Hot MBA Jobs: Marketing Director

Marketing Director

For that rare breed of extroverted interpersonal ninja who’s able to see the micro amidst the macro, take the temperature of any given cultural moment and articulate complex information to diverse audiences, you just might be a natural marketing director.

And the playing field looks promising for all you naturals out there: according to 2016-17 Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage is $123,450, with projected stable industry growth in digital media. But what does a career as a Marketing Director actually look like?

What is a Marketing Director?

In a nutshell, Marketing Directors coordinate and develop strategies that close the gap between customer needs and company bottom lines. They are often tasked with creating buzz about a product or service and then translating that buzz into actual sales. Marketing Directors examine each and every angle to determine who the product is for and how best to reach them while constantly assessing the image and reputation of the company. Those in the role also survey the industry landscape to find ways to fine-tune existing products and services or develop new ones for their company’s particular segment.

On a daily basis, Marketing Directors oversee budgets and deadlines, conduct and analyze market research, plan promotional campaigns, meet with clients, negotiate contracts, delegate responsibilities within their department and mastermind the hiring and direction of marketing staff. As for in-house Marketing Directors (as opposed to ones employed by an external agency), they can function as liaisons between management and people on the ground–sales team, art department, production/manufacturing, etc. This means that they must have a comprehensive understanding of how the entire company operates beyond the needs of their department.

Top Skills for a Marketing Director

The skill-set for a Marketing Director is as manifold as you might expect for a position that naturally intersects with so many different industry segments. It’s recommended that aspiring Marketing Directors possess or develop the following talents:

  • Data/Analytic Skills: MDs monitor and analyze market trends, study the competition, and use technology to understand consumer behavior.
  • Research and Strategy: MDs pinpoint and communicate with target markets, discover ways to enhance existing products and increase productivity
  • Management: In addition to managing a team or department and liaising with other parts of a company, MDs typically manage every stage of the product, from planning to production to results.
  • Media: MDs need to know how to effectively implement social media, as well as old-fashioned print journalism, to garner a competitive advantage for their product or service. Part of this skill-set is a fundamental understanding of how to spin a good yarn.
  • Sales: MDs need to stay on top of the buying process from “cold to close.” Always Be Closing, indeed.

Marketing Director and the MBA

While an MBA isn’t mandatory for the position, an MBA can also fast-track MDs to higher-level positions with higher salaries – anywhere between $7,000-$11,000. 2016 Kellogg marketing majors graduated with an average starting salary of $138,204; 2016 Harvard marketing majors with around $125,000 and 2016 Wharton product/brand marketing majors with a median salary of $105,000.

Best MBA Programs for a Career as a Marketing Director

Many MBA programs offer marketing concentrations but here are the top three schools that will give you the best bang for your buck, according to U.S. News:

#1 – Northwestern / Kellogg
Kellogg’s marketing path “provides students with the consumer behavior and marketing analytics tools needed to develop a rich depiction of the customer purchase journey.” Kellogg emphasizes strategic frameworks that “enable firms to apply these consumer insights when creating and responding to disruptions in the market place.” Kellogg marketing majors will be prepared to apply their knowledge in a “wide range of profit and nonprofit situations.”

#2 – Penn / Wharton
Wharton’s Marketing Major and joint Marketing and Operations Management major prepare students for any number of distinct management paths, including “consulting, entrepreneurial management, line management and entrepreneurship.” Wharton Marketing majors are trained to understand “markets, competitors and portfolios of product offerings.”

#3 – Harvard Business School
The HBS marketing concentration examines “branding, business marketing, global marketing, distribution channels, pricing, direct and interactive marketing, sales management and return on marketing investment” issues in an effort to better understand “how consumers use information and make choices and how these choices affect the firm’s strategy for new product development, customer relationship management, branding and other marketing efforts.” HBS faculty specialize in “retailing, agribusiness, social enterprise, media, arts and entertainment,” among other industries.

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About the Author

Jonathan Pfeffer

Jonathan Pfeffer joined the Clear Admit and MetroMBA teams in 2015 after spending several years as an arts/culture writer, editor, and radio producer. In addition to his role as contributing writer at MetroMBA and contributing editor at Clear Admit, he is co-founder and lead producer of the Clear Admit MBA Admissions Podcast. He holds a BA in Film/Video, Ethnomusicology, and Media Studies from Oberlin College.

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