How to become a Marketing Director: ways to achieve success

We provide an answer to the question: How to become a marketing director or How to become a sales director?

We will talk about how the role of a marketing director entails that of a digital marketing director, the salary, the possibility of advancing in terms of time and sectors, and the skills required to reach the pinnacle, whether you are a worker or a student.

First and foremost, let’s define what a marketing director does and what the most suitable educational path you should take to become a marketing director:

  • They are a strategist, someone who understands the needs of their clients and the companies they work with to develop and promote products and services tailored to their demands, at the most appropriate price in the reference market.
  • Defines market strategies to increase company profits.
  • Must acquire skills in a digital marketing course (do you agree?).

Becoming a Marketing Director

What are the main reasons why you should consider the position of marketing director:

  1. Stay updated on the latest technologies: becoming a marketing director also means being in the digital world, knowing every branch and every innovative idea, such as machine learning and artificial intelligence.
  2. Increase creativity and problem-solving skills: you are constantly challenged to innovate and renew products and services to make them cutting-edge before competitors.
  3. Know your company’s strengths and market trends: through both research and analysis work and social channels, you will be able to identify trends in your sector and bring winning ideas in favor of your company’s strategy.
  4. Well-paid sector with hiring opportunities.

Why do you need to know digital to become a Marketing Director?

Without beating around the bush, you need to know digital because:

  • It is the technology that allows us to put together a strategy.
  • It’s where your customers spend most of their time.
  • It’s the systems where you and your employees work.

If you don’t know digital platforms and tools, how do you reach your customers? Can you understand where you lack and where you have competitive advantages?

How do you choose where to advertise if you don’t know your audience online? How do you solve the problems your employees encounter in your management system or in implementing your strategies?

Not knowing technology means not being able to answer all these questions.

It’s clear that to become a marketing director, you need to focus on innovation and professional knowledge; the more you know, the more you can achieve personal success.

Today’s marketing is no longer just about analyzing a few pieces of data and creating a promotional campaign.

Now it’s about analyzing tons of data in the shortest time possible to move on all fronts: social media, website, email marketing, banners, and even traditional channels; to always be ready for action, technology must be our best ally.   


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Understanding technologies

In the era where the digital state is flourishing, we know that more than half of the population is online, and about 22% make ecommerce purchases, with a growing trend.

If you aspire to become a marketing director, you cannot remain oblivious to these changes, nor can you lag behind. Compared to past years, marketing has become a precise and measurable science in terms of both ROI and visibility.

marketing director skills

Think about a few years ago: you planned an advertising campaign, broadcasted it on radio, and television, or displayed it on billboards, and then hoped it would be seen by your target audience.

But did you know exactly what your return on investment was? How many people have seen your ad? And most importantly, who were the people buying your product? The answer is NO.

Now, thanks to technology, you know exactly where your advertising investment generates profits: on which channel, from which target audience, and which channel they prefer to use to view your offers and make purchases.

Transitioning to digital will allow you to manage your budget effectively and leverage the ROI obtained to reinvest it in your real online audience.

Dedicate time to understanding the underlying mechanisms of different technologies, so you can approach technicians in a familiar manner.  (For example: do you know what goes into creating the app you desire for your company?)

Depending on your level of knowledge, you might consider taking some digital marketing courses for updates or following influencers in the digital world.

Innovate and understand your business

To achieve a winning strategy, a marketing director must always be well aware of the context in which they work: they must understand it.

Understanding your business means knowing as much about the product or service as everything else: the warehouse, suppliers, technology, and packaging.

No department can afford to work in isolation but must be a team that functions like the gears inside a clock.

Never forget to talk to all employees from every department, and be interested in their role because it will give you an insight, beyond statistics, into how things are going.

Treasure their suggestions and use their advice to innovate your business. Innovating the business means merging data, suggestions, and customer opinions into a single process that leads to improving company profits.

Not so simple, right? However, this is what a digital marketing manager does. Viewing things from the right perspective will give the manager the crucial ability to coordinate knowledge and creativity to achieve the best customer experience.


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Focus on customer experience

Customer experience can be defined as the perception the customer has regarding the company; it consists of every instance the customer comes into contact with you.

The marketing director has the responsibility to enhance the customer’s experience. In comparison to the past, marketing has shifted its focus from the product to the customer.

Becoming a marketing director implies having a customer-centric vision, meaning organizing all business processes in a way that the focus is on the customer.

In this perspective, the manager must think in a way that:

  • Improves customer perception.
  • Customer experiences serve as the basis for an analysis of your business, a sort of SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats).

To enhance customer experience, the digital marketing manager must act as the voice of the customer within the company.

Through various profiling methods, the technologies at our disposal, and feedback, we can precisely understand what each customer wants from our company. You, as a manager, are tasked with addressing the gaps your customers find.

For a marketing director, if the problems are explicit, it’s easier to fix the situation. But what if the customer doesn’t tell you what’s not working?

Tools like Hotjar come to your aid, allowing you to analyze your audience’s entire journey and understand their implicit communication.

It can start with Hotjar, Adwords, or Analytics. However, an audience analysis must be constantly updated, and the marketing director must be able to understand the data even without technical assistance.

Not because you don’t trust your team, but because there’s so much information in analytics that it’s impossible to include all possible reports.

It’s essential to know how to navigate to find the data you need or just look at the same graphs from a different perspective.

IN SUMMARY: Intervening in customer experience is crucial to devising a winning strategy: know the touchpoints with your audience, analyze it, use reports to cluster their behaviors, utilize available technologies, and make them satisfied.

Advertising ChannelsTraditional (TV, radio, billboards, flyers)
  • Digital (websites, Google, Facebook, social media, email, Adwords, affiliation)
  • Traditional
Advertising Message
  • Standard
  • Non-customizable display

Customizable concerning the target for:

  • Content
  • Graphics
  • Delivery across various channels
Advertising Campaigns
  • Product-centric (based on the product)
  • Long to plan
  • Spontaneous concerning daily events
  • Customer-centric: based on the feeling the product gives to the customer
  • Sleek and fast planning
  • RTM: Real-Time Marketing: based on daily events
  • Not precisely measurable
  • It’s unclear from which channel the profit comes (so where should I invest next time?)
  • Measurable through analysis tools (e.g., analytics)
  • Know which campaign on which channel generates profits and therefore know where to reinvest

Marketing career: timelines, sectors, and compensation

To build a career and become a marketing manager, is estimated to take about 4 to 6 years; in rare cases, this timeline can be reduced to 2 years with our course.

This timeframe is reasonable considering the employee needs to gain the necessary experience to understand the company’s processes and take on the responsibilities that will be assigned.

In other cases, similar timelines are needed for a worker to cover various positions in different companies.

Regardless of the situation, the position of marketing director, being comparable to executive roles in terms of responsibility and salary, is not granted without the candidate having the necessary experience.

Moreover, this position must be handled by someone who isn’t afraid of stress and challenges, as during deadlines or, worse, when the company is facing a downturn, the manager needs to maintain composure and complete tasks punctually and professionally.

The marketing director position entails having experience in multinational companies and developing knowledge of market dynamics where operations occur by channel and product type.

Due to this maturity, one will be included in the board of directors and become an ambassador for brand reputation and market share.

The main responsibilities include:

  • Working with the Management Board, reporting to the Board of Directors, and various teams to:
    • Define the marketing strategy
    • Specify the media strategy
    • Achieve market share and profitability objectives
    • Motivate the marketing team and ensure their training and updates

Every company offering a product or service needs a digital marketing manager to channel its customers’ needs into profitable revenue.

Thus, there is no specificity in the marketing director position, but it is particularly sought after by companies in the professional, scientific, technical, manufacturing, insurance, and financial sectors.

Depending on the company’s structure, there might be one or two positions at the helm of marketing: marketing director or marketing manager.

Often these roles overlap, but if you aim for multinational corporations, be aware that there are differences both in responsibilities and salaries.

According to the Sales & Marketing report provided by Michael Page, these are the estimated compensations for the marketing director position.

With a base experience of 10/15 years, a marketing director has a gross annual salary (GAS) ranging from $90,000 to $120,000; with 15 to 20 years of experience, the compensation starts from $120,000 to $150,000; beyond 20 years of experience, the salary starts and surpasses $150,000.


how to become a marketing director without degree

Good news also comes from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, which states:

“Employment of management occupations is projected to grow 8 percent from 2016 to 2026, about as fast as the average for all occupations, which will result in about 807,300 new jobs. The rise in employment is anticipated due to the establishment of new businesses and the expansion of existing ones, leading to an increased demand for workers to oversee these activities.

This means that for the decade from 2016 to 2026, there is an 8% employment growth in the Management field, resulting in the creation of 807,300 new jobs.

It also adds that the expected growth will come through the creation of new companies and the expansion of existing ones, which will require more workers capable of taking on management positions, including that of a marketing director.

How to become a Marketing Director?

We are talking about a complete figure who, due to the complexity of their role, must be able to interact with both various company roles and the Management Board.

For this reason, a versatile set of skills is required, including work experience, creativity, and analytical ability.

The Marketing Director is someone who has invested more time in their education, acquiring greater skills, and then enjoying a prominent and well-paying position.

Now, let’s start with who you are right now: are you a student, employed, or unemployed?

From unemployed to Marketing Director

Dear unemployed or jobless individuals, based on your work and/or educational background, I invite you to follow the advice for employees or students below.

If you are looking for your first job, check the section “From Student to Marketing Director”.

If you already have work experience, you can refer to the section “From Employee to Marketing Director” under the heading “Starting a new career”.

From student to Marketing Director

Hello student, I don’t know if you are still in high school or attending university. In any case, if you already have a clear idea of who you want to become, customize your study path to optimize your time and gain the right experiences to build your career.

  1. Having an edge over other candidates is crucial, and to achieve it, you need to start gaining field experience: find internships and preferably change roles to enter company dynamics. Working in different sectors broadens your mind and allows you to understand how a company operates. The interaction with various areas and dynamics will enable you to understand which strategies can work. So, go ahead with internships and don’t just stick to the standard tasks you will be asked to do: be curious, proactive, and ask lots of questions.
  2. Choose a degree path in Economics, Communication Sciences, Advertising, or Finance. All these courses will allow you to develop either analytical market analysis skills or organizational and product management capabilities. If your course is more analytical, try to complement it by taking advantage of university courses and initiatives that teach you how to communicate with the public and manage consumer behaviors. Conversely, if your course is more humanistic, use your university period to study marketing and statistics. Whatever your faculty is, remember that in the future, you will need to work in teams, so it’s good to familiarize yourself with these dynamics. If you have the opportunity, choose a university or elective course that allows you to do more group work.
  3. Consider a POST-GRADUATE PROGRAM in the marketing field, perhaps one that already includes an internship. Just like choosing your university course, always consider variables: acquired experiences and group work.
  4. Sign up on LinkedIn or join a professional association in the field. This will help you expand your network and make your entry into the job market smoother. Also, use LinkedIn and other websites to find internships and enhance your skills.
  5. Check the job offers to align your experiences with what recruiters are looking for.

From employee to Marketing Director

Dear worker, if you are here, it’s because you either want to be qualified as a professional or because you are about to start a career in the world of marketing and digital from scratch.

How to become a marketing director if you are already in the workforce can be complex, especially if you are pursuing non-related careers. You need to be willing to take risks and invest extra time outside of work hours for your education.

Let’s differentiate between those who are already in the field of marketing and digital (requalifying) and those who are in other professions (starting anew).

Starting a new career

  1. Starting from the bottom to reach the position of marketing director, you gradually climb the ladder, shaping yourself through your work experience and taking on different roles.
  2. Consider getting training and work experience while keeping your current job. Many schools offer programs to enter the digital world during extra working hours having experiences and skills will make you a more appealing candidate in the eyes of recruiters.
  3. Join LinkedIn or professional associations in the field to expand your network.
  4. Check the job offers to align your experiences with what recruiters are looking for.
  5. Review your resume before sending your CV, and make sure it highlights your strengths. Don’t forget to include the tools and platforms you can use and emphasize your past experiences. Use Word or online tools that allow you to customize your infographic resume (e.g., DoYouBuzz). Remember to save it as a PDF before sending it.
  6. Apply for entry-level positions and also apply for all those jobs that others overlook you will be given responsibilities, and it will allow you to stand out.
  7. To advance in your company, don’t fear discussing with your supervisors and, in due time, talk to them about a possible promotion.

Requalifying in digital

You are already at an advantage; you have a wealth of experiences that, in most cases, can allow you to apply for any other position in the digital field.

If you find yourself in this situation, you just need to update your resume and highlight why you could be the right candidate for a marketing director position.

If you realize that despite your digital knowledge, you have too few experiences to aim for the position of marketing director, you can act as follows:

  • Check the job offers to align your experiences with what recruiters are looking for.
  • Apply for a more modest position like digital marketing specialist, digital product specialist, etc., and aim to progress in that company.
  • Gain experience in other areas of digital during extra working hours.

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