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Marketing, Advertising and Public Relations Manager Career and Job Information

Marketing, Advertising, and Public Relations Manager Career and Job Highlights

  • Competition for jobs is expected to be keen.
  • College graduates who have relevant experience, are highly creative, and have strong communication skills should have the best job opportunities.
  • Common job characteristics include high earnings, substantial travel, and long hours (including evenings and weekends).

Marketing, Advertising, and Public Relations Manager Career Overview and Job Desription

All firms seek to promote and sell their products and services profitably. In many small companies, the owner or chief executive officer must assume all responsibilities for sales, marketing, advertising, promotions, and public relations. Large firms have an executive vice president to direct these areas for the firm’s products and services, which they may offer nationally or internationally. They also employ managers in each of these areas to coordinate the many factors of marketing strategy, including market research; public relations activities; and product development, advertising, sales, promotion, and pricing.
Managers direct advertising and promotion staffs, which are rarely large, except in the biggest firms. Many small firms contract out their advertising and promotional functions, and the manager will frequently be the liaison between the firm and the advertising or promotion agency. Advertising managers in large firms supervise creative, in-house account, and media services departments. The account executive has three main roles: to manage the account services department, to evaluate advertising needs, and, in advertising agencies, to maintain clients’ accounts. The creative director oversees the copy chief, art director, and related staff, while the creative services department develops the topics and presentation of advertisements. The media director manages planning groups that choose how to publicize advertising, through radio, television, newspapers, magazines, Internet, outdoor signs, or other means.
Promotions managers, with the assistance from the promotion specialists they supervise, work to increase sales through programs that blend advertising and purchase incentives. These promotional programs aim to tighten contacts with purchaser (dealers, distributors, and consumers) through direct mail and telemarketing; television and radio commercials; catalogs and newspapers inserts; banners on Web sites; exhibits and special events; and in-store displays or product endorsements. Promotional departments may seek to entice customers through discounts, samples, free gifts, rebates, coupons, sweepstakes, and other incentives.

Marketing managers and their subordinates, who include product development and market research managers, develop detailed marketing strategies for a firm. In doing so, they analyze the demand for the firm’s products and services. They also identify competitors and potential markets such as businesses, retailers, wholesalers, government, and the general public. Marketing managers aim to maximize the firm’s market share and profits by developing effective pricing strategies, all while maintaining customer satisfaction. They also collaborate with managers in sales, product development, and other departments to monitor trends indicating a need to develop new products and services. They would then oversee appropriate product development. Marketing managers team up with various managers to attract consumers by promoting the firm’s products and services.

Public relations managers, who oversee public relations specialists, direct publicity programs. They tend to specialize in a particular field, such as crisis management, or industry, such as healthcare. In their efforts to target a specific audience, they use every communication medium available, because the organization’s success depends on this group’s continued support, be they consumers, stockholders, or the general public. In one possible scenario, public relations managers might explain or defend their firm’s position on environmental issues to a special interest group.

Public relations managers play a critical role in protecting and improving a firm’s image. They monitor social, economic, and political trends that could affect the firm, looking for ways to enhance the firm’s image based on such trends. They also look out for the interests of top management by evaluating advertising and promotion plans to verify compatibility with public relations efforts.

Public relations managers may meet with financial managers to draft company reports and with labor relations managers to write internal company communications, such as newsletters about employee-management relations. Public relations managers help company executives draft speeches, set up interviews, and maintain other types of public contact; they help organize company archives; and they respond to requests for information. Some are responsible for special events management—directing charity tournaments, organizing parties to unveil new products, and working on other events that can help indirectly promote the firm.

Sales managers lead sales programs for the firm. Their primary responsibilities include assigning sales areas, setting sales objectives, and helping sales representatives improve their performances through recommendations and training programs. Sales managers keep in regular contact with dealers and distributors, and in large, multi-product firms, they oversee regional and local sales managers and staffs. With their staff, they strive to maximize profits and identify potential product-development needs by gathering and analyzing sales statistics and other vital information, which they use to calculate sales potential and inventory requirements and to monitor customer preferences.

Employment Statistics for Marketing, Marketing and Public Relations Managers

In 2002, advertising, marketing, promotions, public relations, and sales managers held approximately 700,000 jobs. Distribution of jobs by specific occupation as shown below.

  • Sales managers – $343,000
  • Marketing managers – $203,000
  • Advertising and promotions managers – $85,000
  • Public relations managers – $69,000

These managers were employed in nearly all industries. Sales managers, who held almost half of the jobs, worked mostly in manufacturing, retail and wholesale trade, and finance and insurance. Over one-third of marketing managers worked in manufacturing or in scientific, professional, and technical services industries. Over one-third of advertising and promotions managers were also employed in scientific, professional, and technical services, as well as in publishing, advertising, and other information industries. The majority of public relations managers worked in services industries—insurance, educational, scientific, professional, and technical services, or in health care and social assistance services, for example.

Career Training and Job Qualifications

There is no fixed educational path for those interested in managerial jobs in sales, advertising, marketing, promotions, and public relations. Many employers prefer those who have a broad liberal arts background and relevant work experience. Requirements vary according to employer and specific position, but many will companies look favorably on a bachelor’s degree in a field like literature, journalism, sociology, psychology, or philosophy.
Employers will often prefer a bachelor’s or master’s degree in business administration for management positions in sales, marketing, and promotions. Also advantageous are a marketing emphasis and courses in accounting, finance, business law, economics, mathematics, and statistics. For highly technical fields, such as computer and electronics manufacturing, most employers prefer a bachelor’s degree in science or engineering combined with a master’s degree in business administration.

Employers may prefer a bachelor’s degree in journalism or advertising for positions in advertising management. Preparation for a career in this sector should include a solid foundation in sales and marketing, consumer behavior and market research, communication methods and technology, and visual arts.
Some employers require a bachelor’s or master’s degree in public relations or journalism for positions in public relations management. A competitive applicant will have studied advertising, business administration, political science, creative and technical writing, and public affairs and public speaking.
Successful completion of an internship and courses in management are highly valued as preparations for working in any of these management specialties. Computer skills are also vital for these positions. At a minimum, one should be familiar with word processing and database applications. Likewise, strong internet skills are imperative because use of the Internet is increasingly common for marketing and advertising. Foreign language skills—especially Spanish—may also be very useful for someone working in these fields, as markets with large Spanish-speaking populations are constantly developing around the country.

Advancement to management positions in advertising, marketing, promotions, public relations, and sales generally comes through promotion of experienced staff or related professional personnel. For example, many managers worked as sales representatives, purchasing agents, or product, advertising, and public relations specialists before being promoted. Large firms have more management positions, so there are more opportunities for promotion. Small firms have fewer management positions, so promotion to management may occur rather slowly.

Promotion reviews usually emphasize experience, ability, and leadership, but employees who participate in management training programs can improve their chances. Many large firms offer such programs in addition to offering continuing education opportunities, either in-house or at nearby colleges and universities, and these firms encourage their employees to participate in seminars and conferences, which are often put on by professional organizations. Outside training courses are also available from numerous marketing and related associations, who collaborate with colleges and universities to sponsor local and national management training programs. Among the course offerings of these programs are market research, brand and product management, international marketing, sales management evaluation, telemarketing and direct sales, interactive marketing, promotion, marketing communication, organizational communication, and data processing systems procedures and management. Many companies will pay some or all of the costs for employees who successfully such courses.

Certification programs, offered by some firms, can give these managers an important professional qualification. Certification is a sign of competence and achievement in one’s field and can be especially valuable in a competitive job market. At the moment, certification is relatively rare for advertising, sales, marketing, promotions, and public relations managers, but an increasing number of managers are expected to enroll in certification programs. Options for certification vary. One group, Sales and Marketing Executives International, allows managers to certify based on education and job performance. Another, the Public Relations Society of America, allows public relations practitioners to certify based on job experience and successful completion of an examination.

Those seeking to become advertising, marketing, promotions, public relations, and sales managers need to possess certain characteristics and abilities. They should be mature, creative, decisive, flexible, highly motivated, and resilient under stress. Solid interpersonal skills are vital. These managers need tact, good judgment, and an outstanding ability to create and maintain effective personal relationships with supervisory and professional staff members and client firms, and they should be able to communicate persuasively, both orally and in writing, with other managers, staff, and the public.

Many advertising, marketing, promotions, public relations, and sales managers are able to move up through the ranks because of the importance and high visibility of their jobs. In fact, they can move up to high positions within a firm—even becoming top executives. Promotion for successful or experienced managers may come from within their own firm or from outside firms. Another option for managers with broad experience and sufficient capital is to form their own business.

Job Outlook and Employment Opportunities for Marketing, Advertising and PR Managers

Competition for jobs as advertising, marketing, promotions, public relations, and sales managers is keen. These positions are highly coveted and will be actively pursued by other managers and many highly experienced professionals. Job opportunities are most open to college graduates who have related experience, a high degree of creativity, and solid communication skills. Employers are particularly interested in people with the computer skills necessary to use the Internet for advertising, marketing, promotions, public relations, and sales activities.

Stimulated by the intense domestic and international competition in products and services available to consumers, employment of advertising, marketing, promotions, public relations, and sales managers through 2012 should grow faster than the average for all occupations. Projected employment growth does, however, vary by industry. In some fields, including scientific, professional, and related services (computer systems design, advertising, etc.), employment rates are projected to greatly exceed the average rates because businesses increasingly avoid hiring additional full-time staff in favor of hiring contractors for these services. In contrast, many manufacturing industries are expected to experience little or no change in employment.

Historical Earnings Information

In 2002, median annual earnings for advertising and promotions managers were $57,130, $60,640 for public relations managers, $75,040 for sales managers, and $78,250 for marketing managers. For advertising and promotions managers in the advertising and related services industry, median annual earnings were $72,630. The range of earnings went from below $30,310 for the lowest 10 percent of advertising and promotions managers to over $145,600 for the highest 10 percent of marketing and sales managers.

The table below shows the median annual earnings for the industries that employed the most marketing managers in 2002:

  • Computer systems design and related services – $96,440
  • Management of companies and enterprises – $90,750
  • Depository credit intermediation – $65,960

The following table shows the median annual earnings for the industries that employed the most sales managers in 2002:

  • Computer systems design and related services – $102,520
  • Automobile dealers – $91,350
  • Management of companies and enterprises – $87,800
  • Insurance carriers – $80,540
  • Traveler accommodation – $44,560

For public relations managers employed by colleges, universities, and professional schools in 2002, median annual earnings were $55,510.
According to a National Association of Colleges and Employers survey, the average starting salary for marketing majors graduating in 2003 was $34,038, and for advertising majors it was $29,495.

Many factors contribute to the levels of salary variation: level of managerial responsibility, length of service, education, firm size, location, and industry all figure in. These managers generally earn higher salaries in manufacturing firms, for example, than in non-manufacturing firms. For sales managers, however, the size of their sales territory is an important determinant of salary. Bonuses can add significantly to a manager’s regular yearly earnings: many firms award their managers bonuses that equal 10 percent (sometimes more) of their salaries.