Becoming a Project Manager

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The marketing project manager oversees the promotion of products and services their client offers.  This important management professional usually is not a part of senior management but works closely with them to develop, design and implement marketing strategies and initiatives.

Tasked with raising consumer awareness of their client’s business, goods or services, a marketing project manager must be adept at conducting market research, anticipating future market conditions, utilizing the latest technologies and marketing methodologies and liaising between the client and marketing personnel.

Marketing project managers are most often charged with developing comprehensive marketing programs for a client. These marketing programs may involve some or all of the following areas of traditional marketing:

  • Television and radio–Production of commercials, product placement deals and brand promotion are important to television and radio marketing campaigns. Research is an essential part of high cost marketing ventures like radio and TV, where accurate consumer targeting ensures a fair return on investment.
  • Print–Newspapers and magazines are a significantly smaller portion of most marketing budgets but may be important for some consumer groups like rural populations or the elderly.
  • Direct mail–The migration of most businesses to email marketing campaigns has greatly diminished the importance of this type of marketing.
  • Telemarketing–The automation of many telemarketing campaigns has made this a cost-effective strategy for many businesses. 

The growing predominance of the Internet has made online marketing strategies more central to a marketing campaign.

  • Email–This form of marketing still has enormous response success, although the implementation of spamming laws has curtailed some email marketing techniques.
  • Search Engine Optimization–The promotion of an online business site through escalation of its ranking on a search engine results page is one of the most popular means of marketing online.
  • Social media–This cost-effective marketing strategy enhances brand recognition and customer relations through a strong presence on popular social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.
  • Content marketing–The propagation of a brand through effective backlinking via content inclusion on other websites has gained in importance as search engines grant more weight to quality inbound links.

Marketing project managers must be adept at generating and implementing many or all of these types of marketing campaigns.

Marketing project managers oversee one or more teams of professionals and must possess strong leadership and communication skills. The ability to coordinate multiple individuals and their projects requires highly developed analytical and problem solving abilities.  Many of these managerial professionals must often recruit and train new personnel, so they must function as educators and personnel screeners.

The most important function marketing project managers perform is to interface with clients and executive management.  As the point of contact for many projects, marketing project managers must effectively communicate the key points of a marketing strategy, produce analytical data showing return on investment and adjust client expectations to meet realistic results.  In a similar fashion, marketing project managers must report to the senior management the progress of a project, the budgetary and scheduling considerations of a project and provide counsel on how to produce positive project outcomes.

Education

Requirements for a marketing project manager usually include at least a Bachelor’s degree and two to five years of similar work experience.  Although some positions in the marketing managerial field may be acquired through an impressive work history, this is usually reserved for marketing disciplines that have been born of recent technological advancements like SEO or social media marketing.

The vast majority of marketing project manager positions require at least a Bachelor’s degree in marketing, communication, business, or journalism. A strong background in information technology or web development is highly encouraged.  A marketing related degree can be earned at almost reputable university.  Most of these positions are hotly contested and are typically filled with professionals who possess advanced or multiple degrees.  This is especially true for marketing project managers who are recruited from outside the company.

Marketing project managers must display impressive leadership traits as they must supervise many different types of personnel and contribute personal credibility to any interactions with clients.  This often necessitates that managerial candidates possess a work history that reflects positive project outcomes.  In order to accrue such successes most marketing professionals require a minimum of two to five years of experience in the industry.

Certification

A number of professional organizations provide certification for project managers in the marketing industry. The most important of these industry certifications is issued by the American Marketing Association.  The Professional Certified Marketer (PCM) certification is a widely recognized and respected designation that indicates possession of essential marketing knowledge and professional standards. The AMA requires ongoing education in order for certification to remain up to date.

The Business Marketing Association provides certification through a series of online modules.  Marketing Skills Assessment (MS/A), Marketing Skills Builder (MS/B) and Marketing Skills Certification (MS/C) may be completed independently, with the MS/C program providing the actual exam and certification. BMA also offers the Marketing Manager’s Handbook as a comprehensive guide to B2B marketing.

The American Certification Institute offers certification for marketing professionals.  The ACI offers CMP (Certified Marketing Professional), CMM (Certified Marketing Manager), and CME (Certified Marketing Executive) training programs.  These programs include certification and professional designations upon completion, but must be completed sequentially to achieve all three credentials.

Occupational Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for marketing managers should grow at a 1.2% annual rate through 2018.  Although there are no specific projections for marketing project managers, the marketing industry is expected to outperform the general business community.  Online marketing is expected to fuel an enormous surge in marketing opportunities that should drive escalating growth in the industry.

According to Forrester Research Inc, the revenue from online sales should rise to $327 billion in 2016 up from the $226 billion in 2012, with a 10% increase in online sales annually.  The number of online shoppers should rise from the 167 million in 2012 to 192 million in 2016.  Forrester points out that online consumers should spend more online as well. The average spent online per shopper was $1,207 in 2012 and is expected to grow to $1,738 by 2016.

The burgeoning online economy is expected to support an enormous number of marketing ventures, which should generate an expanding number of marketing project manager positions.

Industries of Employment

The largest sector for marketing project managers is, of course, the marketing industry.  Due to their importance in supervising projects for clients, each marketing firm should employ a fair number of them.

Outside of the marketing industry, marketing project managers can be found in almost any industry that relies on marketing.  The importance of these managerial professionals to developing and implementing marketing strategies has made them virtually indispensable to businesses of any size with a long term business and growth strategy.

Salary

According to Payscale.com, marketing project manager annual salaries could range from $34,260 to $111,900 in 2009.  The wide range of salary denotes the importance of multiple factors for remuneration.

Job responsibilities and industry of employment are critical to the salary.  Marketing project managers found in the computers and peripherals equipment industry could average an annual salary of $101,210, while those employed by insurance companies averaged $65,110 annually.

Career experience could also significantly influence salary.  Marketing project managers with only one year of experience in that position could expect  $30,592 to $47,282 in 2010.  Those with 20 years or more of experience could earn from $55,101 to $95,193.

Geographical location also played an important role in salary determination.  Professionals in major business centers like Washington D.C. could command average annual salaries of $86,640, while those in less important regions like Colorado earned an average annual salary of $74,240.

Professional Associations

There are many professional associations for marketing project managers.  The largest and most inclusive of these are the following

Some of the more important specialized professional organizations include

Professional associations are most important as local and regional networks.  Many of these associations provide support and professional networking for marketing project managers in major metropolitan areas.  The importance of networking in the marketing industry has spawned numerous locally affiliated professional associations that marketing professionals should engage and utilize as a resource.

Top Firms

The largest marketing firms in the United States according to 2010 revenue were:

  • Omnicom Group, New York City, NY, $13.9 billion
  • Interpublic Group, New York City, NY, $7 billion
  • MDC Partners, Toronto/New York City, $443 million
  • Sapient, Cambridge, MA, $358 million
  • aQuantive, Seattle, WA, $258 million
  • Aspen Marketing Services, West Chicago, IL, $229 million
  • Monster Worldwide, New York City, NY, $168 million
  • WB Doner & Company, Southfield, MI, $164 million
  • Richards Group, Dallas, TX, $148 million
  • Merkle, Lanham, MD, $108 milli

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