What Does a Head of Marketing Do?

If you’re currently in marketing and plan to stay in the field moving forward, you may want to become a head of marketing someday. But what does a head of marketing do, and what knowledge do you need to perform this job well?

Updated: April 17, 2023

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The first portion of anyone’s career path involves figuring out what they want to do with their lives and what field they wish to enter. Once they’ve chosen a field, it’s time to plan their future career path.

If you’re someone with a knack for dreaming up great marketing concepts and a desire to stick with marketing, then you may decide to seek a head of marketing position at some point.

But what does a head of marketing do, and what will your professional life look like if you become one?

Here’s a closer look at everything you need to know.

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    What Is a Head of Marketing?

    Sometimes referred to as the marketing director, a company’s head of marketing is the person in charge of leading the entire marketing department.

    They’re responsible for all individual sub-departments, such as advertising and digital marketing.

    The head of marketing is usually also the person who decides what a company’s brand image, underlying message, and public image should be.

    They oversee every process that takes place within the marketing department to ensure the company’s brand voice remains consistent across all marketing and social media channels.

    What Are the Responsibilities of the Head of Marketing?

    As the person in charge of overseeing every marketing sub-department and all the collective output, the head of marketing has many responsibilities.

    Their main objective is to boost brand awareness for the company, but that covers a lot of ground.

    They need to ensure everyone under them works well together and produces consistently.

    The head of marketing also works closely with other team members to help them assess business competitors, come up with ideas, boost sales margins, and so much more:

    • Brainstorming marketing strategies for individual products and campaigns
    • Setting and managing the company’s marketing budget
    • Conducting and overseeing market research
    • Scoping out (or developing) opportunities
    • Meeting with team members, clients, vendors, etc.
    • Putting together events like conferences or webinars
    • Analyzing key performance indicators (KPIs) and implementing strategies accordingly

    What Is the Daily Routine of the Head of Marketing Like?

    So what does a head of marketing do each day? The details might vary drastically from one person or company to the next, but here’s a brief rundown of what’s typical.

    They start with email

    Many heads of marketing begin their average day with an email check, as it’s generally the best way to determine what needs to be done and evaluate the urgency of each task.

    They’ll take immediate action if anything is especially critical, and figure out a timeframe for handling everything else.

    They communicate

    Next, the head of marketing often reaches out to get progress updates from those responsible for various jobs.

    If they need to touch base with vendors, partners, or other team members, they do that as well.

    They go through sign-offs

    They need to sign off on many different projects from day to day.

    On Monday, it could be a round of content from the copy department, but on Friday, it might be urgent proof that requires their personal approval before it can move forward.

    They go to meetings

    Meetings are a huge part of the average head of marketing’s typical workday.

    They may meet with suppliers, buyers, department heads, and colleagues.

    They’ll also connect with the rest of their team to ensure that everything is happening as it should.

    As with many careers that come with lots of responsibility, this position often requires a person to work long or unpredictable hours.

    However, marketing directors also enjoy a lot of variety in their work, which keeps the job exciting.

    How Much Does a Head of Marketing Make?

    Head of marketing is typically a well-paying job with a six-figure income.

    According to Glassdoor, the average salary for a head of marketing working in the United States is just under $128,000 per year. Of course, many positions pay more or less than that.

    How Steep Is the Competition for a Head of Marketing Position?

    Although competition will naturally vary from year to year (and region to region), there are definitely companies out there that currently need to fill this position.

    In the United States alone, there are about 92,557 open jobs on average.

    How to Become a Head of Marketing

    What does a head of marketing do to land their position in the first place? They start by developing an understanding of the typical marketing career path. From bottom to top, the main levels and associated job titles include:

    • Marketing Coordinator
    • Marketing Manager
    • Marketing Director
    • VP of Marketing
    • Chief Marketing Officer
    Hierarchy/org chart of the 6 core levels of marketing job titles

    And when they’re just starting out, they often follow these essential steps:

    Get a marketing degree

    If you’re serious about cultivating a successful marketing career, a degree is an absolute must to break into the industry.

    A marketing degree would be the obvious choice for someone who knows that they want to work in this field.

    However, many heads of marketing have degrees in related fields like business, advertising, or communications instead.

    A Master of Business Administration (or comparable) degree is ideal for someone pursuing a director’s position.

    Start building experience

    The proper education is a great place to start for a would-be head of marketing, but you’ll also need experience.

    If you can swing it, completing a marketing internship while you study is ideal.

    But you can also break into the field in the way that many do: by accepting an entry-level position and working your way up.

    Build and demonstrate your skill

    Once you’ve got your foot in the door at a company, look for opportunities to show those in charge what you’re capable of accomplishing.

    Volunteer to coordinate events and perform other tasks related to those that a head of marketing might handle. Be a leader and a problem solver.

    You’ll also want to develop your skills and keep them current. Yes, this means professional skills, but it also applies to important soft skills like communication and time management.

    Shoot for marketing manager first

    A marketing manager position differs from that of the head of marketing; it’s a lower-level job.

    However, you’ll be expected to demonstrate similar capabilities, so it’s a solid position to pursue as you climb your way up the ladder to head of marketing.

    In some cases, you’ll be expected to formally apply for an open marketing manager position at your company. However, high performers may be offered the position directly by their bosses.

    Start preparing for the next step

    Once you’re a marketing manager, you’ll find that you have multiple new opportunities to prove your abilities, build your skill set, and make yourself indispensable to your company. Take advantage of all of them.

    You’ll also want to start prepping for the next step: apply for a head of marketing role.

    Once you’ve been in marketing for a while. Pursue relevant certifications that could increase your value as a potential head of marketing.

    Keep your resume up to date (and update it once more before applying for an actual position).

    What Challenges Does a Head of Marketing Face?

    Every job title comes with its share of potential difficulties, and the head of marketing is no exception.

    So what do they do when they face setbacks, and what challenges are most common? Here are a few examples to be aware of as a new head of marketing.

    Building a good team

    Even the best head of marketing is only as good as the team working under them, and building a good one can take months.

    However, an approach that hinges on efficient talent scoping (instead of merely waiting for talent to come to you) is often successful.

    Managing resources

    Putting together incredible marketing strategies on a limited budget isn’t easy, but it’s something every head of marketing will need to do.

    Tackle this by carefully prioritizing requirements and looking for clever ways to stretch your budget further.

    For instance, you could outsource to freelancers instead of always hiring in-house.

    Delivering quick results

    When a head of marketing is brand new, there’s pressure to create a big impact as quickly as possible.

    However, while many marketing directors can do this initially, it can be tough to maintain that progress over time.

    Avoid this trap by focusing on efforts that deliver long-term results (like SEO) in addition to those that bring quick, impressive victories.


    It will take time to work your way up to a head of marketing position, especially if you’re new to the field.

    However, setting clear goals and cultivating a realistic, concise plan for reaching them will get you where you want to be.

    Whether you’ve just become a head of marketing or hope to be one soon, stay ahead of the game when you sign up for The Beat today!  


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    Rock Content Writer

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