwhile, influencer marketing business was expected to grow to $15 billion by 2022, according to a Business Insider report.
Use of Personalization
Consumers increasingly expect that products and services will offer them what they want, when they want it. Technological tools like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning can help marketers determine customers’ specific needs, and then personalize communication to meet those needs. Marketers develop content for multiple audience segments and tailor their messaging to each targeted group.
Emphasis on the Customer Journey
Elevated consumer expectations are also leading marketers to expand their focus on the entire customer experience, with an integrated process from sales to service that’s seamless to buyers. The experience should include a transparent and secure method for gathering consumer data to maintain customer trust.
Need for Agile Marketing
The rapidly changing global landscape during the pandemic called for the ability to quickly pivot to accommodate those changes. Automation can assist marketers in research and outreach even as companies often are doing more with less.
Marketing and Communications: An Important and Evolving Field
Marketing communication managers play a critical role in promoting products and services, attracting customers, and building companies’ reputations — and their work has added prominence in a time of shifting consumer priorities and technological advances.
The career offers a strong job outlook as well as a median salary that outpaces the average pay, making it a great option for anyone with an interest in data analysis, communication and leading a marketing team.
Forbes, “15 Top Marketing Trends to Keep an Eye on in 2021”
HubSpot, “The Ultimate Guide to Marketing Trends in 2021”
PayScale, Average Marketing Communications Manager Salary
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers