How To Become a Marketing Executive: A Step-By-Step Guide

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 20 July 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A marketing executive is responsible for overseeing an organisation's marketing strategies and activities. These professionals research the demand for their organisation's offerings, then develop and implement marketing campaigns aimed at boosting profitability. If you find this career interesting, learning more about the requirements for this upper-level management role can help you assess whether it's right for you. In this article, we explore marketing executives, their responsibilities and the required qualifications and skills needed to pursue this role.

What is a marketing executive?

A marketing executive is responsible for developing and implementing marketing strategies and campaigns to promote an organisation's products or services. This role includes various responsibilities, such as participating in public relations activities, organising events, developing products and pricing strategies and performing market research. These executives oversee teams of marketing professionals and can find jobs at small, medium or large organisations in many industries.

What does a marketing executive do?

Marketing executives' responsibilities can vary depending on their industry. However, some typical duties associated with this role include:

  • Using marketing techniques and strategies to create and build brand awareness for their organisation or clients

  • Overseeing marketing strategies that use various formats, including social media marketing, internet marketing, content marketing and paid advertising

  • Developing marketing plans for specific products or services

  • Preparing marketing objectives and tasks for marketing plans in collaboration with marketing staff and stakeholders

  • Performing market research and data analysis to identify and target audiences

  • Ensuring the efficient distribution of marketing materials to the target audience

  • Coordinating promotional events for organisations or their products and services

  • Conducting marketing analytics activities to assess campaign performance

What does it take to be a marketing executive?

Pursuing a career as a marketing executive has several requirements, including:

  • Education: a bachelor's degree often represents the minimum education requirement for marketing positions. After working in the industry for a few years, getting a master's degree can help specialise your skills and lead to more advanced opportunities.

  • Certifications: marketing executive positions don't have specific certification or license requirements. However, these professionals can pursue marketing and management certifications offered by industry associations to showcase their expertise in the field and differentiate themselves from other candidates.

  • Relevant experience: employers seeking candidates for this high-level leadership role expect them to have at least five years of professional experience in the marketing industry. Candidates can gain experience through internships, entry-level jobs and promotions as they develop their careers.

How to become a marketing executive

Marketing executives represent a high-level role within organisations. As a result, pursuing this career path can take years as you build your skills and experience in the field. You can use the following steps to learn how to become a marketing executive:

1. Pursue higher education

If you want to become a marketing executive, you can start by obtaining an undergraduate degree in a relevant field. You can pursue a bachelor's degree in marketing, business or economics, or combine two of these subjects as your major and minor. The coursework in your degree programme provides the knowledge and experience needed to begin a marketing career, such as developing marketing strategies and campaigns.

2. Gain relevant professional experience

As a student, you may gain marketing experience by applying for internships. These programmes enable you to practise real-world marketing skills and activities under the supervision of professionals. For example, you may gain practical experience in working with clients and developing marketing campaigns.

When applying for entry-level roles upon graduation, participation in internships shows potential employers that you have relevant skills and experiences. These qualifications can help differentiate you from other candidates and prove you can handle the job's typical responsibilities. Internships also offer networking benefits because you can meet other professionals in the field. Building a strong network of professional connections may help you find job opportunities and otherwise advance your career.

Related: The Best Times to Apply for an Internship (Plus Tips From a University Career Coach)

3. Apply for entry-level jobs

After graduation, you can seek job opportunities for entry-level marketing roles to develop the skills and experience needed to pursue the advanced role of a marketing executive. Some examples of entry-level marketing roles include:

  • Marketing assistant

  • Marketing specialist

  • Sales specialist

  • Purchasing agent

Employers have different requirements for marketing executive candidates, though some may seek individuals with at least five or six years working in the industry. While working in entry-level roles, seek opportunities to develop your skills and gain promotions. For example, you may start as a marketing assistant and eventually become a manager who oversees marketing teams. This professional growth can help prove you can manage more advanced responsibilities, like those associated with marketing executive jobs.

Related: Your Online Career Coach: Advanced Job Search Tips to Get the Job

4. Consider getting an advanced degree

While having significant professional experience can help you gain promotions toward a marketing executive career, some employers specifically seek candidates with advanced degrees. These degree programmes can help you develop specialised skills and prove your professional expertise. For example, a Master of Business Administration (MBA) can provide you with the management skills and knowledge needed to succeed in executive-level positions. Some MBA programmes allow you to take coursework focused on marketing skills and topics.

Related: Management Skills: Definitions and Examples

5. Seek professional certifications

Choosing to pursue certifications relevant to the marketing profession or industry may help differentiate you as a candidate. For example, you may join professional associations, such as Sales and Marketing Executives International, to gain career resources and participate in certification programmes. You can also research marketing executive job openings to understand whether employers prefer or require specific certifications. This effort can also prove your commitment to your career and interest in pursuing professional growth.

6. Become a marketing executive

The time to become a marketing executive can vary, but taking the previous steps can help you develop the necessary skills and experiences to achieve this goal. You can seek promotions at your current organisation or elsewhere to gain more advanced roles and responsibilities. Remember to use your professional network as a resource when seeking advancement opportunities. Understanding employers' expectations can help you stay focused and pursue certifications, training or other qualifications that can help you advance professionally.

Essential skills for marketing executives

Marketing executives require many skills to perform successfully, including a combination of hard and soft skills. Examples of relevant skills for marketing executives include:

Interpersonal skills

Marketing executives often lead a team of professionals responsible for developing and executing marketing strategies and campaigns. They may also interact directly with clients to discuss and monitor their marketing objectives. Interpersonal skills, such as active listening, empathy and teamwork, help these professionals communicate and collaborate with these various individuals effectively.

Analytical skills

Marketing executives often conduct field research related to the products or services they market. They may also need these skills to analyse the performance of a current marketing strategy based on various metrics. Other marketing executive tasks that require analytical skills include analysing demographics and consumer preferences, performing financial analyses and staying updated on industry trends.

Read more: Analytical Thinking: Definition, Examples and Tips

Communication skills

Communication represents an essential skill for marketing executives, as many of their responsibilities involve conveying messages to clients and consumers. They may use this skill for numerous purposes, such as creating copy for advertisements and marketing materials to developing social media posts and creating marketing plans and reports for stakeholders. Beyond knowing how to speak and write clearly, these professionals need to understand how to tailor messages based on the needs and interests of different audiences.

Technical skills

Marketing executives often use several forms of technology to perform their daily responsibilities. For example, these tools may include social media platforms, customer relationship management (CRM) software, project management software and data analysis software. Knowing how to use technology that's important in the marketing process can help marketing executives stay current with industry trends and increase overall productivity.

How long does it take to become a marketing executive?

As mentioned, becoming a marketing executive typically requires specific educational requirements. Getting your bachelor's degree typically takes four years, while a master's degree can take one-and-a-half to two years. Because this is an executive-level role, employers also typically seek candidates with at least five to 10 years of experience working in the marketing industry. They may particularly prefer candidates who've held management positions.

Is it hard to become a marketing executive?

The requirements for candidates applying for marketing executive roles can vary depending on the organisation. For example, larger corporations may prefer candidates with more years of experience or advanced degrees than small businesses. When pursuing this career, you can research job openings or reach out to your industry connections to gain a clearer understanding of employers' requirements and expectations. Learning this information can help you assess whether you have the right qualifications or need to gain more experience, skills or education to succeed and gain opportunities.

What is the average salary for marketing executives?

The average salary for a marketing executive in Hong Kong is $270,454 per year. This salary can vary depending on their years of experience, educational background, location and place of employment.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed. Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing.

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