How to Become a Marketing Manager in California

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What is Marketing?


California has both the largest state economy in the country and the largest workforce. Based on that, it should come as no surprise that, out of the top 10 industries in the United States, the state leads in employment opportunities in all but one category. But even in that category, they only come in second place behind New York. For those seeking a career in marketing, California is a great place to seek employment.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), California employs over one million managers. Marketing managers make up 43,000 of those jobs and earn a mean annual salary of $177,000. Marketing as a skill that is universal in so far as it is necessary for businesses all over the world to succeed. So, most colleges and universities that offer programs in marketing teach an overall approach to marketing and not one specific to California. However, different types of marketing require various skill sets so, if there is a particular area of marketing in which you want to work, you can look for a school that offers a program in that area.

Marketing majors often combine marketing with general business so they end up with a well-rounded education. Advanced marketing degrees in California can be attained in marketing alone and, for those who want to become career academics, a doctorate degree in marketing is also available. The most important thing to remember is that, whether you choose to attend a private business school or a public college or university, you should make sure the school holds accreditation that is recognized by the US Department of Education and CHEA.

Almost every company either has its own in-house marketing department or has an agency it uses for its marketing needs. For those who wish to work in marketing, every industry uses marketing to some extent. Whether the company chooses direct marketing or builds expensive and complex advertising campaigns, there is always a need for competent marketing professionals to assist businesses with disseminating information about what they have to offer to their potential clients. Marketing managers run the departments and manage the people charged with doing this.


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Marketing Education in California


When a business has a product or services it wants to sell to its customers, it needs a way to let potential customers know these goods are available. The process of doing this is called marketing, and it takes many different forms. A company might present at conventions, attend local events, launch advertising campaigns, reach out to customers on social media, and much more. Whichever options a company chooses to implement are handled by marketing professionals, people who are trained to present the goods and services to customers that meet the company’s target audience, also referred to as a demographic. As a marketing professional, you may work to research and find the proper demographic for certain products or services, understand what marketing techniques and approaches work for various demographics, create the materials to turn them from potential to paying customers, buy ad space for marketing materials, or manage the whole process from start to finish.

Like most other professions there are several levels of education a person can pursue. Any formal education is helpful, but also like other professions, the more formal education a person has, the further they are likely to progress in the marketing field.

Associate Degree in Marketing (AS)

A two-year degree in marketing can get you in on the ground level of a marketing company. It is also sufficient for direct marketing and sales work, especially in a call center or mall kiosk. After earning some experience, you could possibly move into a supervisory position, but additional education will likely be required to move any further.

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Bachelor's Degree in Marketing (BS)

A four-year degree is where most marketing professionals start their careers. With a bachelor’s degree, marketing professionals can attain employment at advertising agencies and be hired directly into marketing firms. They can also work in direct sales or as part of a marketing team for corporations. A four-year degree can open lower-level management opportunities but to move into more senior positions more education could be required.

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Master's Degree in Marketing (MS or MC)

Attaining an MBA or a master’s degree in marketing is useful for those who want to move into the most senior positions of marketing and advertising firms. This degree, coupled with a proven track record in the industry, can open opportunities for CEO and even president positions. It’s also the level of education that many firm owners attain. Anyone who wants to teach can get part time teaching positions or full-time work as associate professors.

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PhD Degree in Marketing (PhD)

A doctorate in marketing is not something that is required of marketing professionals, but for those who want to take an academic track, the doctorate degree will help toward achieving a tenured position at a college or university.

Become a Marketing Manager in California


It’s important that anyone looking to get into marketing in California is aware that there are no special licensures needed to work in this industry. The state requires nothing from you in order for you to get started in the field, though, of course, you would need to register a business if you decided to start your own marketing firm. But those who are earning an education and getting into the field with an existing business or firm need not worry about that.

If you want to become a marketing professional in California, there are certain skills you need to obtain. Many of these skills you can learn on your own, but formal training in the form of college courses is ideal because it will make you more attractive to potential employers. Some of the skills you will need include the following.

  • Identifying Markets
  • Demographics Research
  • Familiarization with Marketing Trends
  • Communication Skills
  • Writing Skills
  • SEO Knowledge

Knowing how to identify a market for a company’s products and services is very important. Marketing campaigns can cost thousands of dollars or more and companies expect a return on the investment, generally in the form of sales. This means they need to know who to market to and how to do it. As the marketing professional, you may be required to provide this information or to take data and turn it into a marketing campaign. For example, marketing to women in the 18–26-year-old demographic is entirely different than marketing to retirees or even men in that same age group. You will need to learn what works for each demographic and how to reach them.

Excellent writing skills are also valuable for those who want to become marketing managers. Those who work in the industry often write marketing materials, so knowing how to write engaging and compelling copy is a bonus skill to have. Once you have the skill set for targeting demographics, attaining knowledge in general business and honing your communication skills is also required. Knowing how a business operates helps in navigating the business environment, while sharpening your communication skills will help with creating marketing materials and speaking with potential clients.

With these skills in hand, you are ready to seek out your first marketing position. If you went the self-education route, you should be able to seek an entry-level position with an ad agency or marketing firm, but keep in mind there might still be a learning curve and additional training involved. If you attained a degree, then there could be potential for a slightly higher entry-level position.

Careers for Marketing Graduates


Marketing is a very varied field with many different types of positions available depending on the industry and the type of marketing being used. Below is a list of some of the more common marketing management positions a person with a marketing education could encounter during their career.

  • Marketing Director:
    As the name indicates, this person directs a marketing department. They are often in charge of hiring and managing a marketing team and either assisting with or approving marketing materials created by the team. The director reports to the CEO and is often part of the concept team when they present their ideas to senior management. A four-year degree or higher is often required for this position, as well as experience working in the marketing field creating and implementing marketing campaigns.
  • Social Media Manager:
    If a company has a social media presence, they generally need someone experienced in using and understanding social media to run the social media arm of their campaigns. The social media manager is the one who might write and approve posts, make sure there is proper engagement on posts, and make sure that the social media posts stay on brand and convey the information the company wants to convey. This position might not require a formal education, but experience in running successful social medial campaigns on various social media platforms is often required.
  • Marketing Coordinator:
    A marketing coordinator takes different marketing processes and combines them into one cohesive marketing campaign. For example, one process might include radio ads, another marketing materials for an upcoming event, and a third could be an ad campaign running in magazines. The marketing coordinator ensures that the messages of all the advertising stays on brand and conveys the same desired overall message. For this position, a four-year degree and experience working on marketing campaigns is desired, but a person with less education and more experience could be considered for the position.
  • Business Development Director:
    A business development director analyzes the needs of a business and creates avenues to meet those needs. They can also oversee the process of seeking customers who are a good fit for products and services made by a business or creating collaborative opportunities for businesses in similar or complementary industries. These individuals typically have four-year degrees and experience working and implementing marketing campaigns.
  • Media Buyer:
    Media buyers know the markets for their industry and make the buying decisions when it comes to which methods of marketing and advertising are the best for a business. This person might work for the company it buys for, or they could work for a marketing firm and have businesses as clients. To work in this position, a degree in business or marketing is highly recommended, as is a detailed understanding of various marketing methods and how they operate.

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