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The role of the marketing manager

13.09.2023 – Modern marketing is an ever-changing field in which the role of the marketing manager is becoming increasingly complex. Philip Kotler, often referred to as the father of modern marketing, once said: "The best marketing comes not from big spending, but from smart insights." Today, more than ever, this approach requires a broad range of skills and an ability to adapt to constantly changing challenges. Bianca Knittel, Managing Consultant at Robert Walters in Frankfurt am Main, provides a deeper insight into this dynamic role. With her many years of consulting experience in the international marketing environment, she paints an up-to-date picture of the tasks, qualifications and challenges facing marketing managers today.

Tasks of the Marketing Manager: The Control Centre in Marketing

The role of the marketing manager is at the centre of the action and bears responsibility for a broad spectrum of tasks. This ranges from the development of marketing strategies and market research to a comprehensive understanding of digital and social media marketing. The manager is also responsible for product management and marketing communication. He plans and coordinates marketing campaigns and is responsible for the implementation of advertising and PR activities. In addition, there is the management and development of the marketing team.

"Marketing managers are considered all-rounders in marketing. However, the role has evolved significantly in recent years. While event and trade fair organisations used to make up a large part of the day-to-day work, digitalisation, accelerated by the COVID 19 pandemic, has shifted the focus. Companies are increasingly positioning themselves globally and using the reach of digital platforms to reach a wider audience. In this context, it has become essential for modern marketing managers not only to develop a feel for current digital trends, but also to proactively translate them into operational measures," emphasises Knittel.

Qualifications of the marketing manager

An academic background in marketing is often considered a basic requirement for the role of marketing manager. However, leadership skills are no less important and are an equally valuable component of a candidate's suitability.

"In my experience, companies increasingly value networking skills in an international context and a global perspective. And in our increasingly networked and digital world, it is a clear advantage if a candidate has already gained experience with projects in the context of digital transformation," says Knittel.

Technological affinity and openness to new things

Another aspect that is becoming increasingly important, according to Knittel, is openness to new technologies and a general affinity for technology, which also comes into play outside of everyday work. "We are noticing that companies are increasingly judging candidates by the extent to which they also deal with relevant topics outside their professional environment. In our interviews with potential candidates, we therefore also inquire about relevant interests that go beyond the professional context."

Soft skills and personal branding

Beyond professional qualifications and technological affinities, soft skills are increasingly coming to the forefront of the requirements for marketing managers. These include strong strategic thinking and outstanding communication skills. The ability to work in a team, emotional intelligence and problem-solving skills are also in demand.

"For the marketing manager role, strong project management skills are additionally essential. These are not only important for planning and implementing projects, but also for keeping all parties involved continuously in the flow of information," says Knittel.

Another important factor is the personal brand* of candidates. "An up-to-date and professionally designed LinkedIn profile, for example, can be a strong indication of the candidate's suitability," Knittel adds. In this context, it is also important to build a consistent online presence that clearly communicates one's expertise, achievements and interests.

Salary of a marketing manager

Our salary study shows that marketing managers with 3-7 years of experience can expect a salary of around 70,000 euros. With over 8 years of experience, this rises to at least 80,000 euros. However, it is important to stress that these figures can vary depending on company size, industry and location.

Recommendations for career advancement

Knittel gives some impulses for those who want to advance their marketing career:

1. Strategic thinking is essential. To sharpen this important skillset, continuing education is crucial. Platforms such as LinkedIn Learning, OMR and Udemy offer a wide range of courses that provide valuable insights into data-driven strategies.

2. Certificates from recognised institutions such as Google, Meta or HubSpot are often a plus on the CV. These provide direct evidence of expertise and give you an edge in this competitive market.

3. Learning does not only take place in theory. Practical experience is worth its weight in gold, especially for newcomers. Positions such as marketing assistant, coordinator or junior marketing manager often provide an excellent entry point.

4. Seminars and workshops are an excellent opportunity to apply what you have learned and expand your own network at the same time. This also speaks to the social component of career development.

5. A mentor can serve as a guide through the many challenges of marketing. In this context, it is valuable to get involved in projects. There is hardly a better way to develop both expertise and leadership skills.

6. A move into marketing is also an exciting opportunity for those with backgrounds in German studies, psychology or other disciplines. These career changers often bring a unique perspective and valuable interdisciplinary skills.

7. Professionals who move from a marketing agency to a corporate marketing department are often considered particularly valuable. They are assumed to bring a strong service mentality as well as versatile experience from agency work.

Knittel's final tip, for those aspiring to a career as a marketing manager: "Burn for what you do and stay curious. It can definitely be an advantage to familiarise yourself with the latest technology developments and trends every now and then in your spare time, so that you can score points later in the job interview."


Personal branding refers to the process of establishing and maintaining a particular image or impression in the minds of others, especially in professional contexts. It involves highlighting unique skills, experiences and personality traits to positively differentiate oneself from others.

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Find out more by contacting one of our specialist recruitment consultants

Bianca Knittel

Managing Consultant Sales & Digital Marketing | Frankfurt
Phone: +49 69 244 378 526

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